Neil Warnock: My lads can't stop hitting the target...at paintballing

What I Learnt This Week

It seems there's nothing wrong with my players' shooting, not to judge from the bruises covering the legs of Paul Roberts, our football liaison officer.

Paul seems to have borne the brunt of some impressive accuracy from my players at last week's paintballing expedition, even if I gather some of them were at very close range.

It's a long season and it is good to do something every now and again to break up the routine and enhance team bonding. In the past I've taken teams to the seaside, been sledging and gone horse racing. I can recall a day crown green bowling – "oop north", obviously. There's even been the occasional night with an alcoholic beverage or two and an Indian or Chinese meal. This time I offered the lads a choice of clay-pigeon shooting or paintballing. Given some of the players we have I was quite glad they decided against the clay-pigeon shooting.

I did think about going along myself, Sharon said I should, but when I saw Paul's bruises I knew I'd made the right decision because I think I'd have been a target. Adel [Taraabt] was away with Morocco, I'm not sure what he would have made of it.

As well as Adel, Jamie Mackie was away having been called up for Scotland. He was due to play for them in Cyprus last night. I'm so delighted for him. He's worked so hard to get back from that terrible injury and he's really been buzzing since he came back from his injury.

The break also gives our injured players a chance to get nearer fitness. Kieron Dyer and Matt Connolly have both started running and should be back training with the squad in the next couple of weeks. It's about time they both had a bit of luck. I do feel jealous looking at a Newcastle team that has hardly changed its defence all season. It doesn't half help having a settled back line, but I know everyone has to suffer injuries at some stage in the season.

2. City loss still hurts but Asia trip is just Grand

The lads not away on international duty have been given this weekend off. It's good for them to have a break from the same voices shouting at them all season. They deserve a break after their efforts last weekend against Manchester City. We were obviously disappointed to get nothing out of our game against the champions-elect because we gave it a real go. It's probably the best game of football we've been involved in since I've been here when you take into account the quality of the opposition. While I accept City have got some fantastic players, with David Silva the best of them, I did think we let ourselves down with the defensive mistakes we made for their goals. That made it more disappointing to come out of the game without a point.

There's no weekend off for me though. I'm currently in Asia having flown out to have a look at a player yesterday. Typical of my luck he played in a different position to the one I wanted to see him in. All this way and I can't judge him properly! Today I'm going to fly to Abu Dhabi for tomorrow's Grand Prix. Our chairman, Tony Fernandes, owns team Lotus (who are now to be called Caterham). He brought his back-room staff to one of our games and it was great having a laugh with them, so it'll be good to see them in their working environment.

3. Capello should take on Spain with his first XI

It looks to me that we have already made our excuses for this evening's international against Spain by saying that we are going to give one or two youngsters an opportunity. While I am a massive fan of giving the kids a chance, I don't think the time is right, with both teams gearing up for the European Championship, and certainly not against the best team in the world. We can experiment against Sweden on Tuesday. Against a team like Spain we should have played the first XI, including Wayne Rooney. At worst it would have given us a look at how far away we are, and we could have given them a run for their money. It looks as if Fabio's scared of playing his full team as the consequence of a bad defeat would be damaging. However, I always think the team look frightened by the expectation at Wembley, but against Spain there is no expectation so they would have played with more freedom. It's an opportunity lost.

4. At least Fifa finally saw sense over poppy debacle

At least we'll be wearing the poppy, albeit on an armband. Thank goodness common sense prevailed, to some extent. They really are out of touch at Fifa when it comes to anything like this. There's no way it would upset anybody, even German politicians said no one in their country was bothered. Why Fifa were so adamant, goodness knows.

I always feel when we have that minute's silence at this time of year that it is a good thing to remember everyone who fought for their country, and the sacrifice all those young men made. And they are still putting their lives at risk for Britain.

My Dad wasn't in the forces. As a steelworker he was required to stay in industry, but I can remember him telling us about being in the factory and hearing the sirens go off. They would all head for the shelter with the anti-aircraft guns firing away and the German bombers trying to blow up the steelworks. We used to play with his gasmask as kids. We'd go up to the air-raid shelter at the top of our garden when a plane came over and pretend it was for real. Thank goodness it wasn't.

5. Shock over St James' but don't rule it out elsewhere

It's going to seem strange playing Newcastle United at the Sports Direct Arena. I can't fault what Mike Ashley's done there with the finances, and Alan Pardew is doing a brilliant job with the team. If this can generate money to reinvest then they should do even better, but it doesn't seem quite right and I hope they get a sponsor quickly.

Still, everyone's doing it. At Sheffield United I figured it was only a matter of time before Bramall Lane was renamed after a Chinese company, because the club became so involved with China. Fortunately, it never got that far. It wouldn't surprise me now, with the QPR chairman owning Air Asia and Air Malaysia, if something happened with Loftus Road. The Premier League gets such coverage in that part of the world it must be tempting. I know it's not traditional, but if the extra funds enable us to stay up I'm sure most fans would understand. I must add, I don't know of any plans, I only mention it because of Newcastle.

6. Music from Mister Ed is a complete turn-off

I was listening to some music with Amy last week and I said, "this is a nice tune". She told me it was by someone called Ed Sheeran. Then I heard a few of the words, and I said to her: "What's he singing about?" She said: "You don't want to hear." But I pressed her so she told me: "This song is about a prostitute who's taking drugs and there's all these blokes." I said to her: "You're only 13." She said: "Dad, everyone listens to this sort of music." They do, too. On Monday I had a work-out in the gym at the training ground. It was late in the afternoon, there was only a young lad there with me. There was some music on the TV. Every other word began with F. I told the lad to turn it off.

William's playing in the rugby A team today so I'll be thinking of him. I hope he plays well and keeps out of trouble. And I have news of Elvis, our chameleon. He's just shed all his skin and looks in top condition. We thought about getting him a female companion, but when we were told he's likely to eat her, we decided we'd better not.

7. There's no need for me to make a Twit of myself

The lads have been trying to get me on Twitter. I don't see the point. I can assure you I'm not on it, and I'm not planning to be on it. If there's anyone claiming to be me, they're a fake.

News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television The BBC have commissioned a series of programmes doing away with high-production values, commentary, script or drama
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable