Neil Warnock: 'Sharon and I were hugging and screaming for ages, as you do at 57'
The Sheffield United manager will use a breathalyser in training today after a day of torment as his team reached the Premiership
Monday 17 April 2006
Let me explain. Our hard-earned win at Cardiff on Friday afternoon meant we would be promoted if Watford failed to win on Friday night, and Leeds failed to do so on Saturday afternoon. Well, I drove down to a place I've got in Cornwall while Watford were playing at Wolves. There wasn't commentary so I had to rely on updates and it was a bit nerve-racking. Every time they went back to Molineux you feared the worst. And in the end I heard the news not from the radio but from an old mate of mine, the Plymouth groundsman, when he rang me.
After that I decided I wouldn't follow Leeds' game, just get a few jobs done. So I did a bit of work on my tractor. I didn't hear any scores until half-four when I came into the kitchen and Sharon said: "Leeds are winning 1-0, I'm sorry to say".
We sat down with a cup of tea and a biscuit to watch Sky's Soccer Saturday with the radio on, crossing fingers, just wanting it to be over. I took my blood pressure. It was above normal. Then Jeff Stelling said: "There's been a goal at Elland Road." Did he go straight over? Did he heck. He made a right meal of it, saying: "Is it a goal which will help Sheffield United, or isn't it?" He went on and on, with my blood pressure going up all the time. It's normally 130 over 80 - by the time they finally went across it was 144 over 113.
We saw "1-1" on the screen and Sharon and I just jumped up and down, hugging and screaming for ages, as you do at 57 years of age. We then had to wait the longest five minutes I can remember. It dragged on and on. All the results were coming in except Leeds. Then it did and pandemonium ensued.
Within minutes the telephone went, the buzzer went. Within half-an-hour we had three TV crews on our doorstep and newspaper photographers. I've never opened so many bottles of champagne without drinking much. Then came the phone calls and texts from my players who'd been together, and from other managers, which you really appreciate.
It was an emotional time and I was really pleased I was with Sharon. It's been a tough season and she's lived it with me, especially these last few months when everyone has been questioning whether we had the bottle, and one or two other things. It was so nice when she turned and said to me: "So how's it feel to be a Premiership manager?" It must have been a great birthday present for Amy, who's eight - going on 18 - today. Though I expect she'll want something else as well!
You're always looking to improve your team,but I don't want to think about that now.
No doubt once it's sunk in I'll get around to realising I've a long summer ahead. I've already planned to go abroad and take in games Wednesday and Thursday and the rest of my staff will be all over the show as well.
But first we have to play Leeds tomorrow. It'll be a day of celebration but it's also a local derby and we want to give a good account of ourselves. So I'll have the breathalyser out at training this morning. To judge from those slurred messages I received on my answerphone it might be busy.
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