Neil Warnock: I could have got Nottingham Forest promoted into the Premier League

Once I’d made my decision I had to call Lee Peltier, who signed thinking I’d be there

It has been an interesting week, in which I could have come back into football at Nottingham Forest or Portsmouth.

It all started last Sunday, when I was contacted by people representing the chairman of Forest, Fawaz al-Hasawi. Obviously, I knew Forest had lost 5-0 to Derby County on Saturday so it wasn’t difficult to work out what he might want to talk to me about. I was in London to do my media work, so I agreed to meet him on Sunday night. He told me the manager, Billy Davies, had been told he had been relieved of his duties and they wanted me to replace him to the end of the season in the hope I could win promotion.

We spoke about the job, and the squad, and agreed to meet on Monday. We spoke in more detail. I said I would like to sign two or three players on loan to tide them over their injury problems, including Lee Peltier, who I knew was out of favour at Leeds. I also said that, with so few games to go, and the league so tight, I would need to be in charge for Tuesday night’s home match with Charlton because I thought it was vital we won that.

The problems began when we began discussing what team I would pick. I said I would play three in attack: Darius Henderson supported from the flanks by Jamie Paterson, who I tried to sign when he was at Walsall, and Jamie Mackie, who played for me at QPR and who I knew I could get more out of.

I notice the chairman said on Tuesday night that he never interferes in team selection, but just offers an opinion from time to time. What he believes is interference, and what I believe is interference, may not be the same.

When I mentioned the wide players, the chairman, without interfering, told me that in his opinion Djamel Abdoun, an Algerian international, was the best player in that position, but had not had the opportunity under Billy Davies. I replied I wouldn’t want to play him without seeing him in training as I did not know enough about him.

Not that he was completely unknown to me. I had been told by others he was not my kind of player; by all accounts when he had been involved it appeared he would only run forwards, and Forest had conceded quite a few goals due to the full-back behind him being outnumbered.

When I saw the team selection on Tuesday night I knew I had made the right decision. There were three changes to the team I would have played, among them the inclusion of Abdoun. The caretaker boss Gary Brazil, head of Forest’s academy, must have been on the same wavelength as the chairman! I think it is normal for foreign owners to express an opinion on the team – and let’s be fair, when you have put that much money into a club why can’t you have any influence?

Fawaz was very good company, and I have a couple of mates who are Forest season-ticket holders and think he is great, but it wasn’t for me, which is a shame. I did feel it was well within my capabilities – even with the injuries they have – to get them up, and it would have been great to work at what is still one of the best clubs in the country.

I then had a couple of calls to make. One was to Peltier, who had signed for Forest thinking I would be in charge. He signed in a rush on Monday morning to ensure he was eligible for Tuesday, though I later discovered he could have been signed as late as three hours before kick-off, something no one at Forest seemed to know either. Lee did try to cancel the agreement once it became clear I was not going to Nottingham, as Dougie Freedman at Bolton had come in for him. Unfortunately for him it was not possible, but I’m sure he will do a good job for whoever comes in at Forest.

The situation with Lee’s transfer showed Forest need a chief executive type who knows the English game to run the club day to day. It still one of the best clubs in the country fanbase-wise.

I also called my old player Shaun Derry, who is now manager at Notts County. He’d sent me a text wishing me all the best and asking for a pre-season friendly. That proved a little premature. I spoke to him after and told him he’s welcome to bring his team down to Cornwall in the summer. I hope they will still be a League One side then. Dezza seems to be turning it round at County and they have a fighting chance of avoiding relegation. Whatever happens, it has been a great grounding for him.

I’d barely been back in Cornwall when Portsmouth got in touch. They had decided to make a change and asked if I could help them stay in the league. I offered to advise whoever took over from behind the scenes but said I didn’t feel the job of manager there was right for me. Even though I have to say I have always loved their support and always thought what a great club it would be to manage with that backing from fans.

So for the foreseeable future I’m back under Sharon’s feet, and back with Alan Brazil on TalkSPORT and Darren Fletcher at BT Sport.

I was flabbergasted to hear Sam Allardyce was booed after West Ham won in midweek – and even more astonished at some Leyton Orient fans booing their lads for conceding a late equaliser and giving Russell Slade some stick.

Those fans should take a good look at what Russ – who used to combine teaching with being my youth team coach at Notts County – has achieved. Orient have not paid a fee for a player for seven years and what they have done this season is beyond all anticipation. To criticise them now beggars belief.

Trouble at Leeds is no surprise...

The news that Leeds’ players have only been paid half their wages this month shows what dire straits the club is in. I’m saddened, but not surprised. It took six months, during which I was talking to three potential buyers, before GFH Capital agreed to buy the club. They said I could bring in three players in the January 2013 window so I lined up Chris Burke of Birmingham, Derby’s Richard Keogh, and Craig Mackail-Smith of Brighton.

I was convinced if we signed them we’d win promotion, but it was soon clear the owners had no intention of keeping their promise. In addition, Luciano Becchio wanted to leave. In the end the best I could do was swap him for Steve Morison while GFH came up with Habib Habibou. He didn’t cost anything and had a half-decent record in Belgium, but he didn’t have the stamina for English football.

What I can’t understand about Leeds is why an Abramovich-type investor doesn’t buy the club – it has so much potential.

... but abuse of Slade is a real shocker

I was flabbergasted to hear Sam Allardyce was booed after West Ham won in midweek – and even more astonished at some Leyton Orient fans booing their lads for conceding a late equaliser and giving Russell Slade some stick.

Those fans should take a good look at what Russ – who used to combine teaching with being my youth team coach at Notts County – has achieved. Orient have not paid a fee for a player for seven years and what they have done this season is beyond all anticipation. To criticise them now beggars belief.

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