Two of my players have been in the news this week for the wrong reasons. Alan Quinn was fined after admitting being involved in a fight in a Sheffield pub used by Wednesdayites and Paddy Kenny had his eyebrow bitten off after a late-night dust-up in a Halifax takeaway.
These things happen for managers, but I'd prefer they didn't and I hope the players learn. They've been a bit thick. Quinn's an ex-Wednesday player, he goes into a Wednesday pub, has problems, and wonders why!
As for Paddy, I've told him not to go out in Halifax. It's not that Halifax is a terrible place, it's that he's from there so there'll always be people looking out for him and he always gets himself into trouble. He shouldn't put himself in that position. Another inch or so he could have lost his career; that's how stupid he was. All for a few drinks with so-called mates.
Paddy's had problems with his marriage and he's coped great with that, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. By the look of the photographs he was also with someone who was hungrier than he was.
I won't be having a close look at the infamous eyebrow until we get in the dressing-room for today's game. I've left him alone to stew though Andy Leaning, my goalkeeping coach, tells me he's been training well. It won't make him any uglier, but with a bit of luck it might frighten Wayne Rooney or any other Manchester United forward bearing down on him.
Players don't realise how much in the limelight they are now, especially in the Premiership. I think twice when people ask to have a photograph taken with me, especially blondes.
2. Alex has that twinkle in his eyes
I'd rather the attention was on today's match than players fighting. It's the best game since I've been at the club. I remember saying to Kevin McCabe, our chairman, "imagine if we could play Manchester United in the League here". It seemed light years away. He said: "Just keep us in this division first."
We've been developing a new generation of fans and many of them will never have seen Manchester United in the flesh. Today they can look across at Ronaldo, Saha, Rooney, Giggs, Scholes and the rest. As a Blades fan I'm looking forward to it, and as a manager I'm looking forward to pitting my wits against Sir Alex. I've noticed he has that twinkle in the eye again this season. But he'll have to pack it up soon. Under the rules he can't manage after 2010 without taking an exam, nor me. Come 2010 I wouldn't like to be the person that tells him. But what do we know after all?
I would like to remind Alex he is playing Celtic and Chelsea in the next week, two major games. I think he should rest at least three or four against us.
3. Kazim-Richards has repaid my faith
Everybody's been talking about Colin Kazim-Richards' goal last week. We signed him on deadline day from Brighton when no one else was interested probably because he had a bit of baggage. People told me he caused unrest in the dressing-room, that he was arrogant. He is a little bit but under that facade he's a nice lad. He's also got ability and an athlete's lungs.
When he signed we had a heart-to-heart. I told him no one else wants you, you are the luckiest man alive that we do. If you sign you have to repay me and the rest of the lads. I said I'd watch him in every training session and if he lowered his standard I wouldn't accept it. He's trained very hard and it's been nice for him to be accepted by the players. You can fool some people at a club, but not the players.
After the goal you may have seen me going mental on the sidelines. I just wanted one or two of them to remember to use their head, we're at our most vulnerable when we've just scored, especially when we've scored two in three minutes. Eventually Chris Morgan acknowledged me.
4. There's a moral in Dowie's departure
I see Iain Dowie has become the first managerial casualty of the Premiership. I think the moral of the story is "be careful who's behind you".
Another manager, Steve McClaren, had a better week. I'm pleased for Steve. I do think the England manager gets more stick than anybody. I'm sure he knows he made a mistake in the last game but we've got to get behind him and hope we qualify - which is not as straightforward as he thinks.
5. We're all dressed up, with nowhere to go
I was all dressed up on Thursday ready to go out to a dinner at Coghlan's, a local restaurant, and trying to keep out of reach of William who'd come in from football training covered in mud, even his nose. Then I had another look at the invite. It said "Wednesday, 4pm-7pm". This was 7pm Thursday. Sharon blamed me for getting the day wrong. I pointed out she'd got the time wrong. The babysitter had just arrived. If it had been a football match you'd have said we started badly, then fell away.
I hope my planning is better for Manchester United. When is it again? Three pm, today. Mustn't forget.Reuse content