What a way to start the new year. To lose any game is bad enough, but to lose

to a non-league side in the FA Cup is something you hope you never experience.

I've been fortunate enough to have never been on the wrong end of any giant-killing before so Saturday's was something I hope I don't experience again. Then just to cap the weekend off they go and draw Arsenal in the next round.

Mark Warren, the referee who sent me off against Hull the other week, has been making a bit of a name for himself lately. After refusing to change his mind over my red card he was overruled by the FA who studied video evidence and decided it wasn't worthy of a yellow card never mind a red.

He then goes and causes a near riot at Notts County by controversially sending someone else off. Then to finish a great few weeks for himself he abandons the Reading and Leicester game at half-time claiming that the two managers had agreed with him, when they hadn't.

Another young star has been making a name for himself over Christmas. James Milner at Leeds looks to be a very talented youngster. I haven't seen a great deal of him, but what I have seen certainly impressed me. However, looking back I still have yet to see anybody with the talent Paul Gascoigne had as a youngster. The Christmas period for every footballer is the busiest time of the year.

With so many games you don't really get time to enjoy yourself too much. This

year we did have Christmas day off for a change, which was nice. Our game on

New Year's Day got called off on the day so while everyone was out partying we were all tucked up in bed on New Year's Eve.

We did know the game was in doubt, but we had to prepare just in case it got the go-ahead and having prepared for it the last thing you want is to get it called off. To be honest I like playing over the Christmas period and I'm not in favour of any winter breaks.

Published: 07/01/2003