Neil Warnock: Trophy helps Will get over our drubbing – now I need a kiss from Adel

What I Learnt This Week
Click to follow
The Independent Football

There are many perks for a boy having a football manager as a father, but sometimes it is difficult.

William struggled at school for a few days with some lads ribbing him about our 6-0 defeat to Fulham. The year seven lads, the year above him, constantly reminded him at break time that his dad would be getting the sack. It is something he has to live with I'm afraid, the nature of the game I'm in. Kids can be cruel and it is all part of growing up, though it is difficult when you're 10. Still, a bad week ended well with his school team winning a tournament, having gone undefeated throughout.

Adults are different. I have a good friend who is a season-ticket holder with his sons at Fulham. He said he didn't speak to me straight away as he didn't want to appear as if he was gloating. I said if it had been the other way round I'd have been ringing him, make no mistake. As it was I invited him to join us for a concert at the O2 to see Johnny Mathis.

When I asked Natalie, my eldest daughter, to babysit as we were at Johnny Mathis the words "who's he?" came forth. It reminded me of match day when I go in the dressing room before a game and the players have all their head-banging music on. I usually ask: "Who's chosen the 'music' today?" Then say to them: "I can really imagine everyone singing this song in 50 years, running around like a headless chicken banging their head against a wall." I'm not envious of today's music. At Johnny Mathis I could hear every word that he sang, and for that I really appreciated the evening.

I have to admit I was quite happy international week meant I did not have a column last Saturday, which enabled me to keep a low profile. If you're not right defensively you will get a few drubbings in the Premier League and I do envy clubs that have not had injuries in their back four. That's where the squad comes in. The bench is usually the benchmark for how well you will do and we're still building ours up because we've come a long way very quickly. I think the fans appreciate that. The highlight of the game for me was that at 6-0 down the fans were chanting my name. I can't see that happening very often anywhere, to be honest. They understand we are still a work in progress.

In the aftermath of the game Adel Taarabt had a few mentions for his bus stop escapade. I could understand what he did in a way, having come off at half-time and got changed. If you've ever been in the away dressing room at Fulham you'd appreciate it's not a place to sit for 45 minutes when you've gone 3-0 down at half-time. Nor would you want to walk past all the fans behind the goal, and halfway along the side, to reach the dugout.

But I have told him that these things can get out of hand. On Monday morning I was surprised to hear claims he'd been seen in a pub with a pint in his hand. Adel would never have a drink because of his religion. It could have been worse. They could have claimed he had a girl on each arm and a cigar.

I think Adel knows what he did was wrong and we move on. He's also supposed to have said, while in Morocco last week, he wants to leave in January for more money. I've spoken to Adel and he said he never said that so it might be another example of a rogue "source", or something getting lost in translation. It's only two months since he said he'd never play for Morocco again. This week he not only played, he scored. He then hugged and kissed the manager. I told him I wouldn't mind him doing that to me today, as he's not scored yet this season.

Adel wasn't our farthest-flung player this week. Armand Traoré had to go all the way to Mauritius to play for Senegal. They were both back for training on Thursday but they have done a lot of travelling.

2. Did 'Jonah' Amy halt the Pilgrims' progress?

I took my mind off Fulham with a trip to the West Country, though I didn't exactly take a break from football as I went to Home Park, where Plymouth Argyle were celebrating their 125th anniversary. They marked it with a tremendous programme, it was like an encyclopaedia, one for any collector.

I had a great time as manager and would like to show my support at a very difficult time for the club. It's a fantastic part of the country and it is such a shame to see the situation Argyle are in. I met James Brent and his family who are, hopefully, taking over in the next few days and was pleased to see they appear to be the right people to save the club and take it forward. I do hope they stay in the League. It's so important for the local community.

The example of another of my old clubs, Scarborough, is frightening. I drove past Seamer Road a while ago and part of it was being bulldozed and there were weeds 10-foot high. How sad. I did fear for Plymouth's future so I'll be so delighted when the takeover goes through and wish James Brent, and Carl Fletcher, who played for me at Crystal Palace and is caretaker-manager there at present, well.

I thought I had brought them luck as at half-time they were winning 2-0 and Accrington Stanley had their goalkeeper sent off. Then Amy turned up. She had been shopping with friends and got to the ground late. It did not go unnoticed that Accrington scored two goals in the second half and could have won with 10 men. I think the word "Jonah" was used, then Amy said, "I've never seen Plymouth win," which wasn't the right thing to say.

I went shopping myself with Amy at Looe on the Sunday and it was just like walking around the shops with Sharon. They are even beginning to look for the same clothes, which I'm not sure Sharon is thrilled about. I bought Amy a cardigan, then got a scarf for Sharon and Amy said, "If mum doesn't like it, can I have it?"

3. Ayre is wrong – fans like a bit of giant-killing

Our match against Blackburn is billed as a big game for Steve Kean, but it is important for both teams as we want to bounce back after the 6-0. You only have to look at their team sheet to see it'll be a difficult game and it won't get any easier as we then play Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester City.

All those matches are being televised live. After Fulham I expect the TV companies would like to see a goal rush but I'd like to think they are also hoping for an upset, because that's one reason people watch the Premier League round the world. Sometimes the big teams do lose against the alleged lesser ones, which is why I think Ian Ayre was wrong to say people are only interested in watching the big clubs. I know Barcelona and Real Madrid play pretty football, but it is just a show most weeks, there's no drama.

4. Double act with Mick works well at Emirates

I went to a League Managers' Association sponsors dinner on Thursday at the Emirates. It is an amazing stadium. I was intrigued by the sight of the sunlamps on the pitch at night time. Mick McCarthy and I sang for our suppers on stage and it was, I hope, an entertaining evening for everyone.

5. Rooney ban is harsh but take him to Euros

What a massive blow for the country Wayne Rooney's ban is. I bet Capello is kicking himself for not leaving him out, given what happened the day before with Rooney's dad. But it's easy to be right after the event and he did make the goals. I still think we have got to take him to Poland. Three games is harsh, especially as he accepted the red card straight away, though in the League it would be three games. I thought Uefa might have been more receptive but England don't get many favours from governing bodies.

6. Marathon man who took bus tickled me pink

I did love the tale of the man who jumped on a bus in a marathon and came third. The expression on the face of the bloke who came fourth was a picture. He couldn't believe it – it turned out he was right not to.

Comments