Neil Warnock: Free cups of tea and a gym pass. Now I know I'm out of work!
What I Learnt This Week
It's been a weird week for me. Football is a precarious profession but I've actually had very few periods of unemployment since I started in the game in 1968. I'd forgotten what it was like and didn't know what to do with myself to start with. But after a bad week last week, when I felt a bit down, I perked up this week and relaxed. I realised I should look at things the way I did Adel Taarabt. You have to look at what he's good at – if you focus on what he's bad at, you wouldn't touch him. Life's like that. If you concentrate on what's wrong it'll consume you. So I have been appreciating how lucky I am. I've got a lovely family, my health, and I know you'll not believe it, but I've quite a few friends as well.
It was also very soothing being in Cornwall. One gorgeous morning we had the beach at Looe to ourselves apart from one guy digging in the sand. We went and sat on the rocks but Will, who can't resist anything, went over to him. The next minute he's digging away with his hands. It turns out the guy was looking for lugworms for bait. William must have helped him for an hour. Sometimes the simple things in life are the best.
Everybody's been rallying round. I went to a café in our village in Cornwall and had lunch which I paid for at the time of ordering. Then I had a cup of tea. When I went to pay for that the lady said, "No, not in your situation, that's on the house". I said: "I've only lost my job, not my wallet." Then the next-door-neighbour said if I wanted to have a workout she had some free passes for her gym. I've missed not being able to use the gym at the training ground of an afternoon, so I decided to take her up on the offer. She didn't tell me they were OAP passes for the YMCA! As it happens it was a fabulous place and the staff were so friendly. It was good to have a blowout.
Even the Football Association have taken pity. I had received a letter from the Compliance Unit asking for my observations after I made some comments on the inconsistency of refereeing, in the light of Joey Barton being dismissed against Norwich while Frank Lampard was not sent off for that tackle against Wolves. The FA wrote this week saying I won't be charged. They must have felt sorry for me. Of course, now I'm unattached, I'll be able to say what I want.
2 Disappointed at Joey but I'm still a QPR fan
I'm told Joey Barton had a few things to say about me on twitter last night. Obviously, I'm disappointed with the comments, but I don't feel there's any need to respond. I don't have a problem with anybody at QPR and when I tuned in on Sunday to watch their at Newcastle I was cheering them on.
That might surprise people since I was sacked but most of the QPR players I brought to the club, many of them are the same players who did me so proud in winning the Championship last season, so obviously I want them to do well. Then there's the fans, who've been so wonderful to me, both when I was at the club and since. Many of the staff and people involved with the club are good friends. And finally, after all the hard work we put into getting the club into the Premier League, the last thing people like myself, Mick Jones and Keith Curle want is for it all to be undone by relegation. We want the club to sign the players they want, stay up, and then progress just as we'd planned.
I'm not at all bitter towards Tony Fernandes and I was disappointed at the way some comments I made on TV this week were sensationalised in the tabloids. I was asked about tweeting and said it was a dangerous path to go down, when players and fans are tweeting the chairman, as one person's opinion could get undue weight, and it is hard to have much context in 140 characters. Then I pick up the papers and read I was "poisoned", which wasn't what I meant at all.
I did think QPR could win last Sunday. We had highlighted the match as the first of a series of winnable games. I know we (I'll be saying "we" for a while yet) were without a couple of players but, with Demba Ba and Cheick Tioté missing, we thought it was a real chance of a fourth away win. It was not to be, but I'm sure that first league win will come today, against Wigan.
3 Managing my weekly fix of blood and guts
When you lose your job initially you try and occupy yourself and keep your mind busy. So last Saturday, rather than follow all the scores coming in, we went into Plymouth, to the cinema to see War Horse. As we took our seats I thought, "This'll be good, I can forget about football for a couple of hours". Then, and this won't spoil the story for you, when the little horse is born the young boy who is going to look after it is asked by his dad: "What will you call it?" The boy said: "I'm going to call it Joey." I thought: "I can't even get away from thinking about QPR at the movies. Why couldn't he have called it Black Bess or something?"
I thought the film was super for all the family. Or almost all. At one stage Sharon went out with William and I thought he wanted to go to the toilet. They were away a while. When he came back I was told he had to leave as he was feeling sick with all the blood on the battlefield. Amy thought it was a great film, but if you have younger children it might be an idea to warn them of what to expect.
It was nice not having my mood on a Saturday night dictated by the result of a football match, but I did realise I'll have to do a bit more planning if going out on a Saturday. We got to the cinema in time to get something to eat but the restaurants nearby were all chock-a-block. We ended up having a hot dog standing in the foyer, with me trying to hide behind Will every time I had a bite as mustard and ketchup kept going all over my nose.
4 I've no immediate plans to be a Pilgrim
You'll have gathered I didn't go to Plymouth Argyle v Burton Albion. One of the tricky aspects of being an out-of-work football manager is that while you need to go to matches to keep up to date on players and so on, whenever you turn up at a ground people start jumping to the wrong conclusions. There'd been a lot of talk about a mentor for Carl Fletcher, the Argyle manager who's also one of my former players. Sean O'Driscoll's name was talked about, then mine. I didn't think it right to embarrass Carl or his staff by turning up and having the papers taking my picture and making the wrong assumptions.
Having said all that, I'll be at Molineux this afternoon for Wolves v Aston Villa. However, I should point out I'll be there as a guest on Football Focus, and when I agreed to do it I assumed it would be in the studio. I'm sure I'll speak to Mick McCarthy, who I've known since he was an apprentice at Barnsley, beforehand. He got a great result last week at Spurs, a real coupon-buster.
5 Straight red for Roberto over imaginary cards
When I saw Roberto Mancini waving that imaginary card again I thought: "I hope someone at Manchester City will have a word with him and say it doesn't happen in this country." I must admit I did the same when cards were first introduced, but I immediately knew it was not right.
6 Best of luck to Luton boys but it's a man's game
Congratulations to the three young brothers from Luton who have signed for Chelsea. Chelsea have not pulled up any trees with their youth system, especially when you look at how much they have invested in it. Maybe these lads will be an exception, and I hope so for their sakes, but I always feel at that age it is a huge gamble. Throughout my career I've seen world-beaters at 12 and 13 who, by the age of 16, 17, have become average players, and at 20, 21 are out of the game.
7 Give Coleman chance to prove he's mustard
I think Chris Coleman is a great appointment for Wales, just the right man to follow on from Gary Speed. Chris spoke very well at what must have been a difficult press conference. It's an exciting time for Wales, with all those young players they have coming through, and I'm pleased for Chris, who has been through the wringer in recent years.
8 Thanks again... we will get back to all of you
Finally, can I thank everybody who's written to me again? I've had more than 4,000 emails now. We will be responding, but goodness knows how long it will take us.
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