Neil Warnock: Disgusted of Loftus Road...Neville's escape shows how the big clubs get all the breaks

What I Learnt This Week

The one decision last weekend which disappointed more than any this season was Andre Marriner not sending off Gary Neville at Stoke.

It was an obvious second booking, a decision which would have changed the match. Smaller clubs have always complained the elite get favours, but I have long thought that many decisions can be explained by the fact referees are human and are as vulnerable as anyone else when there are 60,000-70,000 fans baying for a verdict in their favour. But this was at the Britannia, where the Stoke fans make a right racket.

It is nothing to do with the fact it was him – I am Gary Neville's biggest fan – it was just that everyone in football knew if that foul had been committed by an opponent at Old Trafford it would have been a sending-off.

I can remember vividly the last time I felt like this about a decision, and it was Man United again. They had to beat Wigan in the last game of the season in 2008 to win the title and Steve Bennett was refereeing. Steve was a stickler for doing everything by the book, I called him "robot man" because he never let common sense get in the way of regulations. That day Steve should have sent Paul Scholes off about half-time for a second booking. Any other player, in another team, would have gone. With so much at stake in that game I did feel disgusted that evening, and likewise Sunday night.

So the next time you hear Tony Pulis, Big Sam or anyone else at a similar club banging on about the big teams getting all the breaks, think back to Sunday's decision and you'll know why.

2. How green was my valley? I was looking the other way

It's been a strange week for us at QPR. We've not been on the motorway, I've slept in my own bed, and most of all I've seen the family. The one plus about playing Bristol City last Friday night is that I was down in Cornwall at midnight and had a proper weekend with them.

On Sunday, after some wonderful fish and chips at Looe, we went to a place called Adrenalin Quarry. They have a Zip Wire, the longest in Britain at 500 feet, down a valley and over a lagoon. You go down in a pair. Like everyone, as I get older I think I put weight on, but it was still a bit embarrassing when they filled this big blue bottle of water to make sure Amy had sufficient weight on her, but didn't need to add anything on my side.

There are fantastic views and I couldn't wait, but as soon as I set off I was twisted round backwards and whatever I tried couldn't rectify it. So I looked backwards up the valley all the way. What a let-down. Amy was facing the right way and having a lovely time, she told me all about it. Poor William is going to have to put some weight on, they told him he was not heavy enough. He's also waiting to get a year older, then he will be allowed to go on a faster go-kart at the track we go to down there. Hoping to put on weight, looking forward to getting older – it's been a while since I held either of those ambitions.

We rushed back that evening to have a cup of tea by the beach but as we pulled up at five o'clock the two cafes had closed. We were gutted, but there was glorious sunshine so we walked along the front. While the kids played I lay down on a bench with my head on Sharon's legs and had a few minutes in the sun. Then the sun moved, so we did, to the next bench. And it happened again, and again. We worked out every five-and-a-quarter minutes we had to move to the next bench. We did eight benches before the sun dipped below the horizon.

3. Call centres can make a meal out of a simple answer

What's my bugbear of the week? I had to phone an electricity company to change my monthly payments. I was just about to do tea and I thought I'd get the phone call done. I'd been on about a minute listening to a voice telling me, "All our operators are engaged, please hold, your call is important to us." I was doing sea bass fillets with green beans, so I put the phone on speaker and got them out of the fridge. I cooked the sea bass, cooked the greens, opened a bottle of wine, poured myself a glass, put my meal on the table, ate my meal. I was on my last mouthful when a young lady answered and sorted out my query. I said to her, "I must tell you, darling, while I've been waiting for you to answer I've got my dinner out, cooked it and eaten it. But I still waited, because you told me my call was important to you." I don't think I'd have been so understanding if I hadn't been on speakerphone. Whoever invented them has saved a lot of people from rising blood pressure.

4. Now everyone puts the League before the League Cup

There were some unusual team sheets in the Carling Cup. Normally it is the Premier League clubs who rest everybody, but while Arsenal finally put out a team with intent to win it Championship teams like Burnley, Swansea and Ipswich played the fringe players. It shows how much importance these clubs have put on getting out of the Championship. The League matters, at any level. Ian Sampson, the manager at Northampton, will have been on cloud nine after winning at Anfield in the last round but I doubt he is too upset at losing to Ipswich this week. While beating Liverpool was a fantastic achievement Northampton haven't won since that week and he'll be keen to get his team's focus back on the bread and butter.

The one tie I don't want to see drawn out of the hat this morning is Manchester United v Arsenal. I know it would be a great match, but I would like to see Arséne Wenger win something and get people off his back.

5. Managers need a chairman who will watch their back

How disappointed I was this week at my old club Notts County sacking Craig Short after 13 games. It is not just a premature decision, it is a daft one. If they had won last week they would have been a point off the play-offs. But I was told over two weeks ago that an influential person behind the scenes at the club wanted Craig out and to bring Paul Ince in. As did the same person when the interviews took place this summer. At the time the chairman wanted Craig and supported him, but a few months later he seems to have changed his mind.

A truism to all young managers starting out is you have got to make sure you have got people behind you who will support you. It is obvious to me right from the first game this season, that has not always been the case at Notts County. When I was asked this week by the Nottingham Evening Post to comment I said all this, but of course the local paper have to have a working relationship with their local club. The bit about my knowing that Ince would be appointed two weeks ago was conveniently left out. I am very glad I have a column of my own so I can tell people what I know.

What a different situation Paul Peschisolido has at Burton Albion where one of the fairest chairmen I have ever known, Ben Robinson, will be doing everything to support his manager once he has appointed him. Would Robinson have sacked a manager after 13 games, with the club having a fair start? No, and he would not have tolerated anybody influencing him to make such a decision.

Another manager who's had to deal with a lot of speculation is Chris Hughton at Newcastle. I don't think Chris will be worried about it at all. He's doing his reputation no harm whatsoever. From the first day he set foot in the club he has acted with dignity and I think he's been loving every minute of it. But the one thing you know when you go into football management is that the sack is round the corner. That's why you have to be your own man if you can.

6. It's not only in the Ashes that sledging can turn nasty

I'm really looking forward to the Ashes. One thing I don't think England will be doing is any more boxing after Jimmy Anderson's injury. That was a daft idea, but we all have done stupid things as managers. When I look back, my biggest was at Notts County, a few days before we played Man City in the FA Cup. We went sledging in Wollaton Park. It was only when I looked at the pictures on TV later I realised both my keepers, Steve Cherry and Kevin Blackwell, were flying past behind me on the same sledge. They missed a tree by millimetres.

7. I'm no dirty old man – it's not what it looked like

Gianni Paladini and me had dinner in London this week with our daughters, Katie and Natalie. Both girls are in their twenties and I could see people looking at us, thinking, "Look at those dirty old men." Their next thought would have been, "They must have a few quid to be with girls like that." We had a good laugh thinking about that.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat