WHEN I first agreed to write this column I never for one moment imagined I would have so many topics to discuss.

But in the short time since I've dusted down my typewriter we've been able to share the highs and lows of Darlington Football Club.

While there have been plenty of highs to talk about lately - with fans rallying round to raise money and a couple of great results - I was disappointed to read comments made by the former Carlisle manager Roddy Collins this week, regarding the possible takeover by an Irishman businessman, as well as his own designs on the club.

It seems as though Roddy has been touting himself as a possible replacement for me, which I find disrespectful to me and to this club.

At times I feel it is best to remain silent in these situations.

But if Carlsberg were the creators of intelligent managers then Roddy Collins probably wouldn't get a look in.

You would never hear Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Alex Ferguson or Bob Paisley spouting off about taking somebody else's job.

These are big name managers who have claimed the ultimate respect throughout the world because of who they are and how they deal with situations.

As a manager, it is my responsibility to make sure such comments don't have an influence on the team. The lads are all aware of what's going on and can't believe what's been said.

If this guy is to run this football club, or any other for that matter, I pray to God he changes his attitude.

We don't need that kind of character running our club. We'd had too many people over the years coming in and dragging this club down. It's totally disruptive. Until there is something in writing these people should keep quiet.

Look at the situation at Manchester United. The biggest club in the world is being dragged through the mud because two guys in Ireland are kicking up a stink with Sir Alex over a racehorse.

It seems as though MPs are even getting in on the act, throwing their hats into the ring with suggestions I made in 1994, with regards to agents and their business dealings.

Back then I sat in front of the FA to attend an interview, where they asked me how we could make the game a better business. I told them that monitoring agents and their dealings would be a good start.

But the final responsibility rests with the football club, who pay the agents.

On the field there has been plenty to discuss. Well done to Steve McClaren at Middlesbrough for a fantastic win at Old Trafford. It's not been a bad week for my old club, who head to Cardiff in the Carling Cup final.

It will be interesting to see how many more teams continue with this unusual way of dealing with the new offside law.

I saw Sam Allardyce place two players in an 'offside' position for a free-kick against Leicester during the week.

Personally, I don't see any benefit in the idea and can safely say I won't be taking the same approach at Bristol Rovers tomorrow. If Bristol do it then I will tell my players to take no notice of it. If any opposing player stands in an offside position and they touch the ball then it's offside.

Simple as that. If they're not involved and can't be then why bother worrying?

There's no doubt that tomorrow's game is another tough test after last week's win at Huddersfield.

We were close to the point of breaking after all those 1-0 defeats.

The draw at Kidderminster made the players think that it could happen for us. We've gone on to win two after that and the lads are starting to believe in themselves. We are going in the right direction.

It will be strange travelling down to Bristol today without Ashley Nicholls. We've allowed him to join Cambridge on loan for three months.

He is a wonderful lad and if I were his father I would be proud of him. He's a nice person and his attitude on the training ground is great.

If he plays well down there, consistently, he can then say that the move was worth it.

Good luck to the lad, I hope he does well, although I've made sure he doesn't play against us in March because he will probably score!

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