Neil Warnock: Now our unbeaten run has gone I've told the lads to enjoy their Christmas do, they've earned it
What I Learnt This Week
Saturday 11 December 2010
Obviously we lost our unbeaten run last night against Watford and, in truth, it could have been 10-1 not 3-1 but for Paddy Kenny.
The run was bound to end at some time, I'd never have believed we'd go this far without losing: the big disappointment is the way we lost it. We never gave up, but too many players had bad days.
Watford were better than us, but if a couple of key decisons had gone the other way it could have been a different game. In the opening minutes, with the referee in a superb position, John Eustace got away with knocking the ball off Clint Hill's head at a corner with his hand. Then after half-time, when we had changed a few things and gone out ready to get back into the game, the linesman missed the fact that the scorer of their third goal was offside. On another day we would have been 1-0 up from a penalty, or just a goal down and with momentum and 40 minutes to play. As it was there was too little time left when we finally scored.
But all credit to Watford. They broke well and made our centre-halves look like amateurs at times.
Afterwards I told the lads not to dwell on it but to move on. They have done brilliantly this season. It's their Christmas party tonight. I told them "don't think about this result, take the league table with you and enjoy yourselves".
That's twice we have been on TV this season and not performed. I might get the 'flu when we go to Coventry on the 28th for our next televised game.
2. Now I can keep my legs warm and put on some long johns
The one good thing about last night's result is that I can put trousers and long johns on for the winter. Thank goodness. It wasn't too bad last night, though I did think about wrapping one of those snoods round me.
It does make me laugh, these comments from journalists criticising players for wearing things like that. Have a look at the press box during a game today and see all the layers and accessories they are wearing.
3. Well done to Spurs, they've done great so far this year
The achievement of the week was Spurs topping a tough group in Europe. Their season-ticket holders are getting great value for money this year.
Spurs are like Barry Fry's Barnet were – if the opposition score three, Tottenham are likely to score four. Harry must think the best form of defence is attack and they do look like scoring every time the ball goes forward, so I can't see that attitude changing with all the injuries they have. I remember saying to him after they beat Internazionale, "When I saw you had Lennon and Bale wide, Modric and Huddlestone in midfield, I thought 'how will you defend against Inter? Who will pick up the runners?'" I think his reply was something like, "That's how we felt, so we thought we would attack."
4. Hughton sacking shows owners want to be managers
I wasn't shocked in the slightest by Chris Hughton's sacking by Newcastle. Only a couple of weeks ago on Talksport I said that I didn't expect him to be given a new contract. When asked why, I said, "He got Newcastle straight back up when the ship was rudderless and a lot of people thought they would do a Leeds and go down. He got 100 points to win the Championship. He took Newcastle to 11th in the Premier League. He won at Everton and Arsenal and thrashed Sunderland 5-1. When he wasn't offered a new contract after all that it was obvious they wanted someone else."
But Chris can hold his head up high – the way he has handled the situation has been fantastic. I know he has loved every minute. He's told me there's a lot of good people behind the scenes he has really enjoyed working with. It was impossible for him to do any more in the financial climate and I'll be interested to see how Newcastle progress in the next few years.
As always in management, bad news for one man was good news for another. Alan Pardew deserves an opportunity like this because I didn't think he was treated well at Southampton, West Ham or Charlton. Alan is a good manager, and he'll need to be. He doesn't just need a good start, he needs a bit of luck as well. We all do.
A good start will be hard to achieve as he has some tough fixtures coming up. You'd have thought if they were going to get rid of Chris they would have waited until after these games, but maybe they feared he would win some of them, making it even harder to sack him. I see Mike Ashley intends to run the club like his business, which is selling discount sportswear. Does that mean the players will now be running out with stickers on their backs saying "bargain", "two for one", "sale"?
5. Players freeze in the TV cameras' spotlight
I tuned into FC United against Brighton in midweek. It can only have been because the TV cameras were there that they played. I lost count of the number of times people tried to cross a ball, slipped and flew into the advertising boards. All I could think was, "I hope for the referee's sake there is no serious injury."
Brighton are desperate to get back into the Championship and can't afford any injuries. United's players are part-time and risked being off work injured. The attitude of the players was superb, but there's no way I would want to play under those conditions and risk losing one of my best players.
6. Children are achieving on the pitch, and expectant off it
There was good news on the sporting front in the family this week when Amy scored twice in a hockey tournament and William came on as a sub for the under-10s rugby team and scored a try. Unfortunately, I didn't see it as we were training, but I saw the beaming smile on his face when I picked him up and the teacher said, "You have to tell your dad about that try." We got in the car and rung up big brother James. He was pleased to hear from us as he has been pacing up and down for a few days as his wife is expecting my first grandchild. I hope next week's column is a positive one. Poor Sarah fell down the last stair as she was going downstairs and ended up in hospital having a cast put on a broken ankle. We're all crossing fingers.
7. Empty parking spaces eventually get filled
We've been using a local car park when parking in Richmond since March. On the floor nearest the exit there is one complete side of disabled parking. We've never seen one of those positions filled. Whichever one of us is in the car we always turn the corner and check and, as always, if it's empty we give a little ironic cheer. Can you imagine the joy on our faces when we went in this week and to our shock there was a little car in the far end space? After we parked, we had to go and check if there was a disabled badge on it. There was. Whoever it was, thanks for making our day. I have no problem with spaces being set aside for people who are disabled, but am I being overly critical when I ask why there have to be so many when they are obviously not being used?
8. Fat chance of getting me in a small space with Wally
Keith Curle came in on Monday and asked if I'd seen an article in a downmarket Sunday paper. Apparently an old friend of mine, Wally Downes, who's suddenly pitched up at West Ham, said he wouldn't want to be in a room with me because he wouldn't be able to catch me. He'd want to be in a telephone box so I couldn't get away. Let me tell all my readers, you wouldn't get us both in a telephone box unless it was Dr Who's tardis. Have you seen the size of him recently? I'll be looking forward to seeing how their defence get on today against Manchester City.
9. Ashes success would be more fun if we had Aussies at QPR
What a great start to the Ashes. Haven't we waited years to bash the Aussies? Their cricket team has humiliated us over the years and they have loved every minute so it is great to turn the tables. I just had to stop up to see the final session. I kept thinking they were going to get away with it, and they were only 90 minutes away from being saved by the rain. The only disappointment was Stuart Broad's injury. It's a real gut-wrencher in more ways than one that he's injured, but I'm sure he'll bounce back. There is one other disappointment – we don't have any Aussie players at QPR. If only it had happened while Nick Carle was playing for me at Palace. Perhaps we can get him in on loan.
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