Lieutenant Warnock and the missing towel mystery

Stoke City 2 Queens Park Rangers 3

The Britannia Stadium

In another life Neil Warnock would have been a detective. Not the Inspector Morse kind, his inspiration coming from a soundtrack of Wagner, but the in-your-face Columbo kind, always turning back and asking: "Just one more thing."

Just one more thing; Warnock wanted to know what happened to the towels at half-time. They were there for the first half, presumably to aid Stoke's trademark long throws, and had disappeared when his Queen's Park Rangers re-emerged after the interval. He had a prime suspect; a Welshman who hid under a baseball cap and went by the name of Pulis.

"So I went out and fetched my own towel," he said. "Then the ref came over and told us we couldn't do that. Then Stoke used the towel at the end and the ref told them they couldn't have it."

After a wild tackle on Joey Barton by Rory Delap, tensions were already high and the row over the towel saw the Stoke physio, Andy Davies, sent to the stands by the referee, Mike Jones.

"I think you either have the towels or you don't, you can't take them away because your team are losing," said Warnock, although what advantage Tony Pulis's side would gain from depriving Delap of his towel was not immediately clear. "I am going to find out where the law stands on this because it has to be clarified. I think it is a little bit childish that you change the goalposts at half-time."

At the start of the month, Warnock had seen the BBC apologise for his remarks that Rangers had "defended like fairies". Here, at perhaps English football's most unforgiving venue, they played like titans to the extent that when Heidar Helguson headed QPR's equaliser he held his hand not to the heavens but to a bruised and swollen eye-socket that had taken somebody's elbow.

"He could have left last season," Warnock said after a game in which the man from Iceland's northern shores had scored twice and might have had a hat-trick. "My previous owners did not want to retain him because of his age but I thought I could see a Kevin Davies in Heidar.

"Sometimes you spend money for the sake of it and I cannot imagine anyone playing as well as Heidar did here. You see his face after the game and, good-looking lad though he is, it looks as if he has gone 10 rounds with Cassius Clay."

Just one more thing; this was Stoke's fifth defeat in six matches and their second in succession at the Britannia Stadium, although given the way they started, QPR seemed likely to be overwhelmed before the interval. Pulis, who had dropped his keeper, Asmir Begovic, pointed to lapses of concentration and individual errors. Warnock thought the fixture list might have something to do with it, although why Stoke had been drawn away after every Europa League game would have taxed the detective in the gabardine mac.

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup