Neil Warnock: I know how betrayed Roy Hodgson must feel, I have been caught out myself...
What I Learnt This Week
It brought back an unhappy memory when I heard the news about Roy, Rio and the unguarded underground conversation. While at Sheffield United, I went to a dinner function where I was to answer questions from the floor. I was told it was a strictly off-the-record evening – "say what you want, we're among friends". During the Q&A I was asked about a particular player, how brave he was. I said he had "a heart as big as a pea". The following morning it was all over the internet, as was everything else, as someone had recorded it all.
The following day I spoke to the guy who organised the function, who was very apologetic. He said the guy who recorded the evening had done so as he thought he "would be providing a service to fans who had not been at the dinner". It certainly didn't help the team as I had to placate the player concerned.
Since then I have been more careful about what I say, in public and private, unless I can really trust the people I am with. It's the same with the press. Once, I used to have the local reporter on the team bus and I'd tell him everything, so when he wrote about the club he was informed, even if he couldn't print some things. Those days are long gone. There's now so many young journalists looking to make a name for themselves, and some established ones trying to hold on to their jobs, that there's not many you can trust that when you say "this is off the record" it stays that way.
The situation is just as bad when it comes to the general public now, what with everyone having mobile phones which can take pictures and record, then tweet it immediately. Managers in general have never been so cautious as we are now, and I'm sure Roy will make sure it never happens again. In future he will just say, "I don't want to comment on individuals." It is a shame.
As for the England squad itself, it's a good opportunity to have a look at Ryan Shawcross in training and the same with Fraser Forster. Given some of the goalkeepers who have been involved, it is time Forster, who's an outstanding young keeper, had a chance.
Incidentally, what a great result for Celtic in midweek – a first away victory in the Champions League group stages. Rangers also achieved a big cup-tie away win, beating Forres Mechanics in the Scottish Cup last weekend. I know, I know, can you believe it? It just doesn't sound right.
2. Diouf's ex-club disease
We have now played all three relegated teams in our first nine fixtures, and remained unbeaten in them, which I'm very pleased with given those clubs' resources. We could have even won all three had El Hadji Diouf taken last-minute chances against Blackburn and, on Tuesday, Bolton. I jokingly said to him after the game at the Reebok: "I know why you missed those chances here and against Blackburn – you don't want to upset your previous clubs." He just laughed. Let's hope we don't play Liverpool, Sunderland or Doncaster Rovers in the cup.
Once again Kevin Davies was the thorn in our side, though that was partly my fault. I decided to have Rodolph Austin mark him. Rodolph's been great for us but I should have realised he would never have seen anything like Kevin playing in Jamaica and Norway. He couldn't cope. But he's not the first. Kevin has shown throughout his career that he's a far better player than people give him credit for. I've tried to sign him on three or four occasions.
Today we have a Yorkshire derby with Barnsley, who have won the last three encounters with us. I don't know what to expect as Barnsley's last away match was a 5-0 win at Birmingham City, but they have since taken one point from home matches against Ipswich and Peterborough. Meanwhile Birmingham picked themselves up by winning at then-top-of-the table Brighton. It shows this really is a league in which anyone can beat anyone.
At Bolton, we had unbelievable weather all day yet the pitch was lovely. It was the same when we entertained Everton in the Capital One Cup. We'd had a month's rain in a day, half of Yorkshire was flooded, yet the pitch was perfect. Ten years ago we'd have lost both games to waterlogged pitches. You never see any mud now either. I can remember playing at Derby's Baseball Ground and it took weeks to clean your boots. Then there was The Lamb, Tamworth's ground, where Burton Albion always played at Christmas. That was muddy in summer – you can imagine what it was like at Christmas – but a local derby in non-league at holiday time never gets called off.
3. Scan is heartening
While it must be worrying for the lad concerned, the discovery that 17-year-old Burnley defender Jake Errington has had a heart problem picked up by a scan is encouraging for the game generally. It shows the value of the policy of routine screening which has been introduced in the wake of Fabrice Muamba's collapse. Jake needs surgery and will miss the rest of the season but should be back playing next year, hopefully with his heart ready for the rigours of professional football. If the screening spots only one case every one or two years it is worth it to prevent a tragedy.
4. Ryder lesson for KP
Thank goodness English cricket has come to its senses regarding Kevin Pietersen. We all want to see our best players involved. I think he will be a bit more careful now as he nearly blew his chance.
The importance of team spirit was shown in the Ryder Cup. On Sunday night, when Will said goodnight and went to bed, the scoreboard was just beginning to turn blue, but America were still favourites. I said to him: "This could be closer than you think, I'll tell you the score in the morning." Sharon then joined me to watch and we were riveted. I've never experienced anything like it.
The highlight for me was when Jim Furyk thought a putt was going in and started to jump around. Then the ball went past the hole and Sergio Garcia, who gave everything, held one finger to his lips to the crowd as if to say "don't celebrate yet". And at the death Martin Kaymer's putt looked miles away to me, but he just rolled it in.
Ian Poulter was fantastic. Like Monty, he seems to thrive in a team environment. I thought it was very fitting that Europe won with Seve Ballesteros having passed away as he and Jose Maria Olazabal had always been big buddies. And we played the way I imagine Seve would have, without fear.
Oh, we do enjoy beating the Yanks, and I'm sure you'll agree, if you never hear "Get in the hole" ever again it wouldn't worry you. Sometimes there's 500 yards to go.
5. Come on, Rhinos
I'd like to wish Leeds Rhinos luck in the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford today. They will be underdogs against Warrington after the Wolves beat them in the Challenge Cup final but Leeds were not expected to win the semi-final. I fancied them, though. In rugby league play-offs one semi-finalist can choose which team they want to play. Wigan chose Leeds. What more motivation can a manager need? The team talk is one sentence: "This lot think you're pushovers – show them you're not."
6. Blisters in the family
It's been an up-and-down week family-wise with William on crutches having damaged his knee… playing rugby. He's so quick some of the tackles he gets make me wince, and one of them caught him this week. It really is a man's game. He's also got blisters on his hands from using his crutches.
He's not the only family member with blisters. Natalie, my eldest daughter, did the Thames Path Challenge 50km walk. She walked in aid of an Alzheimer's charity in memory of her grandma on her mum's side, Grandma Joan, a wonderful woman who lived into her late 80s but died a few weeks ago. There were thousands of people walking. I think it is wonderful how people do all these walks and bicycle rides and so on for charities.
7. Towie, or me?
At a loss when Downton Abbey finishes tomorrow night? Why not switch on the radio and listen to Talksport? If you do you'll hear me take a trip down Memory Lane on Sporting Lives with Danny Kelly. Or you could watch Towie on ITV2.
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