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Nigel Doughty - Hero or Villain?

It's 11 years since Nigel Doughty took over the reigns at Nottingham Forest and in that time as Chairman he's either viewed as the saviour of the club by one section of the supporters, or the man who took us to our lowest ebb in the clubs' entire history by the other. The facts are simple. Without his own personal annual cash injection (reportedly £5-6m pa), we would have gone out of business along time ago. Despite that though, we spent 3 years in the graveyard of League 1 and we're still in search of the Holy Grail, otherwise known as the Premiership.

I'm going to do my best here not to make this an anti Doughty rant, but I fear it may become that. After the remarkable season we had last year, in which we finished 3rd and reached the semi final of the Playoffs, there was much to look forward to in the forthcoming campaign. The message boards were full of optimism and the summer rumour mill was in full flow with the anticipated arrivals of Messrs Pratley, Whittingham and Shorey, to name but 3. I'll plead guilty straight away to stoking the fires that kept 2 of those rumours burning brightly, because that was the information I was being given at the time. As we're all painfully aware by now, not one of those players arrived and with the departures of Perch, Garner, Boyd and Bennett, we are actually a weaker side than the one that ended the last season in such a strong position. Instead of building on the success and progress we made last year, we have weakened the squad and missed the best opportunity we have had to get back to where the Chairman says we rightfully belong.

Despite my own personal feelings on the appointment of Billy Davies as manager back in 2009, I'm more than happy to admit those feelings were misplaced and that it was probably Mr. Doughty's finest hour as Chairman of the club. Billy Davies not only saved us from certain relegation back to the doldrums of League 1 in his first season, he took us to the brink of the Premiership in his second. Whilst we gratefully saw Mr. Doughty open his wallet to the not insignificant amount of £5m last summer, it was in the managers own words, 'merely playing catchup with the rest', such was the lack of quality at the club at that time.

One of my main fears about the appointment of Billy Davies, was the fact that he had been so outspoken at the previous clubs' he had managed. After the failings by the club in the January transfer window, he wasted no time in telling the media what those failings were and he's continued to do so ever since. In my opinion he was only telling the truth and was letting the fans know exactly what was going on behind closed doors at the City Ground. Many supporters believe he was being disrespectful to NFFC and that he was instigating a move away from the club, but the fact remains that he hasn't been backed and has seen little in the way of support from the hierarchy at the club, other than the words from the Chairman this summer, saying he's the best manager in the Championship. If he's the best manager in the Championship, then why isn't he being supported and allowed to strengthen the squad? If people believe that the 6 month loan signing of a left back is going to keep Billy quiet and make him a happy wee man, then they're very much mistaken and I for one would expect him to raise hell.

The failure to back the manager in 2 consecutive transfer windows and the way the holding company for the club (CFFN) was quietly wound up, have led to one or two questions being asked by some fans. Mainly, do we have any money available for players? and is Nigel Doughty in the process of selling the club? Both legitimate questions in my book, but both without a satisfactory answer from the club. Now the club did release a statement after the revelation that the holding company being wound up that said. 'In May this year Nigel Doughty took full 100% control of the shares of Nottingham Forest Football Club when he transferred the shares that he had previously held via a company called CFFN into his personal name. This move was prompted purely for reasons of administrative simplicity. This has had and will have no impact on the funding of the club. CFFN has subsequently applied for solvent liquidation and has commenced the process of being struck off as a company.' We'll have to take the clubs' word on this of course, but it was a rather glib statement in my opinion and one that seemed worthy of a more in depth explanation other than for 'administrative simplicity.' So has Nigel Doughty dipped into his wallet for the last time and is he refusing to invest in the team? On the evidence we have seen up to now, that would certainly appear to be the case. Now I know it isn't my money and and as the owner of the club he can run it in whatever way he deems best, but to my mind it looks like his ambition to attain Premiership status has gone, or the club is up for sale. What other reason can there be for missing out on the best chance we've had in 11 years of getting back to the Premiership than that? Without an explanation from the club or more pertinently, the Chairman himself, rumour and speculation will continue and the future of the club will be in doubt.

