Neil Warnock: Good managers always believe they can get best from bad boys

What I Learnt This Week


1. Rogue element set a coaching challenge


I've always been a big fan of Joey Barton as a player. If we had stayed up at Sheffield United I was going to pay £4m for him so that shows how highly I rate him. But I suppose, like many others, when I listen to his apologies I do say to myself: 'I wonder how long it will be before he is in trouble again?' I hope he means what he says because there are no more chances for Joey and I fear the worst if he does not take heed now. When I look at his life, if you take football away from it, I don't see what other way there is for him to go.

Obviously he had already been in a few scrapes when I was thinking of signing him but you always think you can be the one to change a player, to settle him down, especially when you've been a manager for a few years. There have been a lot of players I've signed who other managers said, 'Don't touch him with a barge pole'. I bet I have got 90 per cent of them playing well, but some you can't win with. One ex-player had loads of ability but my staff told me not to waste my time with him. I spent the best part of two years trying to turn him around, getting him out of scrapes with the police when he went back home. In the end I had to let him go. I remember saying to him that there are two ways you can go, you can be a footballer and earn good money for 12-15 years, or end up in prison. Unfortunately he didn't take the first option which saddens me.

An example of someone who did change his life around is Michael Brown, who played 150 league games for me at Sheffield United. He was coming up to 22 when I signed him. He'd been at Manchester City but he'd had a few problems in the Manchester area and I was warned off him. From the start I just classed him as a likeable rogue and trusted him completely. He gave me four good years before we sold him into the Premier League with Tottenham. He's now at Wigan but he's one of my ex-players I keep in touch with and I was pleased to hear last month that he has become a father for the first time with Ela, who is a wonderful wife. The baby's called Lally Biba. I hope I've spelt it right. It's a new one on me but that's Michael for you. I'm sure he will make a super Dad.

It's often the case that you just need to get someone out of their environment and away from some bad influences. I remember Curtis Woodhouse at Sheffield United. A talented lad but he got into a load of scrapes. In the end I had to ban him from going home to Driffield. I always got the dreaded phone call on Sunday night or Monday: "PC Plod here".

He was always a boxing fan. I'd hear he'd been sparring on an afternoon off so I'd bring him in to my office and ask him. He'd be stood there, black eye and fat lip, saying, "No Boss, not me". In the end he took up professional boxing. He's now combining playing football for Rushden & Diamonds with boxing. He's won all eight bouts and calls himself the "Driffield Destroyer". He's a lovely lad and I'm pleased he's doing well.

2. It's not what you know it's who you know...

So David Beckham is off to Milan. It proves it's not what you know, but who you know - it must help if Fabio Capello is putting in a good word. Not that I don't think David's still a good player. If Theo Walcott was left-sided I'd have Beckham on England's right. I've heard David might be one of the younger ones at Milan so I'm not sure he'll have enough pace around him. When you see the team-sheet it reads like an all-star veterans team. It's just a pity they have to play competitive football.

3. Only a llama will scare off the foxes, apparently

Last week I told you that I had trouble with the dogs eating fox poo and asked if anyone knew how I could keep them away. The Independent had only been on the streets a few hours and I was offered a solution. I went on Sky's Soccer AM and the presenter Helen Chamberlain, who I know from my days at Torquay because she's a massive fan, said she'd read my column and had an answer. I said how pleased I was to hear she was reading an intelligent newspaper, and what was her answer? She said get a llama. She has one and foxes come nowhere near. I said I can't see a llama settling down near Beckenham.

Everyone thinks I live in Cornwall and commute to Palace. I don't, even if anyone who's ever tried to drive to Selhurst Park will understand when I say it sometimes seems like a 300-mile journey into work.

4. Rent a movie? The chairman makes them

After today's match at Blackpool I'll be rushing back to London to watch a movie. Where most people rent a DVD if they want to see a film our chairman, Simon Jordan, is not one to do things by halves. He's funded a movie. It's called Telstar and it's about Joe Meek, the man behind some of the big hits of my era, songs like 'Have I the Right' and 'Telstar'. I'm looking forward to it, but I think I'll just stick to hiring DVDs .

5. Lastminute.agony

I had to endure the most gut-wrenching feeling a manager ever has at Birmingham City on Tuesday, losing to an injury-time goal. It doesn't happen very often in football, but it has happened three times to me in the last twelve months. It's a feeling you can't explain yet you still have to brush yourself down and speak to the press, which you want then like a hole in the head. First question: "How do you feel?" I felt like saying "How the flaming heck do you think I feel?" – or words to that effect.

The journey home felt twice as long. The bus finally dropped us off at 1.45am. I did feel slightly better when I spoke to someone at Preston who had lost at Plymouth. They got in at 4.45am. It makes you realise there's always someone worse off.

Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv'The Last Kingdom' embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love and loyalty, say creators
Sport
Sergio Romero saves Wesley Sneijder's penalty
world cup 2014But after defeating the Dutch, Lionel Messi and Argentina will walk out at the Maracana on Sunday as underdogs against Germany
Sport
Scoreboard at the end of the semi-final World Cup match between Brazil and Germany at The Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte
Sport
'Saddest man in Brazil' takes defeat with good grace, handing replica trophy to German fans
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Game of Thrones author said speculation about his health and death was 'offensive'
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman and Lauren O'Neil in Jamie Lloyd's Richard III
theatreReview: The monarch's malign magnetism and diabolic effrontery aren’t felt
News
Glamour magazine hosts a yoga class with Yogalosophy author Mandy Ingber on June 10, 2013 in New York City.
newsFather Padraig O'Baoill said the exercise was 'unsavoury' in a weekly parish newsletter
Extras
indybest
News
people'She is unstoppable', says Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris show
Sport
Alexis Sanchez and apparently his barber Carlos Moles in Barcelona today
football
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips
video
Arts and Entertainment
In his own words: Oscar Wilde in 1882
theatreNew play by the Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials - and what they reveal about the man
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m
filmWith US films earning record-breaking amounts at the Chinese box office, Hollywood is more than happy to take its lead from its new-found Asian audience
News
The garage was up for sale in Canning Place Mews for £500,000
newsGarage for sale for £500,000
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil