Neil Warnock: What I've Learnt This Week

1. The transfer window system is an absurd and pathetic joke that doesn't make me laugh
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The Independent Football

The transfer market is hotting up and Harry Redknapp has been warming up before today's game making his first £2m-plus signing in Djimi Traoré. I'm pleased with my two, Matthew Kilgallon and Jon Stead. They are both 23-year-old English lads with a lot to prove, so they both fit into our criteria and fit into the squad. Already I can tell they are good acquisitions. I was a bit disappointed when we presented them to the press; everyone wanted to talk to Jon about his "disastrous" period with Blackburn. I said: "What? Saving Blackburn on his own?" The press always look on the black side and don't give people enough credit. And it's not just about his goals, he gives a lot to the team whether he's scoring or not. In today's squad system you need players like that around.

I'm still hoping to bring another couple in next week, one from abroad probably, as I try and improve the squad for the run-in. There's only 18 shopping days left before this ludicrous window shuts. It's an absolutely pathetic way to run a football industry. I don't see who it benefits other than the top teams who can carry large squads.

One of the daftest aspects is you cannot loan a goalie in the window, if you need a keeper you have to buy one. I've only got one fit goalkeeper but to get cover I have to buy someone, or bring in someone who's non-contract. And if they haven't got a contract it shows how good they'd be. I could have five keepers and if they were all injured I'd have to buy a sixth. Is that absurd or what? It's a bloody joke.

2. William is wheeling and dealing like Harry

There's no respite from all this negotiating for players, even when I get home, turn off the phone, and try and relax with the family. William has started collecting these football cards, called Shoot Out. Now everything we do with him, a chore or anything, he negotiates how many cards it's worth. I even had to take eight of his cards along to the Arsenal game and ask the kitman, Vic Akers, if he could get them signed. How many Premiership managers can you see asking for that? Vic sent them back all autographed; thanks, Vic.

No doubt today William will present me with a full page of Portsmouth cards. Knowing Harry, by the time he turns up with his team there will only be six or seven of them left.

William and his mates swap cards at school. I keep telling him he's got it easy, he doesn't have to worry about a transfer window, or about balancing his squad. He's got a lot of the Sheffield United ones and he won't swap them, even the players I've had to let go. That is one of the disappointing things about being a manager at this time, losing players like David Unsworth, Paul Ifill and Ade Akinbayi. They all contributed to us going up, but you can't keep players happy that aren't playing regularly. I'm pleased they all got moves they wanted.

3. Liverpool can be at their best in adversity

Arsenal's result at Anfield the other night, the 6-3, made me think what a good result ours was when we beat Arsenal in the League. And we were playing the first team. On their day Arsenal can do what they did to Liverpool to anyone, with the first team or reserves such is their quality.

Liverpool now have only the Champions' League left to go for, which is odd for them so early in the season. But when they have had their backs to the wall in the past they have come through so it will be interesting to see how they go against Barcelona. I bet you can get a good price on them winning, probably similar to whatever it was for us beating Arsenal, and that result shows it can be done.

The week's other unexpected scoreline was at Wycombe. It was obviously a fantastic result for them against Chelsea. Credit to them, but it does show what problems you can get in the Premiership with a few injuries, even at a club where money is no object. So you can imagine what it is like at a club like ours. When four or five of your better players are injured at same time it is catastrophic.

4. Priority is staying up

I got a bit of stick this week from fans who returned tickets and asked for their money back after Saturday's FA Cup defeat against Swansea. It was a disappointing result, and in the second half it was a bit embarrassing.

But if Sheffield United fans think back three years they might see some logic to the team we fielded. That year we got to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the League Cup, we played some fantastic football on the way and drew many a TV audience.

But we lost in the play-offs and were playing Cardiff and Luton the following year. No disrespect to those clubs, but at the end of the day the only objective this season is to be playing Manchester United and Chelsea next year.

5. Good luck, Becks

I'm pleased David Beckham looks to have got a move he's happy with. I was asked would he come back here? Would I want to sign him? I said, "Are you joking? Would you come back to the media hype that surrounds him in England?" He is someone who carried the England team for years on his own back and he's got nothing but abuse. Good luck to him.

I'm sure he will enjoy not just playing in America but setting new horizons with the kids, the academies and all that. He does loads of good for kids, but because he's Beckham everybody thinks he is just after the money. The money does look immoral, but so what? It's par for the course over there. But even with Beckham I can't see football - or soccer - catching on 100 per cent in America. Even Pele couldn't crack it, not long-term.

6. Win today and we will be sailing

We've bought a couple of boats this week. Yes, I know Sheffield is a long way from the sea, I'm not talking those sort of boats, I'm not Roman Abramovich. They are remote control boats to play with on the pond in the park. The boys (that's me and William) and the girls (Sharon, my wife, and Amy), have got one each. The boys have bought a bright red speedboat, the girls have got an 18th-century fishing boat that chugs along at one mile an hour. But we've not been able to go to the park to use them yet as results have not gone our way which means I can't go out of house. So we're all hoping for a win today.

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