Without Nigel Doughty's money, there was a very real chance that the club would have gone out of existence, but he has only ever done enough to ensure that we survived in my opinion. During his tenure we've seen the Godawful days of David Platt and the unfulfilled promise of Paul Hart's Premiership nearly men. Millions were wasted by Platt, whilst Hart was not only forced to do it with virtually no money, he had to sell the family silver in the process. Nottingham Forest is a big club with fantastic support, that has stuck with it through thick and thin. The past 11 years have been very thin indeed for supporters to endure, it may have even been enough for Nigel Doughty as well. The silence can't continue for ever, we deserve an explanation at least. The longer that silence continues, the more the rumours and speculation will grow. Is the club up for sale? Does the manager have any money to spend and how much longer will he be here? Does the Transfer Acquisitions Panel do it's job and does it even work? All questions that need an answer, but none are being given. Whilst I can see the good things that he has done for the club, it's now my opinion that he's taken us as far as he can and that it's time for him to seek new owners who can take the club forward. If he isn't prepared to invest, then it's time for him to find someone who is.

Apologies for the rant, but if anyone feels that they would like to counter some of the comments I've made, then feel free to email them to forest@vitalfootball.co.uk and I'll put them on the front page. These are my opinions and not meant to be read as those of every Forest fan out there. This is your site, so have your say.








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The Journalist

Writer: guinless Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday September 3 2010

