1. Brooking is far too good for the FA
I was listening to Trevor Brooking's interview in which he has ruffled a few feathers at the Football Association by talking about investment in coaching the 5-16 age group. At the end of the interview the presenter said it could be Trevor's last, given the way Lord Mawhinney, the chairman of the Football League, had responded.
So no doubt Trevor will be leaving and I think it is only appropriate that he does. After all, what is the point of having somebody who knows what they are talking about, knows what they want and is not afraid to say it working for the FA? He doesn't fit in.
It is like when we talk about fast-tracking ex-players to be referees. If you bring in ex-players you won't get robots. Ninety-five per cent of decisions by the robots are right; only when they have to make a decision on something they are not really in tune with do they make the big mistakes.
There is some good work going on at youth levels. William goes to the Under-8s. There are 33 kids involved and, while it is superbly organised and the quality is amazing, they are still a herd chasing the ball. A year later they are passing it around the pitch, using their team-mates. A couple of weeks ago I watched our academy boys playing Arsenal at Under-9, Under-11 and Under-13. There was some excellent football.
It is been a great week for Arsène Wenger. Last week all the media were saying he was on the verge of quitting and did not know where his next win was coming from. Now that's all chip paper – his kids are the best ever and he is on course to win the title. As Jimmy Greaves used to say, "It's a funny old game, isn't it?"
But Trevor is right to have concerns. Some teams are just shipping youngsters in from all over the world, which is bound to set English lads back. While Arsenal's brilliant Carling Cup team this week had quite a few English youngsters in it, the Liverpool team which crumbled at Spurs had none. Part of the problem is we do not have enough quality coaches, which is why I am happy to welcome Paul Davis, the former Arsenal player now at the Professional Footballers' Association, to put 10 of my lads through one of the FA courses this season.
While the courses are needed, the best quality in management, as Harry Redknapp is proving again at Tottenham, is man-management and there are no tests for that. Harry is bringing it home to everyone that it isn't rocket science. You never see him with a notebook scribbling things down. Nor me. People probably think it's because I can't write.
2. Why is no one dobbing in the coin-throwers?
While I am sure Didier Drogba will get a ticking off, as what he did on Wednesday night was wrong, I find it amazing we cannot get people to point out who threw the coins at him at Stamford Bridge. I believe they are still looking for the bloke who hit the linesman at Aston Villa last month. It's shocking. When a coin comes from that distance it is only matter of time before they blind someone.
3. Win means we can go and freeze on the slopes
People always ask me how managers get away from it all. It can be a stressful job but a bit of time with the family usually does the trick. The other week, after losing at home to Nottingham Forest, I could not stop thinking about the game so we took ourselves off to Dulwich Park. It is a wonderful place to relax. Sharon walked the dogs and the three of us cycled three laps of the park. It really blew the cobwebs away.
Of course, when you win it is easier, not least because you can go somewhere a bit more public. After last weekend's great victory over Coventry we took the kids for a skiing lesson on a dry slope. If you remember last Sunday it were freezing and howling a gale. We could have sat indoors but, being loyal parents, Sharon and I watched outside, togged up and drinking mugs of hot chocolate. The kids would not have known we were there until they stopped for a drink halfway through. It got me thinking how many hours you use up in the week taking kids out and picking them up after.
4. Attitude counts as much as awards
On Thursday I went back to school, to the Ashburton Community School in Croydon, to perform the prize-giving. It is where Sean Scannell, one of our talented youngsters, went to school so I was delighted to go along, although it was only when I got there they told me I was expected to give a speech as well.
During the ceremony a young girl called Georgia sang the X Factor song, "Hero". I thought she was amazing. If she was on X Factor I would definitely vote for her.
In my speech I found myself saying to them that while education and qualifications were good to have, it was not always the children who are qualified who get on in the world and the pupils who have not got any awards have just as much chance if they have the drive and commitment.
Then I told them about the only award I won at speech day. I received about £15 – a lot of money then – for the winning time in the sweep for the length of the headmaster's speech. It was 5/- a go. That's 25p for you younger readers. We'll probably be back to shillings and old pence one day, just like we can now sell fruit and veg in pounds and ounces again, thank goodness.
5. Putting some welly into my glamorous life
I was woken at 10 past seven on Wednesday morning with Sharon saying, "Did you put the bins out last night?" I was up like a shot. Our bin men regularly arrive just after seven. I threw my dressing gown on, chased down the stairs and grabbed the only footwear I could find in a hurry, my wellies. I grabbed the bin, dragged it round the front just as the lorry pulled up. One of the lads working said, "Neil Warnock, isn't it? Pleased to meet you." He held out a rubber-gloved hand, then looked at it as if to say, "I'd better not shake your hand". I said "Don't worry about that. It's only a bit of rubbish." He started asking me about Crystal Palace so I'm chatting away, in my dressing gown and wellies, and I see some cars going very slowly by on the other side of the road. I thought, "I bet this doesn't happen to Alex or Arsène." Sharon said she thought about taking a snap for this column, but thought my fresh-off-the-pillow hair would put readers off their breakfasts. Football at the top, eh?
6. I would like some of Purse's fortune
I am off to Cardiff today. If I get into trouble on the touchline I am hoping they send me to the Football Association of Wales for punishment. Darren Purse was sent off last week but he will be playing against us today. It is just like last year when he was sent off before the FA Cup final and ended up still being in the squad at Wembley. I hope he has now used up all his luck this year.
7. William Warnock: an apology
Last week, due to a gremlin in the works, this column suggested that William thumps Amy on the nose when she is playing piano. He wants to make it clear he doesn't thump his sister, he thumps the piano. He loves his sister. It should have read "he thumps the end of the [musical] note". Still, it's good to know my seven-year-old is reading a newspaper like The Independent.Reuse content