Neil Warnock: Rafa Benitez claims he wasn't hurt but that reception was uniquely hostile

What I Learnt This Week: It’s obvious Chelsea fans are not going to forgive Benitez for past comments

A couple of times I've arrived at a club to a muted welcome, and after a while at Bury the fans made it clear they wanted me out, but I've never experienced a reception like the one Rafa Benitez received at Chelsea last weekend. In fact, I think it must be unique.

I don't think Roman Abramovich appreciated the depth of Chelsea supporters' feelings. It is obvious to everyone in the country that they are not going to forgive Rafa for comments he's made in the past.

A friend of mine who went to the game said it was much worse than the coverage on TV suggested, really loud and hostile all the way around. I know Rafa is saying it doesn't hurt but I'll tell you, when you have just joined a club you don't want the fans against you like that. I'm sure he couldn't have enjoyed it at all and an atmosphere like that is going to make it more difficult for the players. But from Benitez's point of view he has to be thinking it is worth all the hassle to get a job which is one of the best in the country. He is working with a squad as good as any in the country and that sort of opportunity does not come too often.

I'm sure one of the selling points of Rafa is that he knows how to get the best out of Roman Abramovich's favourite player and it will be interesting to see how Fernando Torres gets on. I hope it takes a few weeks to get him back to his best as we play them on 19 December! I'm expecting Rafa to play a strong team as he'll be wanting to win the League Cup to enhance his chances of a longer contract.

The other new manager, Harry Redknapp, will get a much warmer welcome at Loftus Road today. He made a good start at my old club with that draw at Sunderland – away points have been hard to come by for them – and today's game against Aston Villa gives him a real opportunity to pick up that first win. It can be a very intimidating ground when the fans are rocking behind the team and manager and I think Rangers can get the result.

2. New men give us a lift

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday morning we'd not won in seven and I was wondering where the next point or goal was coming from, a feeling all managers have had. Then I managed to sign two new players and we beat possibly the best two teams in the league in the space of four days: Crystal Palace and Leicester City. It was hard work getting Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas in but the results show what a lift new players can provide.

It's an early start for us today, a 12.30 kick-off for our Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield. We'd better get used to it as the police have moved four of our home games to 12.30 – against Cardiff, Millwall, Sheffield Wednesday and the return with Huddersfield. I think we'll be playing at breakfast time soon - Eamonn Holmes could commentate.

I do think, in these high-profile games, early kick-offs make sense. It makes preparation a little more difficult for the players, as they have to get up earlier to have their pre-match meal earlier, but personally it is better for me as I don't have to think about the game so much; I'm up and off. With a 3pm kick-off the worst time is 10.30am to 1pm; that is when I get the nerves, and I don't eat from 10am to 6pm. I just can't. An early kick-off eliminates all that.

I've been looking forward to going back to Huddersfield. I was manager when the club moved from Leeds Road to the new stadium and it contributed to us getting promotion. The previous season I would take potential signings along there, we'd sit at the back of the half-built stand with our hard hats on and I'd tell them: "How would you like to play here?" Then when it opened the average crowd went up 100 per cent. A lot of the old-timers had said, 'It'll never be the same as Leeds Road", but the design was lovely, the facilities were great, and we had lots more women and children coming. It showed me new grounds were the way forward.

A number of the admin staff are still there from my day, which says a lot about the club. Town have done brilliant this year; they really pushed the boat out to give it their best shot and they are above us and doing well.

I'll be hoping for a win bonus to go towards my latest FA fine. I still can't believe how me telling a player not to shake the ref's hand warrants an FA charge and £2,000 fine. Surely I'm entitled to tell my players that?

I would have expected better from a referee of Mark Halsey's standing than to make such a fuss.

3. A great sporting year

What an outstanding line-up for Sports Personality of the Year. Bradley Wiggins is favourite but there are so many other good contenders. For such a small island it's been a year of great sporting achievement. It shows the standard when you think Greg Rusedski won it after being runner-up in the US Open – Andy Murray not only won in New York, he also got Olympic gold, but he might not be in the top three.

Talking of television, on Tuesday night, after watching the Champions League games, I'll be turning over to ITV 4 to watch a programme about Fabrice Muamba which is part of a series called Sports Life Stories. I'm told it is well worth watching. Tune in at 10pm.

4. KP in Cook's recipe

I'm also looking forward to watching the cricket when the next Test starts in India. The last one proved there really is no substitute for talent. Watching Kevin Pietersen against the spinners was like watching a living work of art. It has got to be one of the best innings ever played to win a Test in the subcontinent. I'm a massive fan of Captain Cook, if you'll excuse the pun. I think he will be our captain for years to come. Cook showed his suitability for the job by bringing back KP. It was the right thing to do. We need players like that, it is up to the captain and coach to handle him within the team environment.

5. At least the hens laid

Sharon's had a bad week. She wants me to tell you all when you watch that John Lewis advert in which that snowman walks miles to find the perfect present for his snow-woman, the true meaning of the ad is that if you want something from John Lewis go and get it, don't order off the internet.

She stayed in all day this week waiting for a delivery which never came. She rang the call centre to be told it would definitely come the following day, but they still couldn't guarantee a time. So the next night can you imagine the smoke coming out of her ears as 6pm came and went?

Amy went to a party last weekend and the following morning she couldn't move her legs as she had been dancing so long. Unfortunately she then had to run for the bus home. Now she has blisters everywhere. It might have something to do with her shoes.

The only pieces of good news are that the hens must like the wind and rain – they've laid seven eggs this week – and William's school team won their first rugby game this term. It was also the final game of term so it was a momentous occasion. You know the saying, "you're only as good as your last game" – so they can say they're winners.

6. Now I'm 64

It's my birthday today. I've already had my first present from my grandson Charlie, who is two in a couple of weeks. He insisted on helping Grandpa rip the package open and we uncovered a lovely mug with his handprints on them in psychedelic paint, which I'm assured he did all on his own.

I also received a five-disc Tamla Motown set which the lads will be hearing over the next few weeks when doing their workout after training, as when I do my workout I always put my own music on. You can see some of the young ones wince.

I remember when I was younger I used to sing that Beatles song, "When I'm 64", and think that's light years away for me – I was 18 when it came out. Now here I am.

No wonder you don't celebrate birthdays after a certain age. I was asked at the press conference what I wanted. I think they all expected me to say "three points", but all I want is good health and happiness. They are the most important things now.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
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

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam