Neil Warnock: My Elland Road job came so suddenly I didn't even have time to tell you about it

What I Learnt This Week

First let me apologise to all my readers for not telling you last Saturday that I was about to become manager of Leeds United.

To be quite honest, at the time the column was put to bed I had no idea that would be the case. I'd merely agreed to fly to Monaco and talk to Ken Bates about the possibility. As I wrote last week, I had been talking to Wolves as well, but I wanted to make a quick decision, while they wanted time to speak to other people. So, late in the evening, almost to my surprise, I shook hands with Ken and we agreed to announce it on the Monday.

However, on my flight back from Monaco I looked again at the Championship table, and the fact we had a local derby at home to Doncaster we really had to win. I realised I could not afford to wait, as defeat could have created a nigh-on unbridgeable gap between us and the play-off places. I rang the chairman and said I thought I ought to attend the game, and if necessary get involved. He agreed, so we had to announce the appointment.

I think events proved it was the right decision. We were losing at half-time so I decided it was time to come down from the stand; 45 minutes later we had three points. Obviously, I'm a tactical genius!

In truth, I hope Leeds fans (and the chairman) don't now think I'm a magician who will produce such a successful intervention every week, much as we'd all like it. I made some changes but there were two other factors. The team were bound to play better in the second half than the first, and everyone performs that much better, in any walk of life, when a new boss appears.

Besides, the first thing that happened after half-time was another Doncaster goal. Fortunately, we soon got one back, and if anything showed me the club's potential it was the reaction from the supporters. Suddenly the stadium was alive with sound; it was magnificent. The fans willed us on to victory.

I was punching the air with the rest of them when the injury-time winner went in. It doesn't matter what age you are, a late winning goal is always a thrill.

The trick now is maintaining that momentum, starting with today's trip to Portsmouth. Pompey have had a very tough week off the field but that will make an already difficult match even harder as adversity often brings out the best in people. I'm sure the players, and their bright young manager Michael Appleton, will be doing their hardest to try and lift the club and a set of their wonderful fans, who don't deserve what they have been through in the last few years. Fratton Park is the noisiest ground I've ever managed at. I don't know whether that bloody drummer is still there, but on a number of occasions I'd have liked to have shoved his drumstick somewhere.

2. While I'm in Leeds, the wife's gone back to golf

My decision to join Leeds was also a shock for Sharon and the kids. We'd been talking about calling it a day, and I have had a lot of offers to work in the media, but the opportunity to try to get an eighth promotion, and with such a great club, was too tempting to turn down. I think Sharon understands what it is that keeps driving me on.

Obviously, it is not ideal from a family viewpoint. With the school year only halfway through, I'll be away quite a bit between now and the end of the season, but I'm not the first manager to have that problem.

I managed to get down to see William play rugby on Wednesday and was rewarded with a fabulous match in which he kicked three conversions and a drop goal to help his team to victory. Unfortunately, his mate Alfie, who's an awesome player and heart of the team, broke his thumb and had to be rushed to hospital. He's had it pinned and is out for the rest of season. Tomorrow they are playing in national qualifiers but I'm afraid their chances are slim now.

Amy's been active too, with three netball matches in one night. No wonder she slept well. That is so much healthier than playing on a computer for three hours. Sharon's also getting sporty. Since I'm going to be away a lot she's decided to take up golf again. She's always had a great natural swing and I'm sure she'll have lots of fun going round the local courses with William.

There is one family benefit to my move. My oldest son, James, lives in Leeds with his wife Sarah and my grandson Charlie, so I've moved in with them. It's been great to have more time with them, but I will be moving out as soon as I can because it is hard trying to run a family and have your father-in-law around all the time, even if some days all I've done is sleep there. There is that much to do at the ground and training ground I've not left until nine at night on a couple of occasions.

3. I gave Andros a key role – and he promptly quit

I had my first disappointment at Leeds when Andros Townsend left. He was on loan from Tottenham and when I talked to Harry Redknapp about changing my system for him, Harry said how pleased he was Andros was getting a regular game. The next minute Townsend's agent phones to say he's not enjoyed it at all. He said: "No disrespect to you, Neil, but he's wanted to leave for a while." I said to him: "He's only been here four weeks. I don't suppose it's anything to do with me hearing that Birmingham want him, is it?"

I said to his agent: "I don't want anyone playing for Leeds who's not happy, but we'll have to play him at Portsmouth as I've worked on his role all week. Next week he can go to Birmingham or wherever." I go into training the next day and ask one of the staff to fetch Andros so I can put him in the picture. They return to tell me he's cleared his locker and gone back to London. By the time you read this he'll probably be at Birmingham. It'll be interesting to see how many games he plays between now and the end of the season.

A lot of clubs are trying to get players in on loan at this stage of the season and we're no exception. I've been desperately trying to bring one or two players in and I'm hoping I get favours off one or two people. You do need a bit of luck at this stage, when all the best players are tied up and most clubs are loath to loan you players in case they need them.

4. If Ken Bates is as good as Jordan, I'll be happy

With Leeds having their own TV and radio station the chairman doesn't want me doing many interviews for other outlets but I'm sure you will all be pleased to hear I have managed to persuade him to let me continue writing this column...

For all his critics, I have always got on well with Ken, right from the days he offered me the Chelsea job more than 20 years ago. The reaction to my joining him brought back memories of when Simon Jordan hired me at Crystal Palace. All the headlines were about how we could never work together, yet he was the best chairman I've had. If my relationship with Ken proves similar I'll be more than delighted.

My assistant manager, Mick Jones, has joined me at Elland Road but another sidekick, Keith Curle, is returning to management in his own right at my old club Notts County. It's a wonderful club and a great opportunity for him. He's an excellent coach and I'm sure he will do well. That provided an opportunity for Ronnie Jepson, who's been with me for a couple of years, to step up to first-team coach. It is sometimes good to have a change of staff for a manager; Sir Alex Ferguson changes his coach every few years, so it may prove a blessing all round.

5. Cardiff might surprise a few, and Liverpool too

It is great for the Championship that Cardiff City are playing at Wembley tomorrow. They have an exciting young boss with a great future ahead of him in Malky Mackay, and good players. They could easily give Liverpool a much tougher game most people expect, but whatever the result it is a fantastic achievement to get to the final. It has affected their league form, but you can't blame players for having Wembley on their minds and I expect them to come good in the league again afterwards.

The other big game this weekend is at the Emirates, but while all the punters and pundits are tipping Spurs I have a gut feeling Arsenal will surprise people. I fancy them to come fourth, which would be another blow for Chelsea. I watched Chelsea's game against Napoli in midweek and felt really sorry for Andre Villas-Boas. The goals they conceded, having taken the lead, showed how much they missed the leadership John Terry provides. You need leaders on the pitch when you have to dig in during games. It is something Leeds have lacked this season and a reason why results have been inconsistent.

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?