Time: 12:24PM

Your Comments

This is certainly not the view of every forest fan. There are a lot of positives to take out of the way the club has been run. There aren't many other chairmen out there who would back the club to the extent ND has done. Whilst it's disappointing that we haven't signed anybody of significance this Summer, we were trying for targets that we knew would be hard to get hold of, from clubs who did not want to sell. We have managed to keep hold of the key players in Wilson and Cohen. We overachieved last year, but in fact we wanted a slower gradual improvement on the team over a number of seasons to prepare for the premiership. A lot of what has been said is speculation, and in fact we know nothing of the difficulties that the TAP may have faced, so a lot of this article seems silly to me, and only breeds negativity around the club which we really don't need.
jbtrickytree
Written by a supporter of Free Forest by any chance? Sooooooooooooo, biased. Not all see ND as a saviour OR a villein. Just a necessity. Someone has to own 'em.
daddyreddog
I've sent a rebuttle to the email Guin
forestfumbler
Why do people keep big gin this idiot up as if he is some kind of knight in shining armor? If Doughty hadnít of brought Forest some else would of and the same applies if he sells it now. 11 years under his leadership and what have we achieved?, some will say Stability and a club to support, what we have achieved is, 3 season in league one the lowest point in the clubs recent history, and we have had 2 failed attempts at promotion 2003 & 2010 both times having the rug pulled from under our feet through lack of ambition yet at a time when you thought we would of strengthen from a position of power. Itís a miff to think that Doughty has thrown endless pots money at the club from his own personal pocket without there being some sort of gain along the way, only a complete fool would throw money down the drain and Doughty is no fool he is a professional business man. He has taken this club as far as it go under him, his lies, deceit and full on false promises are now too much to take, I for one want Nigel Doughty out of this club for good, I want him to sell it and give it to some one with real ambition, there will always be some one that will buy a club like Forest with itís fan base and history. Nigel Doughty youíre a very untrustworthy and deceitful individual , youíre a liar and a con artist and youíre not wanted anymore!
rob1
"I've sent a rebuttle to the email Guin forestfumbler" I haven't received it yet mate. Check the email address and send it again.
guinless
Just sent it again Guin, I used the Mailto link next to your name under the article this time but it's gone to the same address. I'll PM my email address so you can check its not being caught in a spam filter.
forestfumbler
In all honesty, ND like most people is neither hero nor villain. You have to be grateful we aren't saddled with spending a big proportion of our income servicing debts (Glazers) or facing a managerial roundabout and eccentricity (Mandaric) or unfit and improper persons (Portsmouth) but equally he isnt a Jack Walker or Steve Gibson either. Someone has missed the bleedin obvious that going into a season with so few players is a mistake, which is a basic schoolboy error, but more than that, I don't think the transfer strategy is clear: 1. Focus on buying, get proven english players and accept you iwill pay a premium, so set aside the £££ and act swiftly and decisively. 2. Invest in the scouting network to less fashionable football nations and unearth the next solskjaar for peanuts. (an international version of the Peter Taylor principle) 3. Invest heavily in the academy and youth system, bring players in young and accept promotion/top results will take a while longer (The Paul Hart approach) 4. Wheel and deal with loanees and bosmans and patch them all together, and use the transfer fees saved to pay higher wages (Harry rednap, and latterly Cardiff) 5. Go for broke to gamble on success (Leeds and Europe, Newcastle keeping their squad last season) but accept if it fails financial ruin and the lower leagues await. I think the problem with trying to do just a bit of all of these, is that we do none of them very well. Time for some clear thinking in the board room. Meantime, given that if we'd been a premiership team we could only have named a 20 player squad (excluding the 21 and unders) I'm keeping everything crossed.
Husky Red
thanks for a well-written and interesting article. of course the answer to your question is: Neither. That is to say Doughty is neither a hero or a villain. What he is is a supporter, who due to success in his career, suddenly found himself in a position to intervene to sort out major problems at 'his' club. What should not be disputed is that he has brought both modernity and competence to the financial running of the club. On top of this he has injected his own money to make up for the shortfall in the club's income. This he has done throughout the past decade. What should also not be disputed is that he is a thoroughly decent man, who genuinely has the club's best interests at his heart. Of course he wants the club to do well, there can be few more loyal supporters of the club than him. On the footballing front, he has always accepted that he is a supporter and not a 'football-insider' ie someone who has always earned their living through the game. This is why he asked Pleat to spend a couple of days a month for Forest, to give him independent advice so that he could be in a position to discuss with and challenge the Forest manager, so that he could be happy that the decisions being made were in the best intersts of the club. The current manager has certainly been a 'challenge' for him, but Doughty knew in advance that this was likely to be the case. The other directors have long since got fed up with their 'employee' feeling free to spout off to the media whenever, and on whatever subject, he chooses. But Doughty has been the one to say publicly that 'yes, Billy is a pain but one I can put up with as long as the team is winning'. This is probably the view of many Forest supporters. Davies carries much of the blame for the current situation. I hate the way he has consistently demotivated his playing squad by saying that they are inadequate and in urgent need of strengthening. I believe that if he had come out last January and said 'I have a fantastic squad who are capable of achieving promotion' then they would have gone on and done so. What has changed this summer? Well, Davies has attempted to call Doughty's bluff and it has backfired badly upon him. Doughty made it quite clear that summer 2010 would see ' a couple of in's and a couple of out's'. I don't think he intended this to be taken quite as literally as some have done so! Davies on the other hand believed that he could 'bully' the club by winding supporters up with talk of '4 or 5 stellar signings', and by reducing the squad size by letting the likes of Garner and Bennet go out on loan, to further increase the fans' expectations and the pressure on the directors. It was never the power struggle that some have tried to portray it as. Dought is simply in a different league to Davis (pardon the pun). Davies is quiet for now because he realises he has been soundly seen-off. I personally think all his success, at previous clubs, and at Forest, has come from bullying those clubs into finding money for signings and increased wage bills. A good manager can also motivate players and bring through youngsters, and this we have seen too little of. Pride is important to this man, and I think he will keep his head down for the next 4-6 weeks in the hope that, as the first Premiership managerial casualties happen, he will get the opportunity to move on from Forest with his head held high and without being sacked or resigning. This scenario would suit the club as well; a new manager coming in could re-motivate the current squad and still achieve a top-six finish. But coming back to where we started, Doughty has been and will continue to be a fine chairman for Forest. I now feel it is time he appointed a new Chief Exec, and ideally one with Premier League experience. Equally importantly, I believe that Davies' best days with the club are now behind him. He is in a weakened position and there will be a parting of the ways this autumn, but this may yet be done in an 'amicable way' that suits both parties.
