Neil Warnock: What I've Learnt This Week

1. Why the future looks red and white all the way from Sheffield to China
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The Independent Football

It was a relief to get back to normal after all that went on last week and especially to get back to winning ways in the derby. It was a cracking win for us watched by the best crowd in the Championship all season, more than 30,000. It shows Sheffield can support Premiership football.

The whole club is gearing up for the top flight. When I was considering my future Kevin McCabe, the plc chairman, talked to me at great length and he put forward a very good case regarding the club. In the last few years the club has been turned on its head, off the field as well as on it.

We're one of the most progressive clubs in the north of England. We're redeveloping the ground, with corner stands approved and a reconstruction of the Spion Kop lined up which will take capacity to 33,000. It will have two tiers, corporate hospitality, offices. We've had plans passed for a hotel and are bidding for one of the super casinos. The debt's been reduced and we've even got a £50m building partnership, United Scarborough Property Development, which has already brought in a seven-figure sum. Anyone who invested in our shares last year should be very happy.

The latest move has been to buy a club in China. We already had an academy there, and we've had a Chinese player over here, who, unfortunately, had a lot of injuries. Now we've got another foothold in the Far East. There's great enthusiasm over there for football, as we saw when we toured in the summer. But we also learned things are a bit different. Everybody made us welcome, but you have to double-check everything. If they tell you the bus is coming at 12pm you've got to know it is coming at 1pm, but when it does arrive the driver will have a smile on his face.

But as always in football you are always looking for what's round the corner. We've had a good week training but we've picked up five or six niggling injuries. So I've spent the end of the week waiting on scans and the physios reports.

2. Gary Neville will make a great captain

Going out of Europe will have been a big blow to Manchester United but I think Sir Alex Ferguson took a positive step when he made Gary Neville the new club captain. He's long been one of the best pros in country and both United and England have missed him while he's been injured.

I've known him for years because I used to work with his parents when I was manager of Bury. His mum, Jill, is probably the most efficient secretary I've ever had - other than my current one. His dad, Neville Neville, was in the commercial department. Gary and Phil used to drop by and neither had any airs and graces. They ware both level-headed lads and I'm really pleased how well they have done in their careers. It's fitting that he's captain. He's a big United fan and has probably been cringing himself at some of the performances. Hopefully he and Alex can get the team going again. I see everyone is jumping on the bandwagon clamouring for Alex to quit but he's earned the right to choose his own time. And I wouldn't bet against him turning it round like he has in the past.

3. Don't head-butt the opposition players

I see a Bundesliga coach was sacked this week in Germany for head-butting an opponent. I must admit that prompted a wry smile from me. I've been tempted once or twice, though in my case I felt like doing it to certain referees. It would be a fantastic way of finishing your career. Was it harsh to sack him? No, you can't go around doing things like that, unless you're top of the league and running away with it

4. Justice has caught up with Michael Essien

I was pleased Uefa have decided to charge Michael Essien for that tackle he made on Dietmar Hamann in Chelsea's midweek match against Liverpool. It's been a long time coming. The tackle he got away with earlier in the season, against Ben Haim of Bolton, was horrendous and he's got to be punished because they are the worst tackles in the world. They're leg-breakers.

It's surprising the referee didn't see it but we had one last year, by a Derby player on Chris Morgan, which was missed. Players get booked for dissent and throwing the ball away but these are the ones officials have to spot.

5. It's a sad world

This week I went to watch my daughter who's seven, my wife and my little boy ice skating. I took my camera and took some pictures. Then a young lady came along and said, very nicely, that I wasn't allowed to take pictures. She explained it's to protect the kids from abuse, that the photos could end up in the wrong place, and I can appreciate her point. But it's a bad world when you can't take a picture of your own kids ice-skating.

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