Neil Warnock: What I've Learnt This Week
1. We know only too well why the therapy centre we use deserves the oxygen of publicity
Saturday 19 April 2008
The treatment of football injuries has come a long way since the days when I would lie on the couch at Chesterfield while Ollie Thompson, the physio, rubbed Algipan into my legs in between drawing heavily on the fag he was always smoking. If it was a bad injury he would place his Anglepoise lamp low over the affected area to increase the heat. Then he'd say, "Run it off."
Later I experienced ultrasound and electrode pads but a lot of places still went in for the hot and cold – a bucket of hot water, a bucket of cold. You took turns putting your ankle in one, then the other.
Now, when one of my players has a muscular injury I send them to the hyperbaric oxygen chamber at the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Unit at Swanley. I first came across this treatment in Sheffield, where the Sheffield MS Society has its own. I was involved with the society as I've always been aware of MS, because my mum suffered from it. I found it amazing how quickly muscle injuries improved with sessions in the chamber.
Some players find it daunting. They have to put on an oxygen mask and breathe pure oxygen while the chamber is pressurised. Our physio, Nigel Cox, tells me it's the equivalent of diving to 33 feet. Your ears pop and so on and you are stuck in there for an hour and a half but you can read, use an iPod or Playstation or watch a DVD. The injury is flooded with oxygen, driving nutrients into the area. That's what Nigel tells me, anyway. All I know is that it works.
Victor Moses was injured at West Brom a few weeks ago. He felt so much improvement after a couple of sessions that after getting a knock at Stoke, he asked if he could have another go. He then made both goals in our win over Scunthorpe on Saturday; I doubt he would have been fit without the treatment.
It's just a shame there was nothing like it in my mum's day. There was a lot of talk about a Russian vaccine but it came to nothing. The doctors just said: "You have to have faith." There was no relief from the misery. When you know you are not going to get any better, you get depressed.
Swanley have an open day next Saturday. I would have gone along but we've got a rather important match at Hull. We will be sending an injured player and some prizes for the raffle. Have a look at the website www.swanleytherapycentre.org if you want to go along.
2. Megson should not expect any favours
I see Bolton's manager, Gary Megson, has been asking Rafael Benitez to "retain the integrity of the league" and not play weakened teams against Fulham this weekend and Birmingham next.
My advice to my old adversary is: "Don't hold your breath." Integrity, doing what is right for the game, comes way down Rafa's list of priorities. After all, as last season, he has the Champions League as his only priority now. That is good news for Fulham, just as it was last year when he fielded the reserves and Fulham won and stayed up, a point ahead of my Sheffield United team. Maybe Rafa gets a yearly hamper from Harrods for his team selections.
I can honestly say I'd love for Liverpool to win nothing while Rafael Benitez is manager, after what he did last year. I don't give two hoots what newspaper reporters say about my bitterness. I'll be cheering for Chelsea in the European Cup semi-final.
I'd like to add that my problem is with Rafa – I think Liverpool is a fabulous club. I've had so many letters from Liverpool supporters saying how disappointed they were that he let my team down.
Still, I don't suppose I'll be calling Anfield for a loan player in the foreseeable future.
3. William has Boycs in the blood
Going to school on Wednesday with William, he said: "I don't want to be a footballer, I want to be a cricketer." I said: "You can play cricket in the summer, football in the winter." I told him about Phil Neale, who was at Scunthorpe with me and also played cricket for Worcestershire. That made him much happier and now he wants to be a footballer and a cricketer.
He's very much in the Geoffrey Boycott mould. He hates being out, even when we play in the garden. "It wasn't lbw"; "It didn't hit the wicket". It's the Yorkshireman in him
4. I want to come back as a Siamese fighting fish
We've some more additions to the family – eight new fish for our tank. One of them is a Siamese fighting fish. If you want to be reincarnated that's a good option – he can have as many wives as he wants. We've bought him three. We also found out that we'd given a couple of our other fish the wrong names. It appears Fred is a girl and Daphne is a boy.
It's a far cry from when I was a kid. Then we had to settle for a goldfish every time the funfair came to town. It would live for a few weeks then we'd find it floating and it would be flushed down the toilet.
5. Getting on with the chairman is vital
I went to a fans' evening this week, a fund-raiser for the academy which included a slap-up meal and a question-and-answer session with the chairman, Simon Jordan, and Matt Lawrence. I put them under a bit of pressure by sitting near the front. I'm sure that's not why Matt gave a grovelling answer when he was asked: "What's the manager like?"
The chairman was asked when it would all blow up between him and me. To everyone's surprise, we get on well. He is far more knowledgeable about the game than people think. The relationship between a manager and chairman is important. I've always had success when it has been good, less so when we've not been getting on.
One of the auction lots was a training session for two adults and four kids. We had three people bidding, so I told them they could all come. We got £2,000 out of it.
6. It's a dog's life, being a dad
My little girl was 10 years old this week. Where has the time gone? She woke at 6.20am, shouting "I'm 10, I'm 10!" I was oblivious as I was wearing earplugs but they don't help when you get jumped on. It reminded me of a mate who was deaf in one ear. When his kids were young he would sleep on the good one. In the morning he would wake up, turn cheerily to his bleary-eyed wife and say: "So they slept through again."
Among her presents Amy got some outfits, some earrings from William and a locket from my elder daughter, Natalie. I said: "Are you putting a picture of your dear old dad in it?" No, she put in a picture of Megan, our dog who recently passed away.
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