I was thrilled this week to take possession of a fantastic model boat. I'd seen it on display at the lifeboat station in Looe on our trips to Cornwall and admired it. Then I noticed they were inviting donations. I think the RNLI do a fantastic job saving lives, it is something you really appreciate when you start spending time by the coast, so I was happy to put my hand in my pocket.
It's amazing the weather the lifeboatmen go out in. Sometimes you hear the siren go up and think, "I'm glad it's not me going out in this." It must be frightening, when you think of the waves they get, and the boats are not that big. When I went on one I realised how brave they are.
The boat I've been given is a replica of a French one called Toulonnaise. Launched in 1832, in Toulon, it took part in the war against Spain in the shelling of Cadiz.
Fortunately I made my donation a few weeks ago, because as you will have read, I'm not getting my wages at the moment because the chairman has a cashflow problem.
Usually players – and managers – have a moan when that sort of thing happens but here's been a real sense of the Blitz spirit at Palace.
I told the lads after Saturday's game, when we played really well and scored three cracking goals against a decent Watford side. As you can imagine, it popped the euphoria a bit in the dressing room. I didn't feel great having to sit them all down at 20 past five and explain the situation but, as I said to the players, and feel even more now, everyone has cashflow problems at times: a lot of people reading this column might.
The players rallied round and, like myself, were determined to be positive, which was great. The chairman's put millions into the club over the last few years and this is the first time he's had a problem so it's good we're supporting him like we have. The fans have got involved as well. I've been reading on the internet how they are rolling their sleeves up, telling each other to bring a friend to today's game, and see what we can all do. It's brought the club together. They too know how much the club means to Simon, and what he's done for it.
Even the kids have appreciated we have to pull together. We were buying Amy a dress for a Christmas party and she saw one which was quite expensive. She said, "I don't think we can afford that, mum." I had to tell her she could and, believe you me, there are many people far worse off than myself and my footballers.
2. Shaking all over
The talking point from this week's matches was Arsène Wenger not shaking Mark Hughes's hand. Mark is quite vociferous in his dug-out, he was against us in an earlier round in the Carling Cup. If not in the right frame of mind to accept that, it builds up and you react. Arsène will have been unhappy as he must have been disappointed with the performance and it's been a bad week for him, when you look at the Chelsea game too, and the manner of the defeats. That must have taken a toll.
There's only one manager whose hand I wouldn't shake, and no prizes for guessing which one (if you don't know, it's in the book). At least he's the only one who's currently working.
It can be an expensive business not shaking hands. I remember at Norwich once, after we'd lost, I went to shake the hands of Nigel Worthington and his staff and they were too busy celebrating. I showed how I felt with a gesture and it ended up costing me two grand, one grand a finger
3. Blatter doesn't get it
After all the backlash from Ireland and elsewhere Sepp Blatter still doesn't get it, does he? All we want is goalline technology and video evidence. When you find out Hawkeye, who do the tennis and cricket, has a system which is tested and works, and they still won't do it, it beggars belief.
4. Tiger's funny feat
I know I shouldn't have, but I have to say I laughed at Tiger Woods's grovelling apology to his family. Looking at the size of some of the modern golf clubs no wonder he raced off in his car if his wife was waving one around chasing him, allegedly. What with that and Thierry's handball, Gillette must be wondering what Roger Federer's going to do.
5. Life's a lunch of Roses
What with the terrible weather we spent a lot of time indoors with the kids. Sunday we played a game of Frustration, the board game. We then made the mistake of opening the big tin of Roses chocolates we bought for Christmas. Just to have "one each". Needless to say, two hours later there was barely one each left. William thought it was a great lunch.
We then sat on the settee to watch the FA Cup third round draw. It's a special occasion. After drawing tough away ties the last two seasons I knew we'd have another great draw when we were given No 13. We got Sheffield Wednesday, my old rivals, away. When people asked what I thought I said: "I'm a Sheffield United fan and no Sheffield United fan should be made to go there twice in a year'. But I do think it is a good draw. It'll get a decent crowd even if they only come to boo me.
Talking about luck, what about Plymouth's in having their match with Barnsley called off at 4-1 down? My mate the Plymouth groundsman said those underground sprinklers that went on at half-time worked a treat.
Seriously, they never had rain like they've had recently down there so I'm not surprised it was waterlogged.
6. Clatt's back to his best
Have you noticed Mark Clattenburg since he came back? He's becoming a top ref again. He's dealing with players as a man-manager, not using his cards. He might get a bollocking from people upstairs, but if he continues like he is, he'll be close to being No 1 soon. Which will a great reward for him after all his disappointments.
7. Jazz. Mmmm, nice
On my birthday on Tuesday (59 again) we went in to town to a jazz supper club in Mayfair, the Dover St Experience. We had a lovely meal and the music was superb, from Rat Pack to the Beach Boys. We used the train as usual, but after last week's experience with the wet wipes we decided to give taxis a miss and walk back from the station.Reuse content