redfred2
In my opinioin there are three theories:- 1. Doughty does not want Nottm Forest to get into the Premership, as he does not have the financial muscle to play with the big boys, regardless of any parachute payment. Three occassions he has had the chance to achieve this goal and on all three occassions he has not invested, as a business man this does not make sense, it is all about calculated risk, so there must be an ulterior motive. 2. Davies and Doughty's relationship has completly broken down and he will be replaced within the month with Martin O Neil coming to take over, this is the reason why there has been no spend as he holds onto his cash waiting for the new man to come in with his own demands for players. 3.
rubonic
In my opinioin there are three theories:- 1. Doughty does not want Nottm Forest to get into the Premership, as he does not have the financial muscle to play with the big boys, regardless of any parachute payment. Three occassions he has had the chance to achieve this goal and on all three occassions he has not invested, as a business man this does not make sense, it is all about calculated risk, so there must be an ulterior motive. 2. Davies and Doughty's relationship has completly broken down and he will be replaced within the month with Martin O Neil coming to take over, this is the reason why there has been no spend as he holds onto his cash waiting for the new man to come in with his own demands for players. 3.
rubonic
thanks for a well-written and interesting article. of course the answer to your question is: Neither. That is to say Doughty is neither a hero or a villain. What he is is a supporter, who due to success in his career, suddenly found himself in a position to intervene to sort out major problems at 'his' club. What should not be disputed is that he has brought both modernity and competence to the financial running of the club. On top of this he has injected his own money to make up for the shortfall in the club's income. This he has done throughout the past decade. What should also not be disputed is that he is a thoroughly decent man, who genuinely has the club's best interests at his heart. Of course he wants the club to do well, there can be few more loyal supporters of the club than him. On the footballing front, he has always accepted that he is a supporter and not a 'football-insider' ie someone who has always earned their living through the game. This is why he asked Pleat to spend a couple of days a month for Forest, to give him independent advice so that he could be in a position to discuss with and challenge the Forest manager, so that he could be happy that the decisions being made were in the best intersts of the club. The current manager has certainly been a 'challenge' for him, but Doughty knew in advance that this was likely to be the case. The other directors have long since got fed up with their 'employee' feeling free to spout off to the media whenever, and on whatever subject, he chooses. But Doughty has been the one to say publicly that 'yes, Billy is a pain but one I can put up with as long as the team is winning'. This is probably the view of many Forest supporters. Davies carries much of the blame for the current situation. I hate the way he has consistently demotivated his playing squad by saying that they are inadequate and in urgent need of strengthening. I believe that if he had come out last January and said 'I have a fantastic squad who are capable of achieving promotion' then they would have gone on and done so. What has changed this summer? Well, Davies has attempted to call Doughty's bluff and it has backfired badly upon him. Doughty made it quite clear that summer 2010 would see ' a couple of in's and a couple of out's'. I don't think he intended this to be taken quite as literally as some have done so! Davies on the other hand believed that he could 'bully' the club by winding supporters up with talk of '4 or 5 stellar signings', and by reducing the squad size by letting the likes of Garner and Bennet go out on loan, to further increase the fans' expectations and the pressure on the directors. It was never the power struggle that some have tried to portray it as. Dought is simply in a different league to Davis (pardon the pun). Davies is quiet for now because he realises he has been soundly seen-off. I personally think all his success, at previous clubs, and at Forest, has come from bullying those clubs into finding money for signings and increased wage bills. A good manager can also motivate players and bring through youngsters, and this we have seen too little of. Pride is important to this man, and I think he will keep his head down for the next 4-6 weeks in the hope that, as the first Premiership managerial casualties happen, he will get the opportunity to move on from Forest with his head held high and without being sacked or resigning. This scenario would suit the club as well; a new manager coming in could re-motivate the current squad and still achieve a top-six finish. But coming back to where we started, Doughty has been and will continue to be a fine chairman for Forest. I now feel it is time he appointed a new Chief Exec, and ideally one with Premier League experience. Equally importantly, I believe that Davies' best days with the club are now behind him. He is in a weakened position and there will be a parting of the ways this autumn, but this may yet be done in an 'amicable way' that suits both parties.
redfred2
3. (Apologies I'm new to this) Doughty is preparing for sale. It is a great shame if Davies goes I think he is the best Championship manager about, though he does lack tact, but so did a certain person several years ago who also drove for success and got it. Finally things could be worse we could have just sold our only striker and have to rely on a injury prone money grabber for goals.
rubonic
A very well written, well reasoned article and I agree 100%. There is no right, no wrong, no for no against. these people are all human beings with all the failings and frailties that go along with that title. My own opinion is a) Forest would not have gone out of business when Doughty took over, magnanimous though that was. We would have gone into administration and, like so many other clubs, been picked up by someone for a song at the eleventh hour b) Doughty knew what he was getting when he hired Billy. Billy has kept his part of the deal and produced results. If Doughty won't back this manager then who will he back? c) For a highly successful, intelligent businessman Doughty appears incredibly naive not to invest a relatively small amount to take us over the top both in January and this past summer. I don't for one second believe he is that naive so therefore something else MUST be going on and it saddens me deeply. d) I say: sack Pleat and get that hanger-on out of the picture, he's just messing with Doughty's head because he doesn't like Davies; sack Mark Arthur and bring in someone who can actually conclude a successful negotiation. Rubonic has the right of it, Billy is the best manager we've had since BC and PT and I abhor what's being done to him.
melgarion
With the players we've targeted in Pratley and Whittingham, we're talking players who are at clubs who don't want to let them go. We don't know for certain how much money has been put into offers for them, and no matter what money has been put in by ND, if the clubs don't want to lose their best players, then why should they. I would have loved to see them here, but surely blame needs to be laid in many places and not just the chairman. Talk of demonstrations and the like are silly, and only going to harm the atmosphere of the club
jbtrickytree
 

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