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Warnock knows Palace must shine
Published : 12 Feb 2010 17:06:06
The Eagles manager has put out some fires in his time in football but never has he been in a spot quite as tight as that in which he finds himself as his club take on Aston Villa in the fifth round of the cup on Sunday. Palace are up for sale, the club have been docked 10 points after going into administration, the players are worried about their contracts, the canteen lady has not been paid for two months, and Warnock does not know if he will be in a job next week. Uncertain is not the word for life at Palace. Apocalyptic might be closer, especially as Friday saw accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers appointed as joint administrators to the freehold company for Palace's home, Selhurst Park, which at the moment is leased by the club. In other words, the club and the ground it stands on are up for grabs. Not that any of it can knock the chirpy, larger-than-life nature of one of football's most colourful characters, although he came out of Friday morning's meeting with the administrator somewhat shell-shocked. Warnock said: "As far as he's aware, next week I could be out of a job. I'm going to work from week to week. I don't know how it will end here. I've said I'll just have to beat Villa and get to the cup final and pay a few debts off. "I've got lads out of contract. I've got the lease of my house up. "I've shown it to the administrator and he said, 'I don't know what to say to you.' Sure, it's insecure, but I've got to make the players feel as secure as I can. "I've got one or two more problems than normal. Normally it's just tactics and giving one or two rollickings. Now I'm ordering the pizzas." Problems seem to follow Warnock around. Remember his Premier League relegation with Sheffield United and the ensuing court cases involving West Ham, who were accused of escaping relegation via the goals of an ineligible player in Carlos Tevez? "I believe in fate," said Warnock. "What will be, will be. At times in my career, I have thought, 'Why me?' But that happens all your life. When my mum died as a kid, I thought, 'Why me.' Life is a matter of fighting against the odds." The odds on Sunday will favour Martin O'Neill's side, who are still in with a shout of fourth place in the Premier League and who Warnock admires. "Look what Martin O'Neill has done for the country buying English," he continued. "I tried to buy Ashley Young when I was at Sheffield United. The Villa fans have more to be proud of than anybody really. "They've got one of the best managers who I hope will take over from (England boss) Fabio Capello when he leaves. "He's a bit like myself. He's a ranter and a raver. Probably the most I've ever seen a manager go ballistic was Martin against one of my teams. But I think we should all be proud of Martin." The touchline on Sunday could be a tasty place to be. But then Warnock is anything but boring. His own club are £30million in debt but it does not stop him putting the boot into the mismanagement at Portsmouth. "It's only a couple of weeks ago I saw the Portsmouth team with not one Englishman in the XI. That can't be right for us as a country," he said. "You can't tell me that a club like Portsmouth can't bring youngsters through and have some English players in the team." Warnock is 61 and wants at least another three years in football and another crack at the Premier League. "I may never retire," he said. "The way I feel, I want to go places and take my family places. I could take a club each year out of the cart and then have six months holiday and then take over another club. Do another Red Adair. I do like getting people out of the cart, proving people wrong." Victory on Sunday would do that. More importantly, it is a job opportunity for Warnock and all his players. He said: "We could advertise our club on Sunday around the world. A club in London, not very expensive really. "We won't be running out with 'For Sale' on the back but it's a great opportunity for our lads. If Martin O'Neill sees them and they are playing brilliant, they could be at Villa next week." Crystal Palace v Aston Villa. Click here to bet.