Neil Warnock: My appetite is whetted by thought of taking over at a tasty top club
What I Learnt This Week
It's been an interesting week.
There are possibilities cropping up that may offer the chance to get back into the game and I have to admit they whet my appetite. There are good clubs looking for a manager – my old club Huddersfield, one of the top six clubs in England in Leeds, as well as Premier League Wolves. All top clubs and each offers a different opportunity for the right person. I'm not writing anything off regarding taking a job on until the end of the season.
I'm getting over the disappointment of QPR, although it remains difficult for me to understand and take – but life goes on and I still feel I did a fantastic job. The supporters and myself had a real roller-coaster ride, full of thrills really, so if I do take a job it's got to be at a club that gets me excited and gets the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. That's the type of job that keeps me going and all three I have mentioned fit that bill.
It doesn't really bother me which division I manage in – I'm not one to say I have to manage in the Premier League. There are plenty of good clubs outside it. When I left Notts County many years ago I went to Torquay for 17 games. People thought I was mad. Torquay looked like they were going out of the Football League and all the advice I was getting from within the game was that it would be a blemish on my CV.
But I took it and I loved it. There were kids on £100 a week running through brick walls for me. It was a reality check. Many managers wouldn't entertain going down a division, but it doesn't bother me. Don't forget, either, that I left Huddersfield having got them promoted to take over at Plymouth, who were then in the bottom division. Looking back it was a fabulous decision, not least because that's when we bought a house in Cornwall and where our love for the area began to bloom.
2. The horrors of dealing with administration
With Portsmouth and Rangers going into administration it took me back to my time at Crystal Palace. We never saw it coming at Palace. It is difficult to deal with as a manager. You have to put a brave face on it. You are the front of house, as it were. You have to keep the players going, players who are worried about paying their mortgages and bills. Our money was delayed and the day before a match we would have players ringing their banks to see if they had been paid. That anxiety affects performance. You try and sort all the problems out, but it mounts up and when you have 20-odd players with issues it becomes overpowering.
My dealings with the administrators at Palace were diabolical. I didn't have a lot of time for the people who were in charge. All they wanted to do was sell players – they didn't seem to be looking to get the best value for money. It was short-term thinking.
They tried to get me to sell Nathaniel Clyne to Wolves and Victor Moses. They ended up selling Moses cheaply at £1.5m – they should have got at least £2.5m.
3. It's official. There is one referee who I like!
I know a lot of people won't be surprised to see Stuart Attwell has been demoted to the Football League. But Stuart has the makings of a top-class referee and I feel sorry that he was thrown in at the deep end. It only needed a couple of incidents for his age to be chucked at him time and time again. If those decisions had been made by an experienced referee they wouldn't have got as much coverage but things were magnified because the hierarchy put him on a pedestal. I'm glad now he can relax and concentrate on being a referee because he is a good referee.
4. Crabs and fish take my mind off the Wolves
There have been strange goings-on this week. Motorists letting me in at junctions and, when I was a pedestrian, people stopping to let me cross the road – then I remember I'm in Cornwall. It's a different world.
Last Saturday, when all the hustle and bustle of the football afternoon was going on, I was rock-pooling with William and Amy. It was the best haul we've had, crabs (look at the picture of this monster, left) and big fish, and they had a good laugh at my trousers too. I have lost lots of weight so there was plenty of room in them. The whole afternoon was entirely opposite to what I would normally be doing at that time on a Saturday.
5. United's golden oldies really are great shakes
I watched Manchester United against Liverpool last weekend. Like everyone else, I was disappointed in the whole handshake incident. I don't understand why we still have them. It doesn't help with the Respect campaign – they don't serve a purpose.
The game itself showed that United won't go away – it's going to be neck and neck with City right to the end. Is it any coincidence that now United are beginning to play well again, the old campaigners are back in the swing? It's like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have never been away. I still get a buzz out of watching Giggs. What a great professional. I'm sure the young lads in the squad can only be inspired by him. It's don't do as I say, do as I do. Younger professionals can be easily distracted and at Man United their strength over the years has been having people like Gary Neville – he was as good as it gets as a professional – his brother Phil and David Beckham, as well as Giggs and Scholes, to set an example. I love the way Beckham, as much of a multimillionaire that he is, has handled himself. I'm a massive fan and I would like to see him in the Olympic team – he deserves it.
6. Giggs should start as manager lower down
I saw the suggestions that Ryan Giggs may be Sir Alex Ferguson's choice as United's next manager. It's an interesting idea but miles too early. I don't think you have any chance of managing a club like Manchester United straight off. When you have a name you have more opportunities to start at a big club but I feel you have to get experience, you have to have the disappointments and the bad runs and work out how to get over that. Long term, if you can manage lower down it does help you.
7. Tevez drama is just like Corrie – without the gags
That was a big win for Man City at Aston Villa. It was as good as they have been over the last few weeks. It was a tough game and they ground it out – a massive three points.
I suppose everyone now will be glued to the next instalment of the Carlos Tevez saga. It's like Coronation Street. Carlos says one thing, the manager another. For all parties the best thing will be the end of the season when he moves on. It will be interesting to see if he does make some sort of apology and whether Mancini will be able to use him when he has obviously upset the fans so much. You suspect it's beyond repair.
8. If Van Persie goes, you really fear for Arsenal
The biggest disappointment of the week has got to be Arsenal. It was the manner of how it happened. I can't remember seeing a more out-of-sorts Arsenal and in such a big game it's difficult to understand. Not one of the players came out with any credit. Arsène Wenger must be pulling his hair out. The biggest problem they are going to have after a performance like that is how are they going to keep hold of Robin van Persie? You have to fear for them if he leaves.
9. And while we're at it, Chelsea worry me too
Which leaves Chelsea as possibly the only ones left in the Champions League, but I worry about them too. They are a bit too predictable this year. They used to be so dynamic but now you have Daniel Sturridge playing wide and he is not a wide man. They don't get beyond teams so much so you don't get midfielders like Frank Lampard making runs into space because the opponents are not so stretched.
It's as difficult a job as there is in the Premier League for such a young manager. Will Roman Abramovich have the patience while Andre Villas-Boas changes his squad? There is a possibility that they are not going to get in the Champions League next season and that will be as big a test of the owner as the manager.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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