Neil Warnock: At a JLS gig I realised the secret of success as a manager – it's all about entertainment
What I Learnt This Week
Saturday 03 April 2010
You have may have formed the impression from last week's column, that I wasn't looking forward to seeing (and hearing) JLS in concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday. How wrong I was?
I must admit I kept a low profile while waiting in the queue for the doors to open for me, Sharon, and eight kids but once it started I really enjoyed it. Diana Vickers and Lemar were also on the bill and it was terrific.
As I was stood there, one of thousands of people with their arms in the air singing: "Everybody in love, go put your hands up", I thought for a second how great it is to be able to entertain people. Even managers of football teams like myself are lucky to be able to do that. I know you only enjoy the good days, but it is fabulous to contribute to something that makes people happy; though in football, of course, they're only happy if you win.
After the concert we're all looking for a taxi and seeing them pull over for others but not for us. Then a red double-decker bus came along with "Victoria" on it. We scrambled to the stop, all piled on, and I said to the driver: "how much?" He must have taken pity on me with so many kids and just waved me on.
2. Our Hill really came alive back at Preston
It was me taking the acclaim of the fans the previous day. I was walking off after our 2-2 draw at Preston and noticed the home support were clapping Matt Hill. He's on loan to us from Wolves but a couple of years ago he was player-of-the-year at Preston. I was a couple of yards away so I just sprinted in front of Matt, lifted my hands, and thanked them for the applause. They took it in good humour.
Like Arsenal in midweek, we had found ourselves 2-0 down at Preston and came back to get a 2-2 draw. After a comeback like that I should have been delighted but we had chances to win so I felt a bit deflated. But then again, in the last minute we made a mistake and their lad was through. Had Carl Ikeme, our goalkeeper, not made a great save it could have been a disaster
I'm expecting another warm reception today when my QPR team play in blue-and-white against Sheffield Wednesday, which seems a bit surreal though we wear hoops, not stripes. Like us they are fighting for their lives. I reckon it is down to nine clubs now and Easter will be crucial for all of us. Our Monday match is at Leicester, so I was interested to see they played yesterday, 24 hours before us. A clever bit of planning that from Nigel Pearson.
3. Chelsea need the real Drogba to turn up
It's been a super week for Chelsea, with Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas being injured, and if they can get a result at Old Trafford it'll be a great week. But they do need Didier Drogba to perform. Once or twice against good sides he's been missing in crucial games away from home. When he plays as he can both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand find it very difficult to cope with him.
With Rooney out it's a good time to play United but I can see canny Sir Alex Ferguson using Rooney's absence to get more out of his squad. It's a chance for Dimitar Berbatov to step up – it's about time he paid Fergie back and just might enjoy being the main man, and not just for today but on Wednesday, too, because I don't think United's second leg against Bayern Munich will be straightforward.
The big losers this week were Arsenal. To be without Fabregas, and having missed Robin van Persie for so long, is a major blow. Arsène Wenger's team will also have taken a massive dent to their confidence after the battering they took in the first half against Barcelona. But at least Arsène's team-talk is sorted for next week. He just has to tell his players: "Barcelona can't play any better than they did at the Emirates, even their manager said it was the best they've played, and they still can't beat you. So there's nothing to be scared of."
4. Moving experience left me choked
We travelled by train to Preston, it took just two hours and five minutes, amazing, and much better than using the clogged up motorways.
I've seen too much of the M25 recently. Since I left Palace it's been a long slog and don't envy anyone who has to do it every day. I've also seen some bad accidents – it does make you realise there's no sense in rushing to get somewhere and risking not going anywhere.
What with all the travelling I was relieved when we finally moved house Monday and Tuesday this week. Having said that, I can see why they say moving house is one of the most stressful things other than divorce. I don't know whether other women are like Sharon but the house we moved out of was cleaner when we left than when we moved in. It took her the best part of three weeks to scrub the cooker. So you can imagine how she felt when I commented that the lady checking us out mentioned there was some dust on one of the skirting boards. If it had been a cartoon there would have been a lot of asterisks in the speech bubble.
I usually time house moves impeccably by not being around when they happen. This time I got it wrong and was present for the best part of two days, helping to load and pack boxes. It has to be one of the least enjoyable jobs I've had to do. The dust that kicked up when clearing out the garage left me clogged up and with a heavy cold.
Once we moved in, and I don't know how women do it, in the space of 24 hours the garage was full of empty boxes and the house is organised. Don't tell me football management is a difficult job, there's no comparison with trying to get a house in order. You know what blokes are like, we'd be eating off those boxes for months.
5. There's no fooling me with Elvis
On Thursday I went and opened the front door and rang the bell. Then I went inside and said: "Quick kids, have you seen the parcel outside for you two?" They rushed out in their pyjamas looking everywhere. I left them for a while then shouted: "April Fool".
Just before I left for training William shouted me to look at the chameleon as he was turning red. It was plausible – when we moved Elvis he changed from green to yellow, so I started rushing upstairs only to twig half-way up. I said: "Yeah, yeah, you won't catch me that easily."
Yesterday was Sharon's birthday. I think it was really 1 April, but she does not want to admit it.
6. Hammers are a bit selective with criticism
Interesting to see West Ham are complaining about Fulham fielding a weakened team at Hull. I seem to remember a similar thing happening in West Ham's favour when I was in the Premier League with Sheffield United. I don't think they complained then.
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