Neil Warnock: How did Mascherano's wife get the blame for Javier's decision to leave Liverpool?

What I Learnt This Week

It doesn't seem so long ago Javier Mascherano was kissing the Liverpool shirt, now he doesn't want to wear it.

Players and their agents really are running the show at the moment. When I see his friend Lionel Messi being quoted defending him, saying, "Let him go because his wife is not happy, they have no friends and don't want to raise their children in England," it does not seem that far back that Liverpool paid £18m to get Mascherano out of the massive mess he had got into at West Ham. I bet his wife was happy then.

As for my transfers at QPR, they're are an ongoing situation. We're short of a couple of strikers at the minute, but hopefully we can bring some in before the window shuts on Tuesday. It looks like there will be a lot of business at the last minute, with some decent players bound to be left out when the Premier League clubs submit their squads of 25. Fingers crossed.

Today I'm concentrating on the Rams. We managed to stay undefeated last weekend but now face a tricky match away to Derby at Pride Park. I think it is a lovely stadium, though if I am honest I do miss the old Baseball Ground. That was a bit special with a great atmosphere, not unlike Loftus Road with the fans right on top of you. I don't think anybody misses the pitch, though.

There would be a lot more people in favour of artificial pitches if we still had surfaces like the old Baseball Ground. Looking back, you really appreciate how good the likes of Kevin Hector, Alan Hinton and John O'Hare were to play so well on that pitch.

2. Night I lorded it among some cricketing giants

With Sharon and the kids still away in Cornwall I ate out a few times this week. On Monday night I met Stuart Broad and his father, Chris, at a dinner held at Lord's to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease Association. Chris's wife Miche, Stuart's step-mum, died of MND last month. I was so excited meeting Stuart. I told him I was present on his greatest moment at The Oval last year when he took those five wickets against the Aussies. I got goosies down my back just talking to him about it. It is one of those afternoons I will always remember.

The dinner was in the Long Room. What a venue! I felt really nostalgic looking at the pictures and things. The food was magnificent, too. I sat next to Stuart's sister Gemma, who is an analyst with the England cricket team – quite a sporting family.

I felt like I was in that film Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Stuart and Chris are tall enough, when I had a picture taken with them I was standing on tiptoe (I hope it is not obvious). Then Steven Finn came over who's even taller. It was the land of the giants. I couldn't help noticing just how well mannered and well behaved these young lads were.

3. As you get older, you learn to overlook players' weaknesses – especially Theo Walcott's

There was criticism once again for young Theo Walcott last weekend, even though he scored a hat-trick. Sometimes you have to look at players and focus on what they are good at, not worry so much about what they are not good at. OK, so Walcott is not the greatest crosser of the ball when he has time, but he has other attributes like pace and an eye for goal. I thought his hat-trick was of the highest standard. And he's still only 21.

We've got one in Adel Taarabt, who's a couple of months younger than Walcott. When I was a younger manager I might have worried about his weaknesses but now I think about the positives – the things he brings that are different, hard to find. Players like Adel and Walcott excite people, let them get on with it.

Another thought that struck me, watching the highlights last weekend, is what a good career Bolton's Kevin Davies has had. Every centre-half in the division knows he is in for a battle when Kevin gets up against them, yet Kevin never moans when he gets sorted out. I think he is one of a dying breed. I can't for one moment imagine him diving theatrically and feigning an injury. A lot of clubs will be hoping to sign someone like him before Tuesday, but few will.

4. Let's get technical – five officials is not the answer

If ever there was an argument for technology rather than having five officials it was shown this week. First at the Britannia Chris Foy, who's a top referee and could not have been in a better position than any extra official on the line, felt he couldn't award Stoke a "goal" against Spurs because he was not 100 per cent sure in his own mind that it had gone in. There were five officials at Tottenham's next game, in Europe, but none of them saw Jermain Defoe handle before the vital second goal.

Having said that, I was dead chuffed it was given. It was a great result, though I bet Harry [Redknapp] still thinks of that mad first 30 minutes in Switzerland and shudders. Now I think they will do well, those floodlit nights at White Hart Lane are great.

Villa were the only English team not to progress in Europe and I did feel sorry for Kevin MacDonald. He's a wonderful man but Villa's last two results mean the club will probably look elsewhere for their next manager. It could be a blessing. He has such respect in the job he does and enjoys his family life, it could all be for the best.

5. A silver lining for the family Warnock

The family have been having a sporty time of it in the West Country. William has been on a three-day golf coaching school at St Mellion and won the longest drive for a nine-year-old. Then on Tuesday Sharon and the kids went down the beach in late afternoon and stumbled across a family Olympics. Will immediately volunteered, but he was not impressed when he was told it was for his sister and mum too.

He was smiling by the end, though, as the Warnocks came second out of about a dozen families (Sharon said it was eight at first, but the field kept growing). One eyewitness told me, "Your family is very competitive", which did make me smile. When I asked her Sharon merely said, "We did get into the spirit of the Olympiads".

An event with a difference was triple jump. One did the hop, one the skip, one the jump. I can't see that happening at London 2012.

Sharon said there was a great turnout. It makes you think what you can get up to if you don't rely on television for entertainment.

6. It's not just the transfer window that has gone nuts

It has been another week of frustration, not so much in the transfer market, though that was bad enough, but in the garden, trying to keep the squirrels out of my bird-feeders. They are allegedly "squirrel-proof". Well, whoever invented them did not use my squirrels as guinea pigs.

Last week I bought a large "squirrel-proof" bird feeder, a clear plastic tube with a metal roof. I was soon proudly watching as the squirrel climbed on and around it trying, in vain, to get in. Or so I thought. After 10 minutes pushing his nose up at the metal roof cap he tilted it off and got in. I then had to go out. When I got back not only was the roof off, he had chewed the clear plastic tube down a good two inches.

Sharon told me to put some wire over the top and tie the roof down. That worked for a while. Then he chewed up the bracket the wire was attached to.

Meanwhile, a different squirrel has been attacking our other "squirrel-proof" feeder. The squirrel realised if he jumps on the feeder it sways, and nuts fall on the floor, then he goes down and picks them up.

The final straw was discovering some of them had chewed their way into our shed and were eating the nuts out of the bag – they must have done that when the dogs were away, though most of the squirrels round here are bigger than Donald and Percy.

Now I've moved the supply, and caked the feeders with Vicks VapoRub – another tip from Sharon. It seems to be working. As we go to press the little birds are again enjoying their seeds.

There has been some good news on the nature front. I saw my first nuthatch since we've been in London.

scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition