Neil Warnock: Deadline day is like being in a chain to buy a house – except more exhausting

What I Learnt This Week

On Thursday night I got home late after a frantic day, sat on the sofa to catch up with the other transfer window dealings, and woke up an hour later when the phone rang. That is how it has been these last few days for me and, I expect, every other manager.

Personally, I'm delighted with how things have worked out. In the final few days I enquired about 14 players, signed four and narrowly missed out on a fifth. We've brought in Steve Morison from Norwich in a swap (plus some cash in our favour) for Luciano Becchio, signed my namesake Stephen Warnock from Aston Villa, and picked up Habib Habibou from Belgium on loan. Earlier in the window we signed Everton's Ross Barkley on loan and made the loans of Michael Tonge and Ryan Hall permanent so I feel we've strengthened well. Importantly we've also held on to players such as Ross McCormack – for whom we had enquiries – and Sam Byram. But it has been hard work.

Everyone says, "why don't you do it all early?", and we did with Barkley and Hall, but it is impossible: everybody waits until the last minute to see if they can get anything better. Those three were straightforward. Ryan and Michael were already here and as I'd been after Ross when he went to Sheffield Wednesday earlier in the season, David Moyes gave me first refusal this time. We also secured Sam on a new contract until 2016 early on, and announced it, to forestall any enquiries.

As QPR manager I tried to buy Morison 18 months ago when he left Millwall for £2.8m. He's not been starting as regularly this season so I asked about him in December but Norwich said they wouldn't let him go unless they got a replacement. Meanwhile, Becchio asked us for a move and it became clear it was going to be hard to hang on to him.

His best offer was from Turkey, but if we couldn't get Morison in to replace him that was no use to us, so I put two and two together and asked Norwich if they wanted Becchio. They did, so Shaun Harvey, our chief executive, began the process of setting the deal up.

My admiration for Warnock goes back even further – I offered Liverpool £1.25m for him when at Sheffield United in 2007, but Blackburn came in. The combination of bigger wages and his not having to move home won the day.

But he remembered that when I spoke to him this time and although West Ham were interested we put a longer-term deal on the table and the chance to play week-in, week-out. So that was another deal Shaun got working on.

On Thursday morning I took training, then Shaun rang to say Norwich had agreed terms to allow Morison to come and speak to us. Logistics can be a problem on deadline day but luckily he lives in Peterborough so could get the train. Mick Jones, my assistant, picked him up at York and brought him to the training ground. His agent finalised terms with Shaun while I showed Steve round the training ground and talked about his role in the team.

Having such a brilliant training ground helps at times like this. It was difficult at QPR as the training ground was poor but Thorp Arch is top of the range.

The only concern was Steve's been injured for a few weeks and he needed a scan on his thigh as well as the usual medical at a nearby hospital. We showed the scan to a surgeon who gave it the all-clear, then it was just a matter of getting the nod from Norwich regarding Becchio. It is a bit like buying a house in a chain: everything has to be lined up before you can go ahead.

Once it was done I was delighted. Norwich usually take our best players but in this case I feel we've got the better deal.

By this stage Warnock had arrived for his medical. We quickly tied that deal up. Both moves were helped by the players having good agents. People are often critical of agents but there are plenty of good ones and these were two who put the interests of their player first.

Then came a bonus as we managed to get Habibou too. He came for a few days last week and I liked him but at that stage it didn't look as if a deal could be done. Then Zulte Waregem agreed to let us have him on loan on realistic terms. He also had a trial with QPR and Harry agreed with me that he's worth a gamble. He's 6ft 4in and built like an outhouse and he will be an asset.

I had been optimistic of getting Chris Burke from Birmingham but their valuation proved way above ours for a player whose contract is up in the summer and it didn't feel value for money. I'll look for a winger when the loan window opens.

I've got to say all through these last few days Sharon has been brilliant. Having been with me for many transfer windows she understands how manic they are. So each morning the kids just texted me and Sharon rang about half eight to say "I'll speak to you tonight", and that was it.

Unfortunately, when we were finally able to speak at length yesterday the conversations were not very uplifting. On Thursday night a Leeds fan was wandering around Thorp Arch taking pictures through the window of me and the club officials working. Nothing too sinister in that, though it is not to be encouraged, but after he tweeted a photo of me watching Sky Sports News somebody doctored it to make it look as if I was watching pornography. A lot of people might think that is funny, but it was not very funny to my 14-year-old daughter who received a number of unsavoury texts and comments on Friday morning. It shows how low some people will stoop to get a laugh. There should be a way to take to task people who put something like that on the web.

2. I got shirty with Bale

We're playing Cardiff City today which means linking up with three of the players who helped me bring QPR up, Heidar Helguson, Tommy Smith and Matt Connolly. They also have Craig Bellamy and new signing Fraizer Campbell so obviously mean business but the main reason they are runaway leaders is Malky Mackay has built a superb team spirit.

For us it is a case of carrying on from beating Spurs last week. Watching Gareth Bale's superb goal at Norwich made me realise how well we did to nullify him. I'm convinced he'll play for a team like Barcelona. I was like a little kid after the game as the result was topped off by getting Gareth's shirt. I asked AVB before the game if he could sort it for me and Andre said "no problem". I then mentioned it to Gareth in the tunnel and, sure enough, despite the result, my old player Kyle Walker brought it in to our dressing room after the match. It is for charity but I may have to hang on to it for a while because although it has lots of Yorkshire mud on it he hasn't signed it yet.

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?