Neil Warnock: Simon talked me out of quitting – and despite our so-called crisis, I'm glad he did

What I Learnt This Week

Well, that was a better week. What a response from everyone at the club to going into administration this week. Two wins and two terrific occasions at Selhurst Park.

Last Saturday we played Peter-borough in our first home game since it happened. The noise was unreal and the standing ovation at the end for the players and myself was incredibly emotional.

Tuesday's FA Cup replay against Wolverhampton was something special. The game came 24 hours after the transfer deadline and to say it had been a traumatic build-up would be an understatement. Victor Moses' departure to Wigan for £2.5m was confirmed but the administrator made it clear he would like extra sales. Nathaniel Clyne was given permission to talk to Wolves after they had agreed a £700,000 fee. I told the administrator I thought the figure was a third of what Nathaniel is worth and although I can't blame Jez Moxey, Wolves' chief executive, for offering such laughable figure. At least it was more realistic than the £1.5m he had offered for Victor and Nathaniel.

Fortunately, Nathaniel is managed by a member of his family, who put the player's future ahead of his own payday. I think the majority of agents who "look after" my players would have thought only of their commission, and persuaded Nathaniel to go. Instead, Nathaniel's agent realised that he really needs to play games at this level to improve. You only have to look at Kyle Naughton, who went from Sheffield United to Spurs for £6m in the summer, and now he is being loaned to Middlesbrough for the rest of season after barely kicking a ball in anger; or look at John Bostock, who left us for the high life at Tottenham, and ended up being a sub on loan at Brentford. It's not rocket science to say Nathaniel's better off getting another 50 to 100 games under his belt before he makes the transition to the Premier League, which I am convinced he will. When I look at Ashley Cole, who's the best full-back in the country, I think this lad can be as good, and potentially he's a better defender.

So the administrator was not happy but the ironic thing is we'll make nearly as money from Clyne staying, and we've still got the player. If he had gone to Wolves I would have had to play Danny Butterfield at right-back against Wolves. As you must know, Danny played in attack and wrote his name into Crystal Palace history after scoring the club's quickest hat-trick, six minutes and 48 seconds. Just unbelievable. That win earned us £90,000 in prize- money, plus £250,000 in fees as the fifth-round tie against Aston Villa is live on ITV. Add the gate receipts from that game and programme sales, burgers and so on, and we're well past half-a-million. Now we just need to take Villa to a replay.

You might ask why I played Butterfield in attack, after he's played all his career at right-back and, I'm told, scored seven goals in 250-odd games. I decided to play him on the right wing against Newcastle 10 days ago as I feel Jose Enrique, their left-back, is their best forward. Fortunately, he pulled his hamstring after 25 minutes and it gave Danny a bit more freedom and he used it well, even if he did miss a sitter. I kept him there against Peterborough and he missed another sitter, so persevering with him did take a little bit of faith. Especially so as when I told Mick Jones and Keith Curle I was going to play Danny up front they both thought I was casting myself for a role in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest. You can imagine the satisfaction and glee I had telling them "I told you so" after the game.

Of course, I knew it would happen. On Saturday I told Neil Danns before the game: "I think you'll score today." He scored two. Before Wolves I said to Danny: "You'll score today'. He got three. I'm hoping the one I pull aside today will get four, but that may be asking a lot.

William was almost as pleased at Danny's hat-trick as me. He was at home and had been sent to bed early as he had a school trip the following morning. He was fast asleep when Sharon woke him up, saying: "Quick, Butterfield's got a hat-trick, come downstairs and watch." He thought all his birthdays had come at once, being allowed to watch football on TV at that time of night.

I don't know if Martin O'Neill was as delighted. He was at the game and I'm not sure whether he'd have preferred a local derby at Wolves to making the horrible trek through south London traffic to Selhurst.

2. I had a joke sent to me from one of the lads which I just have to share.

Neil Warnock, Arsène Wenger, Rafael Benitez and Alex Ferguson are in the pub. Warnock gets a round in; Wenger gets the next round, then Benitez, then Ferguson. Then Warnock goes to the bar, buys himself a pint, and sits down. Wenger, Ferguson and Benitez ask him what the hell is going on. Warnock replies: "This is the fifth round, lads, and you're not in it!"

3. Scunthorpe nearly made me pack it all in

The Villa game is fantastic to look forward to, but first we have to make sure we keep going in the league, at Scunthorpe today and at home to Swansea on Tuesday. I'm still getting used to the fact we're in a relegation battle after having 10 points deducted. In the week I was looking for the results of Sheffield United and Blackpool, then realised I should be worrying about Reading and Plymouth.

Scunthorpe beat us 4-0 early on in the season at Selhurst. It was one of the worst days of my career – and I've had some bad ones. It is the only time since I've been here, including the administration situation, that I thought about leaving. If Simon [Jordan] hadn't been chairman I think I'd have walked out that night, I was so disappointed with the defeat and the manner of it. Simon spent an hour and a half with me that night talking me out of it in our tiny kit room.

He did such a good job the following morning I was raring to go. We were playing West Bromwich away in our next game, a frightening thought after such a defeat, especially as Albion had won 5-0 at Middlesbrough the same day, but I thought the best way to show I was still in there fighting was to go to The Hawthorns and beat them.

It was an international break so we had two weeks to plan how to play. For the first time ever I told the players 10 days before what the team was going to be and how we were going to beat West Brom. You can imagine the satisfaction I got from going there and beating them 1-0.

4. Merchants of doom are not welcome here

Simon was not at the match on Wednesday but he rang me beforehand to wish me luck. Only I know what he has had to go through in the last 18 months and I wouldn't have wished it on my worst enemy. I still can't understand why the club was put into administration when it was. It makes no sense and leaves a bitter taste. At my age, when you have an opportunity of making the play-offs, it is a major blow to lose it but I've not allowed the players to feel gloomy, I've said all along the glass is half-full, not half-empty. The lads have been superb but if you give players an excuse many will take it.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
A bartender serves beers
news
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig and Rory Kinnear film Spectre in London
film
Life and Style
The finale at Dolce and Gabbana autumn/winter 2015
fashion
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

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
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?