At last the transfer window is shut and we managers can get on with managing. Even if you are not doing much activity yourself, those last few days tire you out because you are still looking around and making enquiries.
The big move in our division has been Jordan Rhodes going from Huddersfield to Blackburn Rovers for £8m. And guess who we're playing today? Blackburn Rovers, who have got to be up there with Blackpool as favourites now. You can't spend that sort of money and not be favourites. They have got a super squad on paper so they will put us to the test.
The other big spenders have been Cardiff City, who have just spent £3m on Nicky Maynard, who I tried to get on loan for nothing. He's their 10th signing, including a fearsome array of strikers: Maynard, Craig Bellamy and Craig Noone, plus Tommy Smith and Heidar Helguson, who helped my QPR team win the Championship two seasons ago. And guess who we play next after Blackburn? Cardiff.
I have to admit I am a little bit envious of Steve Kean and Malky Mackay, but while it does seem Championship clubs are spending more money than ever in an attempt to get into the Premier League in time for the new TV deal to kick in, there's only about six with major money: the three relegated clubs, Leicester and Cardiff, and now Forest with the Kuwaiti owners giving Sean O'Driscoll backing. It's up to the rest of us to show money isn't everything. Thank goodness it's only 11 versus 11 on the pitch.
That's where other things, like supporters, can make a difference. We took 4,000 fans to Peterborough last weekend, which made for a great atmosphere and helped us win. London Road may not have the facilities of some of the modern grounds – it was one peg each in the dressing room and mine was twisted sideways – but it's football as I remember it and it was great to play there. These modern grounds are superb for safety and facilities, but even places like The Emirates and Pride Park don't evoke an atmosphere the way Highbury and the Baseball Ground did, with all the fans on top of you.
2 Carroll's good move
It didn't surprise me to see Andy Carroll move to West Ham. I don't think Liverpool wanted him to go back to Newcastle, having paid such a high fee in the first place. Andy needs to be playing and I think it's a good move for him. He'll be in their team, he'll have his mate Kevin Nolan with him, while Matty Jarvis, who I think is a top player, will supply the crosses. I can see them scoring more goals than seemed likely a week ago and it is goals that keep you up in that league.
Scott Sinclair to Manchester City is no surprise either. It's a financially fabulous move for the player and his representatives. He's a lovely lad. I had him on loan with me at Palace and it is great to see how he has blossomed over the last 18 months. But can you honestly see him being a regular in a team full of world-class stars when Adam Johnson couldn't? I hope I'm wrong, but from the outside looking in I fear for his opportunities.
I think Victor Moses has more chance at Chelsea because of the way they play, one up with two wide. And once he does get in I think he'll stay as he'll show even more of his ability with top players around him.
It seems to be hectic for my old club QPR. Every time I pick up the paper they have signed somebody. I wonder if they know the Premier League only allow 25 players in a squad, not 50?
3 William signs up
One move which seems to have gone unnoticed in the national press – until now – is Plymouth Argyle signing young William Warnock. He started with Argyle's academy this week.
They've always had a wonderful influx of players in that part of the country and looking at the lower divisions now it is more vital than ever for clubs to produce their own, even if any top player is bound to be pinched early by the big clubs.
William joined in at Leeds over the summer, which gave me the opportunity to have a look around our academy. It's a marvellous set-up and when the weather's nice it's fantastic to see the number of parents and kids around the training ground. No wonder we're producing players like young Sam Byram.
4 Everton our reward
We had a good midweek win over Oxford United, who are top of League Two, in the Capital One Cup. I made six changes, which you usually do either to have a look at someone or to avoid injuries, but this year every player I brought in has something to prove and all of them could have got in Saturday's team, which was refreshing.
I normally hate those early-season cup games but I enjoyed this one. I said to the players: "Just go out and play as you train," and they did.
We've been rewarded with a fantastic draw – Everton at home. Funnily enough, I was talking to David Moyes last week. They have had a great start and will think this is a competition they can win so it is a tough draw for us, but being at home is a big bonus.
We were almost last out and the draw seemed to go on for ages. Every time they pulled out a home team and it wasn't us I kept thinking: "I don't fancy that, ooh, not them!" When it came to the last two I just wanted a home tie. The chairman will be pleased too; it's a real money-spinner.
Talking of draws, what a group from hell for Manchester City in the Champions League. But I wouldn't put it past them winning the group, and even if they don't they've still come a long way from being 2-0 down to Gillingham in a play-off to get out of League One.
Celtic have also got a tough group but they'll give it a go, especially at home. I'm pleased they are through – it's great for Scottish football to have a team in the group stage.
5 An inspiration to all
I watched the opening ceremony of the Paralympics and thought it was fantastic. Danny Boyle was a hard act to follow, but they did it.
I've since caught a few events and when you look at the way people have made light of their circumstances and shown such determination it should inspire people with or without disabilities.
6 Right time to go
I listened to Andrew Strauss talking about his resignation as England cricket captain and I was impressed as usual. I think he has made the right decision.
He has been a wonderful captain – he came in at a critical time and turned the team around – but it is obvious he has been struggling with the bat of late. To go out the way he did showed the class he has.
7 Ironing my hankies
For the first week this season I've been left on my own. It has meant changes.
I am 63 years old and for the first time in my life I am not only having to buy my own handkerchiefs but also to iron them. It took me 40 minutes to iron eight handkerchiefs, but I did it, then I had to iron my shirts and they don't look too bad. I will never knock any woman again for taking time over the ironing. In other words, I'm missing Sharon already.
Fortunately the international break comes at the right time as William starts his new school next week and I'll be able to get there. Parents always like to be there that first day.
To be honest, after the transfer window I could do with a few days off – it completely sends your head into a spin.Reuse content