Neil Warnock: An empty bench and a borrowed bus – the reality of my club's slide into administration

What I Learnt This Week

Wow. What a week. Now I know what it must feel like to be hit by a bus.

I knew we had financial problems, but to find out we had been put into administration through a text message while on the runway at Newcastle Airport on Wednesday was a surprise to say the least. I thought at first someone was joking – until a couple of lads told me they'd got a similar text and heard it was on TV. Myself and the players were slightly dazed as we waited for our bags at the carousel, and then got on the bus to go to our hotel.

There I gathered the players together to explain where we all, stood. Then I said that, while we were all understandably shell-shocked, they had done brilliantly to get near the play-offs and it would be a shame if we cannot continue to perform like that between now and the end of the season – starting with the game against Newcastle.

They did me proud. After we conceded a bizarre own goal a lot of people would have expected us to roll over but we had it not been for a world-class save by Steve Harper I think we could have won it. We took an unbelievable amount of fans for a midweek trip like that and they really made a noise. I flew straight back after the game as I had to see the administrator in the morning, but the players, who went back on Thursday, told me they were given a standing ovation by the supporters at the airport. Shaun Derry, our captain, said it was "very touching".

We'd flown not because we're living the high life at Palace but because we managed to get a sponsor to cover the cost, which saved us from arriving back in London as the birds were singing. It also meant we could train up there before the game, which was great, except we lost Claude Davis and Alassane N'Diaye in training. Then the administrator said we could not play Victor Moses, in case he was injured. I'd already told Vic I was leaving him out but I didn't mention that to the administrator. I didn't want to spoil his moment.

We did our best to save a few bob. We borrowed Newcastle's coach for the journey to the ground. As I said to the fans and stewards when we got off, "That's the nearest I'll ever get to managing Newcastle United."

Come the game it would have been handy to have Vic on the bench as we had just three subs. When the linesman came to check the players' studs he shouted, having seen most of them, "Any more?" I said, "Stop taking the mickey, linesman."

Then our centre-half, Johannes Ertl, pulled up within 60 seconds. When your luck's out, it's out. We took him off after five minutes. You might ask what happened in between – Matt Lawrence, on the bench, did not have his socks, shinpads or boots on. I could sympathise with Harry Redknapp's disbelief when Tottenham's Sébastien Bassong didn't have his shorts on at Anfield last week. When, a couple of minutes later, another player said his hamstring was sore I was contemplating using a centre-forward at centre-half. Fortunately he was OK and I could save the other subs until later.

The match itself was cracking, a real old-fashioned game, excellently refereed by Russell Booth, with lots of chances and some tasty tackles from the likes of Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan, and one or two of ours. It was almost as fiery on the touchline – I thought we must be playing well for them to be having a go at me. I really got into it, it was lovely, but even though both benches were shouting their piece I think we both respected what we were doing. When I shook Chris Hughton's hand at the end I said, "Don't complain about having no money please."

I just hope it didn't take too much out of us. Today's game is, in many ways, tougher. Newcastle away takes care of itself, Peterborough are in the relegation battle and we have to get our heads around the fact we are too.

2. We need to sell but won't be left with eight

The administrator promised me my coaching staff are safe (we have not got that many compared to most clubs) and I said I'd be fine with him as long as he was honest with me, and he didn't sell players for silly prices. Obviously some will have to go, probably starting with Vic, but our staff is already small and there is a limit. At Newcastle one of the press guys asked what would happen if we sold six. I said, "I doubt the League will let us play with eight men." Everyone laughed except the questioner. I think he thought I was serious.

You can't plan too far ahead in this situation. I'm just going to work hard, enjoy myself, and try to get results. I still can't understand why anyone would put us into administration with the transfer window open. I can't really go into details, but it doesn't actually help the people who did it.

3. Don't take spelling tests too literally

Sharon went away for the evening on Thursday and I did William's spelling. He had about 25 words to do, in two columns. I was doing all the words, then came across a line saying, "extra words". I read it out, and said, "spell it". "Dad, that means that column has more words in it," said William. My mind must have been elsewhere.

4. Old Trafford yobs need to be punished

I missed the Manchester Carling Cup derby. The atmosphere sounded great, apart from the mindless yobs who threw things at Craig Bellamy. One of the lads said they had narrowed it down – to everyone who's ever met him. Only joking, Craig. More seriously, the guys who did it need to be identified and severely punished. That sort of thing is very dangerous for all of us involved in the game.

5. Villa's 'long ball' game will be a prize draw

It'll be nice to relax on Tuesday when Wolves come to our place in the FA Cup. But though there's no points at stake it's a match worth winning, as Aston Villa is a great draw for the winners. Of course, they are long-ball merchants according to Arsène Wenger, but let's be honest, any team playing Arsenal have to seem long ball in comparison.

6. If Murray fancies a game he'd be welcome

The one thing I have enjoyed this week is the tennis. It's been perfect for viewing: breakfast time on the BBC and I'll certainly be tuning in tomorrow morning. I do enjoy watching Andy Murray. It's great to have someone British who has so much guts, energy and determination. I like his game too. He's got a bit of everything. He can stay back, but he has a short game, he lobs too. I bet he's decent at all sports. When he comes back from Australia he could come here on a non-contract basis, I'm sure he'd get a game.

Actually, he's not the only one. If you're coming down to Selhurst today and you've a bit of pace, and don't want too much money, bring your boots. There'll be plenty of space on our bench.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen