Neil Warnock: Get well, Harry – I didn't think we'd given you such a scare
What I Learnt This Week
Best wishes to Harry Redknapp for a speedy recovery. It is always a shock when you hear a fellow manager has a heart operation so I was delighted to discover it was a minor one and he'll be back in the dugout soon.
In light of our second-half comeback at White Hart Lane on Sunday, which I'm sure had Harry worried, I did have to text him to say: "I didn't think we were that good. It's great to see you're on the mend." I'm sure everybody is because he is one of the characters. I do sometimes look around and think, when us dinosaurs pack it in, who will the media have left to talk about?
Spurs' opening half was the best 45 minutes anyone had played against us all season. So I was very pleased that, after making a couple of changes, we gave them a game in the second half. I was delighted for the fans as much as anything, that we gave them something to cheer about.
They've been brilliant all season and Sunday was no exception. But just as I thought we might get something from the game I found myself clapping when Gareth Bale scored the third goal. I said to myself, "Why are you clapping, it's a goal against your own team?" But it was different class, a goal you had to appreciate even against your own team. We all thought Luka Modric was superb, all credit to Tottenham for keeping him this summer. They'd have missed him, and credit to him for knuckling down and getting on with it.
I had a quick chat with Kyle Walker. He asked where his Championship winners' medal was and I told him I'd kept it for him. It was nice to see him. He contributed an awful lot on setting us off on that run and I'm pleased it has worked out for him too – I doubt he was thinking about playing for England when he came to us.
2. I'm afraid City fireworks might kill my party mood
Chelsea, Spurs, and now Manchester City. It's quite a run of fixtures – and all of them televised live. I see City have scored at least three goals in eight of their 10 league games – against Fulham and Everton they only managed two. That's some record, but it is a great game for us. Just to be competing against players like that is fantastic.
City have got to be favourites to win the League, not only are they five points clear but their squad is so big and strong. Roberto Mancini has done a fantastic job. I know he had his critics last year, and he's had a lot of money to spend, but you have still got to spend it wisely. One thing is clear, if anyone finishes above City they'll be champions.
Unlike some people I didn't think it was that funny when Mancini hit his head on the roof of the dugout in midweek. It has happened to me a couple of times and I know it really hurts – I wish I had an ice pack at the time like Mancini did. You know everyone on the bench is laughing at you, but because you are the gaffer they can't say 'owt, they just have a good smirk to themselves.
We've arranged to go to some friends' house after today's game, and tomorrow we've been invited to some fireworks. I'll have to play that one by ear, it usually takes me 24 hours to get over a game and the way Manchester City have been scoring goals I might not want to show my face.
3. I've been at 10 clubs in Alex's amazing 25 years
Sir Alex's 25-year anniversary got me thinking back to where I was 25 years ago. It was Seamer Road, Scarborough, in the Conference. They're bulldozing the ground now, the weeds are 10ft high and they've sold the main stands to a rugby league club. I find it so difficult to digest after all the work we put in to get them into the Football League.
A few years later I was at the City Ground with my eldest, James, for the famous FA Cup tie with Nottingham Forest when all the cameras were on Sir Alex as they thought he was about to get the sack. Then Mark Robins stooped to head the winner. United went on to win this first trophy of a long and distinguished career at Old Trafford.
As a manager you are only as good as your players and he has had some superb ones over the years, but it has not just been a case of going out and buying stars. There's the ones he brought through the youth system, and others who have proved really good value signings. Eric Cantona was the best bargain. It takes a certain type to play for Manchester United and he strutted like a matador. Who'd have thought he'd make the impact he did when he left Leeds? Certainly not Howard Wilkinson.
This is my 10th club since 1986, and Sir Alex is still at Old Trafford. Incredible. We've had our run-ins over the years but there's no doubt he's the best manager of my lifetime. Last weekend he showed his experience with the team he sent out at Goodison Park. After the drubbing against Manchester City that is one of the last places he would want to go, another bad result and all the critics would be out. He was determined not to get beat so he put out a team designed to get a 1-0 victory with Wayne Rooney in midfield. That just killed any negative momentum which might have been building.
I thought about that when Chelsea lost 5-3 to Arsenal. After their result against us Chelsea could have done with a similar performance, and result, to United's at Everton. That's the problem for young managers like Andre Villas-Boas. When you have a sticky time you've no experience to fall back on. Having said that, I still think he will be a top manager.
4. Will's in with big boys – so an injury looms
Good and bad news for William. He's very pleased he's been picked for the school's rugby A team; the bad news for his parents is he gets injured every time he plays for them. He's light on his feet, but in a game like rugby that's a mixed blessing.
It reminds me of when I was at Huddersfield and we shared the ground with the rugby league team. I watched them play St Helens and during the game went to my office which took me through the tunnel and past the players. I've never seen men as big as that in my life. I know it is the other code, but now I'm in the area I'll have to get to a game at Twickenham. I do enjoy the way they get on with the game, even when a player gets injured the game continues while the physio treats him where he lies. Why can't they do that in football?
Talking of Huddersfield, I'm pleased Lee Clark is staying at Town. I think it is the right decision for him and I'd love to see him take them up. I've got great memories of my time there. The chairman's given him great backing and to go so many league matches unbeaten is fantastic. If they avoid defeat today they'll match Nottingham Forest's 33-year-old 42-match unbeaten run which is incredible.
5. I bet in-game wager ban can help clean up sport
I don't think anyone was surprised with the outcome of the Pakistani cricket trial. When you looked at those no-balls they could hardly have been more obvious. I've not seen anybody get that far over the crease since the hop, skip and jump.
I do feel the jail terms will make a lot of people think twice as a deterrent, at least about doing it in England, but it is obviously a big problem for all sports. I don't think in-game betting helps. The governing bodies should ban those bets. They are all asking for trouble. I know this case was about illegal betting, but it would at least indicate sports were serious about reducing the gambling culture. Bookies are doing very well out of us.
6. Pulis has Stoke on track for European dream run
One bookmaker who's put his cash back into the game is Peter Coates, the owner of Stoke City and bet365. He must have been proud as punch on Thursday after Stoke went to Israel and achieved another very good win. It almost guarantees they will be in the next stage. Their progress has been amazing. I think Tony Pulis has done a magnificent job. They have played strong sides all competition and been rewarded. I hope they do what Fulham did a few years ago and go all the way to the final. They have not been helped, though, by the fixture list. This week they had to play Monday against Newcastle, then on Thursday in Israel, and tomorrow they are at Bolton. That's a long week.
7. Kovalainen gives Tony taste of life in fast lane
QPR owner Tony Fernandes is in London. He's been travelling in style and arrived from Switzerland where he was put up by Heikki Kovalainen, one of his Formula One drivers at Team Lotus. I had to laugh when I heard he'd tweeted that Kovalainen met him at the airport. Not a bad taxi driver!
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