Neil Warnock: What I've Learnt This Week

1. 'I get stick wherever I go but I usually give a wave back. I think it's good to do that'
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Just for a change I was upsetting people last week. My Sheffield United team were at Elland Road for the derby match with Leeds United. They were one-up and the whole Kop was singing "Warnock, Warnock, what's the score?" I put one finger up, then a zero, and they all laughed. I pointed to my watch to indicate there was plenty of time left. They loved it.

Two minutes later I got a tap on my shoulder from the fourth official. He said "The security man says you are inciting the crowd and if you do it again he'll have to remove you from the ground." I said: "Tell him to get a life." There's not enough humour in the game.

The thing is, it's all one way. You should have heard what they were calling me. There were a couple of thousand people behind the dug-out abusing me. Why didn't the security man suggest removing them?

I get stick wherever I go but I usually give a wave back. I think it's good to do that rather than be all stuffy about it. It's not as if I was putting two fingers up. The Leeds fans weren't complaining. When I went to the coach after the game two Leeds lads came up and said: "We'd like to say, Neil, we appreciate what you did."

2. TV slot revived snowy memory

I suppose that is another clip which will be added to the compilations they put together whenever I go on telly. I was on Match of the Day 2 last weekend. As usual they had a package of scenes of me ranting and raving at officials. They never show anything nice. You'd think that was my whole life. But I won't lose that passion.

One clip was from my Notts County days, the one with the snowballs. That was before we played played Manchester City in the FA Cup. They were in the top flight and I remember Peter Reid, who was managing City, having a go at the conditions. There was two foot of snow banked all round the pitch and we beat them 1-0 late on Looking at the clip I realised I'd allowed both my goalkeepers to get on the same sledge and they were going along at 100mph. I'd have been slaughtered if it had rolled over.

4. I'll gamble on Phil 'The Cat' Jagielka

Which brings me on to substitute goalkeepers. I see Tony Warner did well when he came on to replace Mark Crossley for Fulham against Liverpool last week. I don't have a substitute goalkeeper on the bench. I possibly would have if we get in the Premiership because the rewards are bigger. In the Championship I feel 99 per cent of the time if I have got three forwards on the bench I am likely to use them. I think it is more important to try and win the game. This year I've had two strikers and a winger and I've already used them on four occasions in the second half.

We'll get punished every so often. Paddy Kenny, our keeper, has been injured or sent off four times since I've been here. In three of them Phil Jagielka has come on and we've gone on to win. He's a very competent keeper, but he's the sort of bloke who'd be world class at tiddlywinks. At Millwall last year he made a great save from Paul Ifill, who now plays for us. We then scored again and won.

I can gamble. I'm coming to the twilight of my career so I'm not so bothered at people having a go at me, either journalists or people in the club.

5. Good luck to Palace and Reading

Jose Mourinho didn't seem too happy about Chelsea going out of the Carling Cup but I'm not too upset that we're out. In the past I've tried to win every competition but it's cost us in the League and promotion's the priority this season. In the FA Cup last year we beat Aston Villa then went to penalties, after extra time and replays, against both West Ham and Arsenal. In between those ties we had four League games and lost every one. Looking back it cost us dearly. So I told our fans not to spend their money and time making the long journey to Reading in midweek. Some did of course and I think they appreciated the performance of the kids who played.

We had four or five young lads in and it was great experience for them. We did really well for about an hour but Reading were a bit too strong for us. I now hope they get to the final and play Crystal Palace when they get there. That'll tie up two of the best teams in our League, and maybe they'll pick up a few injuries and suspensions on the way.

6. We would find a place for Beckham

I'm pleased that the Spanish FA threw out David Beckham's sending-off. I thought one booking was enough for his dissent. There's people jumping on the bandwagon criticising him but I'm a fan.

I still think he is one of those players who lifts himself for England and I don't see any reason to change him before the World Cup finals. I'd certainly be able to squeeze him into my team somewhere but I think we'd have to sell three of the stands to pay his salary - I doubt if he'd fit into our wage structure.

People like him are in the spotlight but I like his desire. He still cares. Unfortunately in today's society we create heroes to knock them down. They try to knock him down but, to quote one of my fellow managers, he has "bouncebackability".

Comments