Championship chat: Canaries fan says it how it is, Neil on the mend ... and THAT social media storm
- Credit: PA
When managers say it how it is, the vile side of social media ... and a good bit - Chris Lakey looks at some of the talking points in the most difficult league in the world (apparently)
We all love Paul Warne, don’t we? The Norwich City-supporting manager of Rotherham United has just signed a new contract with the Millers which runs until the summer of 2023.
Warne has done a great job, but it’s not always been easy. And not just because Rotherham, just promoted back to the Championship, have to watch the pennies.
Warne was appointed Rotherham boss in April 2017 after a brief spell as caretaker. He’s become well-known for his vivid and amusing analysis, but here’s a taste of what his early days did to him...
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“When I became manager, Monday would be okay but as the week progressed it got worse and worse. I’d be thinking about the team, what I wanted to say to the team, what I wanted to do in training, who I was going to drop, how I was going to drop them, how they were going to take being dropped.
“It was a constant cycle. I’d go to sleep, wake up at two in the morning. My brain would be absolutely flying about. I just could not get back to sleep. I’d chomp on the side of my mouth when I was sleeping, grind my teeth. I’d wake up and spit blood and I had loads of ulcers in my mouth. Slowly but surely, in a very melodramatic way, I think my body was dying a little bit.
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“I’d lost a stone in weight. I had no desire to eat food. I wasn’t anti-food. I was just never hungry. I was always wired. Internally, my body was in deep crisis.”
Get well soon
Neil Warnock is football’s equivalent of Marmite, but he should be getting a bit more love at the moment.
First off, for staying in football management - with Middlesbrough – and giving us another season of his candid opinions, but, more importantly, because it was revealed this week he had tested positive for Covid-19.
Forgive those (guilty as charged) whose first reaction was to see who Boro were playing this weekend - Bournemouth at home, a game that, like Norwich v Preston, is a test game with 1,000 fans allowed inside the ground. Wonder how many have now thought better of attending?
Anyway, poor old Neil is in high spirits, apparently and “working on transfers and game plans from home”, obviously.
It can all be treated with some amusement, but the truth is that Warnock, although 71, spends a lot of time travelling between his home in the west country and Teesside, where he is surrounded by extremely fit and healthy sportsmen and the people who work hard to make them that way. So he is in what I’d call a safe environment. But he still has Covid-19.
It’s an important point to make ahead of the test events this weekend and the need for them to prove that it is safe to go to sporting events which are organised and held in a safe environment, although how you actually prove that beyond doubt is another thing.
Grand stuff, City
On a similar subject, good to see Norwich City react so quickly and positively to the ‘invitation’ to host a test event. Luton Town turned down the chance because they couldn’t organise it in time, but presumably City had everything in place for such an eventuality. A ballot has been held to decide who gets in, which to me seems fair.
A suggestion from one Premier League club (I’m told by one of its fans) was that those who pay the most for their season tickets should get first dibs. Which is as good a reason as any not to support that particular club.
Best and (very) worst
I am nosey, really nosey, which is why I love social media. But this week I have seen it at its very best and its very worst.
Let’s start with the latter. It’s not just people who throw around unwarranted and hurtful criticism because they are just short of attention and, I guess, a little happiness in their lives, it’s those who go completely over the top and affect people’s health. Some Norwich City fans will have seen a Twitter account which I can’t name because the language was too crude (it tried to claim the offensive word used was an acronym... rubbish). It tweeted groups of names, as in a World Cup group, of writers, professional and otherwise, it felt deserved the crude acronym. It was disgusting, it was depraved and it was potentially damaging to some of those named... and if you were one of them, then please, ignore, because it is not the way you are perceived by anyone else.
Shame of it is, I used to know the person who did it. And I am surprised and shocked. I won’t name the person because I do not know how fragile that person may be. Suffice to say I am not the only one who saw it and thought, ‘you know what, I’m off social media for a while’.
But then came .... Di Cunningham! The toast of City fans on social media because she has just become the Norfolk Football Association’s first female board member. Better late than never. Founder of Norwich City supporters’ group Proud Canaries, Di is one of our Pink Un columnists, but I am not biased when I wish her the very best as she continues to champion diversity and inclusivity within the game.
Her appointment was really well received on social media. Which is how it should be.