Neil Warnock: I'm sure a World Cup winner could learn a lot from me – but Lippi won't be coming to QPR
What I Learnt This Week
Saturday 23 October 2010
Everyone has got very excited about a few comments from Flavio Briatore which appeared in the Italian press. By the time they got into the English papers he was being quoted saying he will make Marcello Lippi QPR manager if we get into the Premier League.
Obviously it would be a great experience for me to work with a man who has won the World Cup and the Champions League, and I'm sure Marcello would also enjoy learning from me, but, sorry to disappoint you all – and especially Sharon who thinks me winning promotion then being paid up is the ideal scenario – I don't think it is going to happen.
Flavio has spoken to me, and told me that he did get collared by a journalist who was talking about Italian managers working with England. They spoke about Carlo Ancelotti and Roberto Mancini, and Fabio Capello, and Flavio said it had always been his dream to take QPR into the Premier League and have Marcello Lippi as manager. But, he assured me, he did not mean at this moment in time. I think Flavio was surprised when I said, "It does not bother me in the slightest." I've been in the game long enough to know things get built into something they are not. I get on all right with Flavio, and with Bernie Ecclestone. They, and Amit Bhatia have been so supportive of me and the team. I enjoy their company and I'm not in the least bit worried. I'm enjoying every minute of being the manager at QPR and a hyped-up newspaper story is not going to change that.
Last night showed exactly why I am loving it. The lads showed great spirit to keep going for a draw against Bristol City. And it was good to be on the right side of a late goal at Ashton Gate for once.
Three years ago we were 1-0 up and the ref put four minutes up on the board. Bristol City scored in the sixth minute. My thoughts on that cost me three grand. Last year Freddie Sears scored a great goal to put us in front. Unfortunately for me and Freddie, four people in the stadium did not see it, and they were all wearing black. Then Bristol scored a last-minute winner.
So after that run it seems that my luck might finally have changed. Except maybe it hasn't, as we were unfortunate with Jamie Mackie's goal being disallowed for off-side when it hit Heidar Helguson who couldn't get out of the road. Either way we deserved at least a point, it was like we were the home team.
We've now set a new club record for an unbeaten start to a season at 13 matches. From a points perspective it would have been better to win two and lose one rather than draw three, but it's still nice to break a record.
2. Deal done, now England will see the real Rooney
The chess game has come to an end and Wayne Rooney has signed a new deal. It is the logical conclusion. I couldn't really see him in a Chelsea or Manchester City shirt, and by the sound of it Coleen didn't fancy moving to Spain. I think it is good news for England. Now this has been put to bed I think we will see the real Rooney, all this ducking and diving must have been affecting his game.
I can't see his team-mates holding it against him. They know him and won't have been too surprised at what he said. Now he's got a fabulous new contract he can tell them he was only joking and he loves them all. I don't think the size of the contract will cause a massive problem either, players accept the best player gets top whack.
I feel sorry for Everton, who must have been counting the money they would have got from their sell-on clause, but I know two people who will have been delighted at all the week's headlines. David Cameron and Nick Clegg could not have wished for a better diversion as they announced all those cuts.
3. Carroll reminds me of the likeable rogue I put straight
It brought back a few memories when I saw Andy Carroll has to live at Kevin Nolan's house as a condition of his bail. When I was at Plymouth I had a similar situation with Ronnie Mauge. Ronnie got me promoted, he scored the winner in the play-off final, but he also caused me a problem or two.
He got in trouble with the law and ended up going to court. I gave a character reference and told the judge if he allowed Ronnie bail he could live in our house, which was 20 miles from Plymouth so it meant he would not set foot in Plymouth at night time. The judge agreed. So I had Ronnie round washing the pots and vacuum cleaning for the next few weeks.
It turned into a great time for me because we did have some laughs. He was a likeable rogue. Sharon loved him, he had this fabulous smile with a gold tooth. But on the pitch he could handle himself. He was like a cold assassin and he didn't pull out of any tackles. I think he began to realise, as he was washing up and hoovering, that he was better off behaving himself, so I take a lot of credit for turning his life around. He still keeps in touch and calls for advice as he helps run a local team near Ipswich.
4. Jaunt to Queen's club is the perfect cure for away-day hell
Last night was the end of the week of travel hell. Saturday we played Norwich at home, Tuesday we played at Swansea. Last night at Bristol. Well done the Football League's fixtures people. What with that and both Norwich and Swansea being awarded penalties I'm beginning to wonder if there's a conspiracy to end our unbeaten run. Thankfully Paddy saved them.
I enjoyed Swansea. The new stadium is very impressive (what with Cardiff's new ground as well Welsh football seems on the up) and everyone was very welcoming. Three people even asked me to autograph copies of last week's Independent column.
With getting back in the early hours on Wednesday we have been on the road every day. I felt I needed a blow-out after all that travelling and was lucky enough to get a couple of hours' tennis at Queen's Club. Oh, how the other half live.
That evening I decided to relax and watch a bit of football. The Tottenham game looked the most interesting, so I turned that on. At half-time, at four down and with 10 men, I had to turn it off. I didn't want to see Harry embarrassed by eight or nine. With the other games all boring I decided to go though my planner on Sky+ and eliminate all these football programmes which were clogging it up (Sharon told me to find space for some X-Factor and Strictly). That took me to quarter-past eleven. You can imagine how I felt when I eventually turned on the news to see the 4-3 scoreline. I saw the highlights and what a fantastic hat-trick by Gareth Bale, and how proud Harry must have been after fearing the worst. I felt good for Harry with that end result. Also, my old mate Benitez must have regretted some of his substitutions.
I wished there had been another three or four minutes, but the result gave Tottenham pride back in their game, which could have been squashed if it had been a demolition with the number of players Harry has missing. It will have given them a lift before today's important match against Everton when the early kick-off won't help Harry after such a draining away trip.
5. Hooray for half-term and some quality time with family
The kids are looking forward to half-term and so am I. This week I have hardly seen the family, just hotels and the bus. I'm glad we haven't got a midweek game so we'll be able to do one or two things together.
6. Football must help people get through belt-tightening
I feel embarrassed now mentioning my bus pass when all these cuts have been made, but I enjoy going on the bus. That's not a crime is it? I hope you don't think any worse of me. I could always keep a record of my bus trips and hand my fare to charity.
It sounds like we're in for a period of belts being tightened and people thinking about how they spend their money, so I do feel football should really try to give people the opportunity to take kids into games at a reasonable price. It is still the most popular sport in the country, the chance for people to get rid of the frustrations of their week, and we need to help in what will be a difficult time for many.
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