Arthur's Last Stand?
The much publicised, eagerly awaited, rather predictable and not to mention long overdue public statement from NFFC regarding criticisms levelled at the club by it's own supporters has finally been made.
First things first, the club was damned if it did and damned if it didn't come out and face the fans and at least attempt to give some sort of explanation for their inability to make a single permanent signing in the two previous transfer windows. With the exception of Radoslaw Majewski (he was already here on a season long loan from last summer), Nottingham Forest were only able to secure the 6 month long loan signing of Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand, in an effort to strengthen and improve the squad that finished 3rd in the Championship last season.
Forest Chief Executive Mark Arthur spoke through the NFFC official site and was answering questions from the clubs' own Press Officer, Fraser Nicholson. Arthur explained that the club vigorously pursued Darren Pratley and Peter Whittingham, but their respective clubs' simply didn't want to sell. There was no mention of the offers that were put on the table by NFFC, just as there was no attempt to dispel the rumours that they were considered derisory, or that we just didn't offer enough.
Mark Arthur also went on to defend the under fire and much maligned Transfer Acquisitions Committee. He said it was there to ensure we got players at market value. That we didn't pay too much and that we got the right sort of player for the club. As on previous occasions, he repeated the fact that they would never buy a player that wasn't going to improve the squad, or one that wasn't better than what we already had. In short and without wanting to sound over critical, it was more of the same old excuses, with nothing to hear that we hadn't heard before.
In defending criticisms aimed at Chairman Nigel Doughty, Arthur explained that for every pound the fans put in, he puts in 2 and that last season he dipped in to his own pocket to the tune of £13.4M. He also reminded us that Doughty had made an average investment to the club of around £5M every year since he took control of the club back in 1999/2000. There was even what could be considered as a veiled threat, in that the investments made by the Chairman could come to an abrupt halt, if the flak he is currently getting was to continue. I suppose it depends how you interpret his words, but some might take the view that Nigel Doughty has had enough and wants to offload.
The interview is freely available for all to see on the link above. Different people will have different views, but for me it doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know. Looking around the forums at the many responses from fans so far, I'd go as far to say it's made them even more aggrieved than before the interview was aired. Mark Arthur has never been the most popular figure amongst Forest fans and I can't see this doing him any favours on that front, but like I said, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. Mark Arthur has done little to dampen the anger and frustrations felt by many supporters with this interview and he's also done little to dampen down rumours that we're in the midst of being taken over. He might well think that both he and Mr. Doughty will be here for a good few years yet, I however do not.