Neil Warnock: Never mind who we're playing, it's the ref who will make or break us

What I Learnt This Week


1. Snooker saved me from kicking the dogs


We had a very strange game last week, losing 4-1 at home to Ipswich in a match that to this moment I think we should have won. At 2-1 down, I can't understand how the referee did not give a penalty and a red card when Nick Carle was pulled down in the box. That would have been 2-2 against 10 men with 20 minutes to go. Instead, we end up embarrassingly losing 4-1.

It made me realise it is not just who you are playing, but who is reffing, which will make the difference at the end of the season.

After that defeat, I went home and felt like kicking the dogs. Instead, I watched the snooker and really enjoyed it, so much so I decided to watch the final between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby on Sunday. I sat down at half-eight to watch and was still there when it finished at quarter-past midnight. It reminded me of watching Dennis Taylor beat Steve Davis all those years ago. Once I started watching I couldn't stop. It was riveting. I know they are saying it should be on earlier, so more youngsters can watch, but I enjoyed stopping up with the kids and missus gone to bed.

2. Brave Burnley did the Championship proud

It was a bad week for Burnley. As a Championship manager I felt so proud of them against Spurs on Wednesday. It was not just huff and puff, their quality was super.

The game reminded me of when I was at Huddersfield and we reached the semi-finals of the Autoglass Trophy against Carlisle. It was a Wembley final, Huddersfield hadn't been there since the 1930s, and were desperate to get there.

We won the first leg, at home, 4-1, just as Spurs had. A few days later, I went past the secretary's office and heard him organising buses to Wembley. I said to him, "You shouldn't be doing that yet, we've a tough game at Carlisle. Nothing's safe in football." He said: "We're 4-1 up, we're not going to lose that."

By half-time, we were 2-0 down and had lost our captain, Peter Jackson, who's now manager at Lincoln. I put a student called John Dyson on. One more goal and, unlike poor Burnley, Carlisle would win on away goals. We not only played 90 minutes but played 11 minutes of injury time. I've no idea where the ref found them. I've never felt as sick on the bench. Looking at Harry Redknapp when Spurs were 3-0 down brought all those memories back. We held on but I never want to be involved in a match like that again.

3. Teaming up with Tuffers to take on Taylor

Having been reminded of Dennis Taylor on Sunday, I found myself facing him on A Question of Sport on Monday. I reminded him of how he kept me, and half the country, up all those years ago. I was on Phil Tufnell's team with Lawrence Dallaglio, Dennis was on Matt Dawson's with Mark Butcher. I won't tell you who won, you'll have to watch it, but the last round was a disgrace.

4. Hartlepool can put the wind up Hammers

It is fair to say our FA Cup tie today does not whet the appetite, and I'm sure our opponents, Watford, feel the same. The whole object is to get into Sunday's draw, for both of us. I just wish the draw was still on Monday, on the radio, but I guess that doesn't satisfy the sponsors.

There are some tasty games. Arsenal won't find it easy at Cardiff where a great crowd get behind the team. My old club Hartlepool will be welcoming Gianfranco Zola's West Ham. The people there were the friendliest I've ever met, I'll never forget their hospitality, but it was cold. Wait until the Hammers feel that wind whistling off the North Sea into their ears. It's the only place where pigeons don't land because they would be frozen instantly. When I played there in 1972, and won the player of the year award incidentally (my only award as a player), the away dressing room was heated by a wood-burning stove. It was occasionally known for us to put a bit of water on the wood to dampen it. There'd be a big plume of smoke coming out of the dressing room.

I was reminded, reading yesterday's Independent, of the record we made. Someone wrote to me a year ago. They had a copy and would sell it for £50 as it was a collector's item. I didn't buy.

Fulham should have enough at Kettering but it is a tight ground so it could be interesting. Then there are the "glamour" ties. Manchester United v Tottenham and Everton v Liverpool. The first one will be full of reserves and if the other is like the two sides' game on Monday, I think I'll give it a miss.

5. High hopes dashed by an 8-0 drubbing

I took the kids to school this week and couldn't park in my usual spot, so I went further up the hill.

Having dropped them off, I walked back up but couldn't find my car. I thought, "Someone's pinched it."

I then realised I didn't even know the number plate to my own car to tell the police. I rang Sharon, then decided to go back to school to see if anyone had seen anything. A hundred yards back down the hill and there it was.

After giving William the big write-up last week, I went along to watch him this week. He'd been promoted to the school Under-9s, albeit the B team. I had high expectations, but they lost 8-0. It's true to say William doesn't like losing.

6. Kaka's show of loyalty is a rarity these days

I'm disappointed Kaka won't be playing in England as he's such a good player, but in another way I'm pleased he's staying with Milan as it is a bit of a rarity to find a player who does not just go for the money.

It shows Manchester City just can't buy everybody, though it looks as if they will try to. One reporter said to me at a press conference, "Do you think Mark Hughes will want to spend that sort of money?" I replied, "If I was Mark Hughes, I would buy every player I could, because he is going to have to get results and having good players helps."

Our league programme resumes on Tuesday at Charlton. They battered us there last year and we did well to keep it to 2-0. It is a real derby match and, like the supporters, I'm looking forward to it, especially as it is the only place we play where we have someone at the club who is even more unpopular than me for the crowd to have a go at. Who? Answers on an envelope.

Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?