Never a dull moment

Last Updated: 06/01/08 5:39pm

Neil Warnock spoke to Goals On Sunday about Crystal Palace's talented youngsters, his Chairman and having a dig at the old enemy.

Warnock has changed Palace's fortunes around, taking them just a point from the play-off places, and although they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Watford, he believes the future at Selhurst Park is a bright one.

Talking about the 2-0 defeat to Watford Warnock said: "I suppose I'm to blame as well because I told the kids when I came in in October that I'm going to give three or four of them a good game in the FA Cup.

"So I stood to my word and to be fair we had five lads 17 years of age or under playing and they did ever so well.

"Watford's not easy - alright I didn't think we'd draw Watford when I said that, I thought it might be a bit easier for them. But they coped very well and I was quite pleased.

"Next year I will have a go as I'm due another Cup run now.

Many big clubs have been sniffing around a few of the Eagles' youngsters, including Spanish giants Barcelona who were linked to 15-year-old wonderkid, John Bostock.

"Bostock was 15 when he made his debut, as was Lee Hills," continued Warnock, "Victor Moses came on and the lad Ryan Hall.

"In November I tried to sign players but I couldn't get anybody so I looked at the kids.

"I dealt with kids before - Phil Jagielka, Nick Montgomery and Michael Tonge all at once at Sheffield United. These lads are fantastic - they've got that desire and look in their eyes. I've had a good chat with them, and their parents, and I think they've a good chance of staying at Palace and giving a good go of it.

"I don't know (about Barcelona's interest in Bostock) - so the papers say, there are people coming in for all of them; Sean Scannell last week, Hills before.

The thing is, lads at 17 can't put a price on playing games for one or two years. You go to all the top notches in the Premier League you're probably 15th choice, you might get a reserve game here and there, you're education - you don't get anything from that.

"Whereas here, you're going to get a chance. I look at the kids now and they are going to get a chance in the squad. They'll get their money in two or three years time when the time is right."


Since failing to win any of his first six games in charge, Warnock has guided Palace to a 13 match unbeaten run and he believes any number of teams still have a chance of promotion to the big time.

"I'd love to have another go in the Premier League but the chairman is convinced we can do it together - who knows.

"We do need players but I won't spend the money stupidly and now we have the young players coming though I think well I don't need to spend. But we do need strengthening in other areas and the chairman knows that.

"I think we have a good chance of being amongst them. Anybody at the bottom of the division can be at the top of the division - it's the most wide open league for the last 10 years. It's the best chance anyone has ever had of getting out of the Championship this year.

"I'd like to think (the 13 game unbeaten run) was just me, but it's been a culmination of everything - the chairman's been brilliant, you're all waiting for him to blow up, but he's been very good."

Many predicted a few heated exchanges between manager and chairman when Simon Jordan signed up Warnock to manage his team, but that has yet to happen.

"We've known each other a few years and people don't realise he's quite intelligent, you know, about football.

"He wants to do well, and we've turned it round by hard work, Clinton [Morrison] has scored his goals and we've had the team ethic.

"That's all we can do, we haven't got loads of money so I brought a couple of loan players in and they've got results week in and week out.

"The first six matches we didn't win a game! But [the Chairman] was very supportive.

"He doesn't help himself does he? (referring to Jordan's lavish suits and sunglasses) But he's so knowledgeable and passionate about his Crystal Palace and I've got on board with that - and the fans have."


Warnock being Warnock couldn't help but have a dig at his old rivals recently.

"The [Sheffield] Wednesday game was great because they gave me so much stick from the first minute calling me HSBC and all sorts.

"We were losing 1-0 then we equalised, and then we scored a last minute winner! I go up to the press room and the Radio Sheffield and that had all gone, so I thought 'I'm not having that, they've slaughtered me for 90 minutes'.

"So I rang their Praise and Grumble - 'Neil from Crystal Palace'. I thought 'I'll show 'em' I enjoyed that."

Being a Blade born and bred, Warnock is still extremely fond of his former club and he was grateful for the recent ovation he received when taking his new team to Bramall Lane recently.

"The other week at Sheffield United it was absolutely emotional. A large chunk of my life was there and it always will be with United.

"It was great, they know what I did for them - we were 8,000 crowds, water coming through the dressing room and it's a fantastic club now.

"The future's bright and we were disappointed when we went down [last season] on one goal, we had a good season really, but they'll come back."