Neil Warnock: Takeover of Leeds has gone on too long – and it's paralysing us
What I Learnt This Week
I was pleased to see Wilfried Zaha get a run. I hope he commits himself to England now. I'll get the chance to assess his progress from my time at Selhurst Park next week when we play Palace.
As everyone knows, we are in the throes of a takeover which seems to have dragged on longer than Coronation Street. I know these things are intricate and, not being a legal person, I'm not up to date with everything that needs to be done, but I just wish we could get it finished.
As I found at QPR, a club in the process of a takeover is paralysed. The current owner understandably doesn't want to spend money when he is selling – it would be like adding an extension while your house is on the market. But the buyers obviously don't want to invest until they know they will be the new owners. Which leaves me trying to make do with a threadbare squad that is racked by injuries and suspensions. We have done well to stay within seven points of the play-off places, but we haven't won for six matches and the gap is getting bigger by the game.
Tomorrow we are at Millwall, who are nine games unbeaten and have won three of the last four. That is the first of a tough set of fixtures against teams in form, topped off with Chelsea in the Capital One Cup. I bet the European champions are quaking in their boots.
The loan market shuts on Thursday – it will not reopen until January – and I am desperately trying to bring players in to strengthen, but it is very difficult given our circumstances. Which is why, like our fans, I am finding the delays over the takeover frustrating to say the least. What has kept me going is the supporters. I have never experienced such a quantity of support and their backing has been unstinting in difficult times.
The one good piece of news – if you can call it that – is that Rodolph Austin's leg-break is not as bad as feared last Saturday. I was told it was a double leg-break and felt physically sick all second half. Fortunately it is not so devastating and he should be back in eight weeks.
Rudy's injury was the worst part of a miserable Saturday. Having made one substitution when Jason Pearce was sent off, I decided to make two more at half-time as it was only 1-0 to Watford and I thought we could win it. I rarely make all my changes early, so it was Sod's Law when a few minutes later Rudy was carried off and we were down to nine men.
While I can't take anything away from Watford, we were a bit naïve. I can't fault the players for effort but three of their goals came from counter-attacks. At one stage four of our eight outfielders were in their six-yard box in open play.
2. Scots job's not for me
I would like to apologise to anyone who has put a bet on me becoming the next Scotland manager. Apparently there was a rush of money backing me for the job in midweek – enough, I'm told, for Ladbrokes to price me at 5-1 on Wednesday and Corals to cut their odds to 3-1 on Thursday. Sorry to disappoint both of my fans in the Tartan Army, but there appears to have been a misunderstanding. I went up to Scotland on Sunday to take in a game and, while there, filled up with petrol. It seems someone spotted me, put two and two together, and came up with five. I have not been in contact whatsoever with the SFA. That said, I don't think it is an impossible job by any means and I'm sure Gordon Strachan, or whoever it is who takes it, will relish the opportunity.
3. Rangers' strange joy
While I was north of the border I had an interesting chat with some good friends of mine who are Rangers fans. To my surprise, they were saying being relegated to the Third Division was the best thing to have happened to them in years. One of them was a season-ticket holder who has not missed a game this season home or away and he said he had never enjoyed himself so much going to football.
He told me: "It's just like going back to the late 70s and early 80s when they were all honest footballers with no foreigners going down as if they'd been shot by a sniper. Some of the lads playing against us may have limited ability but they are giving absolutely everything. For them to play at Ibrox is fantastic – these are blokes who are council workers, farmers and mechanics. I'm really enjoying it." He's obviously not alone as Rangers had 48,000 at the last home game.
It has also been an absolute blessing for clubs like East Stirling to have Rangers in their division. A home game against Rangers is like getting two years' revenue in one day. Times that by two, as they play home and away twice in that division, and you can see all the little clubs will get four years' income just by Rangers being in the division. You can imagine everyone in the Second Division is rubbing their hands together and are desperate not to go down as Rangers come up and so miss out on the windfall. And think how lucky the team that goes up with Rangers will be – they will enjoy the Rangers effect two years on the trot.
The Rangers' chief executive, Charlie Green, is an ex-player of mine. I signed him from Goole Town for my first club, Gainsborough Trinity. He was a skinny little forward with his socks rolled down and long hair over his shoulders. He could score goals but he didn't want to run about much. He was a likeable rogue in those days and I was intrigued when he turned up as Rangers' saviour. He certainly seems to have fallen on his feet.
I would imagine it was a hell of a deal to get Rangers for the price they did after the club went into administration, but I bet even they have been surprised at the response. I imagine they planned to sell on fairly quickly but with things going so well they might keep hold of it longer than they anticipated.
4. Taarabt's a threat
My old team QPR should get their first win of the season today against Southampton. The fans deserve that for their patience. I read with interest Mark Hughes's comments about how Adel Taarabt is more responsible this season as he is not indulged by the management. It didn't look that way when Adel tried to chip the goalkeeper when he was though on goal at Stoke last week. If he'd scored then, QPR could have got their first away win since I took them to Stoke a year ago this weekend. I expect Mark will still pick Adel today as despite all the new signings he is still their most potent threat.
5. Zlatan the mighty
What can you say about Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal that's not been said? It was as good as I've seen and came out of nowhere. Despite the defeat, I enjoyed watching England – mainly because the youngsters, and an "old youngster" in Leon Osman, did really well.
6. Defeats in the family
After we lost 6-1 on Saturday, William cheered me up no end when he told me his team lost 10-5. I know it's the same goal difference but we had the excuse we were two men short. He held his hand up and agreed in the circumstances we'd got the better result.
Amy went to a concert this week, singer-songwriter Ben Howard. They arrived at four for a 7.30 start and were rewarded by getting right to the front of the stage. She said it was amazing and he actually broke down and cried during one of the songs as he comes from Devon, from Totnes, which is a beautiful town. Amy said even I would enjoy his songs. I don't know what she meant by that but I'll have to brush up on his records to find out.
Sharon's been baking for a school charity cake sale. I do miss putting my finger round the mixing bowl when she's finished – it's not just kids who do that. I'll have to ask her to put a cake in the post for me. After last week I could do with some cheering up.
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