I did switch on when we got back, and immediately thought I was a jinx as Ukraine equalised within a minute. So I was delighted when John Terry stuck that one away because everyone wants us to get to the World Cup finals. Now we have two games coming up which, if we're professional, we should win comfortably. Wouldn't it be great though, to have an Alan Shearer playing for us now? I think the centre-forward position is still a problem and, whatever Fabio's said, if Michael Owen starts playing well and scoring I think he has to be in the team.
2. Shear delight at Newcastle appointment
I'm delighted Alan Shearer has taken over at Newcastle. It's a fabulous club. The proper honours they have won over the last half-century can be counted on one finger but they still have probably the most loyal fans in the world. Once it was obvious Joe Kinnear was struggling with his health I felt it needed someone to come in to give them that impetus. And I'm glad Joe has not come back after what he's been through. It could only have dire consequences. Is anything that important?
I think in the short term Shearer is the right man. The players are on a par with the other teams down there, if not better, and him being there will intensify the atmosphere 100 per cent. The fans will have nothing but supporting the team on their minds, there won't be an empty seat, the atmosphere will be electric, and the intimidation of officials will be back to normal. Even Chelsea won't find that easy today.
Although Alan hasn't been a manager he can draw on his experience as a player and the way he was treated. One example I don't think he'll be copying is Ruud Gullit. I can't see Alan sitting his best player on the bench, can you?
I did smile when Alan said he is only going to do it until the end of the season. If they stay up the clamour for him to stay on will be impossible to resist. And if they go down? I'm told you have got to be lucky to be a good manager and he couldn't have picked a better time to take over because if they do go down he won't get the blame.
While on managers, I see Sven is looking for work again. It's not bad is it? What was he, nine months and eight competitive games into a £7m two-year-deal? My missus always says when she hears about such pay-offs, "Why can't you get the sack more often?" I said to her this week, "Don't mention that in front of the chairman will you?"
3. I'm a Sole man
Thursday was Sharon's Birthday. It was strange not having the kids around. You may recall they've gone skiing. We've hardly spoken to them. It's the new way, though I think it's the parents who miss the contact, not the kids. All we know is that they are both in the top group: I can just imagine fearless William flying down that big slope.
To celebrate I took Sharon to Greenwich after training and we had two hours on the clipper sailing up to Waterloo and back. It was very relaxing. Then we had a lovely meal at a place called Beachcomber, one I recommend. I had the biggest Dover Sole, it filled the plate. Believe you me, after moving house it was nothing more than we deserved.
4. Scannell award is well-deserved
Congratulations to Sean Scannell, who won the Championship's Young Apprentice of the Year Award on Sunday. He's had a great 12 months and it was a bit of consolation for his season ending early with a hernia. At least he'll be fit for next season, as will Shaun Derry who's also had surgery. The way I'm limping I wish I was having my hip operation now as well but I'm going to wait to the end of the season. I don't want to be on crutches by the touchline, though with my reputation they probably wouldn't let me take them in the dug-out in case I use them as an offensive weapon on the fourth official.
5. Saints plight reminds me of Le Tissier quality
I had mixed feelings when I heard Southampton's holding company had gone into administration. It's terrible to see a club like that having such a tough time, but I can understand other clubs in the relegation fight being upset they have avoided a points deduction. Nobody wants to see points lost but I'm sure every club that has had that done in the past will be disappointed. It's another loophole the Football League will be looking at.
I do think Southampton is a wonderful club. Their fans have always got behind the team. We have to go there soon and I'm looking forward to it as they say the stadium is super, but I don't think leaving The Dell helped their cause. Along with Derby's old Baseball Ground I thought The Dell was special. They were two of the best for atmosphere.
I'll never forget taking Scarborough down there in the League Cup in 1988. It was a third-round replay. We were top of the Fourth Division and I thought we'd been the better team in the first game and fancied our chances even though Saints were fifth in the old First Division at the time. Then I saw a certain Matt Le Tissier score the most fantastic goal to beat us. That was the time in my young career, my first league job, when I realised as you go higher there is no substitute for quality.
6. Level-headed Pearson set fair for promotion
Maybe Southampton should have stuck with Nigel Pearson who's taken Leicester City to the top of League One. I've spoken to Nigel a few times recently – if I'm honest it's because I've been after one of his players, without success. In my view he's top of the list of young managers coming through. I felt at the time he had a rough deal at Southampton and I spoke to him a couple of times to say "don't let it affect you" and I was pleased Milan Mandaric chose the right man for his club.
What I like about Nigel is he never gets carried away with victory or defeat. With him in charge, and their fanbase and infrastructure, Leicester can only look forward to better times. I know they lost last week but I think they will push on to promotion.
However, Nigel does have one flaw in his make-up. He belongs to the Owls. But I don't think anyone should hold that against him, even me.
With the MK Dons having stopped winning matches it looks as if Peterborough could get the second spot. With Barry Fry still behind the scenes and young Master Ferguson in the dugout it would be great to see Peterborough in the Championship. London Road, from my memories, is a good football ground atmosphere-wise. The only problem is the pitch, but if they get in the Championship they might have a better surface.Reuse content