Forest Fans In 2010. Is This All There Is?
It really is terrible supporting Nottingham Forest these days isn`t it. I mean, we`ve nothing to look forward too except stagnation, our players are useless, we have no ambition, the manager is trying his utmost to get the sack, just for the compensation and the club`s owner is picking our pockets 'Fagin style` whilst at the same time preparing his club for a return to League One, by not selling out to Irish gamblers who support other teams. Or some would have us believe.
Now, whilst I was lucky enough to witness the glory years under the great Brian Clough, I was also witness to what preceded it, when widely respected coach, Matt Gillies took charge of a club that nearly did the double a few months earlier and within a short time, turned them into second division strugglers that were heading only one way, down. So I`ve witnessed more than most, and to those who say that if Nigel Doughty doesn`t sell out soon, we`ll be back in League one, I say you don`t know what you`re talking about.
The current Forest squad is as good as any in the division and on its day can beat them all. While admittedly it is lacking in depth in certain positions, not many teams can boast a bench like we had against Ipswich recently. Don`t get me wrong, I like every other Forest fan would welcome a few additions, but essentially this is the same squad that (possibly overachieving) finished third last season and is currently similarly placed to where we were at this stage in that season. Some will claim that the squad is weaker through the sale of Perch, the loss of Shorey and the loan of Garner to Huddersfield. This is simply untrue, Perch hardly featured last season, Garner was only played out of position and Shorey was never coming to Forest permanently anyway, he used us to get fit, and we used him to cover for our lack of a left back. (Incidentally, we have a much better chance of signing the improving Bertram permanently than we ever had of signing Shorey). On top of this we now have McGugan now showing his tremendous potential, McGoldrick is looking a lot more comfortable than he did last season, and the possible return of Bennett (two left backs, imagine that novelty!) . All we need now is for the strikers to perform and we are well on our way again, and with two players of the quality of Earnie and Dex, that cannot be so far away.
This brings us to the more contentious position of the Manager Billy Davies. Let`s get things straight, Billy does have his irritating side, his after match interviews have always left something to be desired, he has a way of undermining all that has gone before to leave the listener focused in one thing regardless of the score line, and that is Billy Davies. Davies is his own publicist, he tells us in one breath not to believe a word he says to the media, and then makes a statement to make you question everything he has said before. Some say he is trying to get himself dismissed for the compensation ND would have to cough up. I don`t think so. Billy is proud of his team and what they have achieved so far, and let us not forget that Davies always has problems with his Chairman, but this has never prevented him from delivering success on the pitch.
There is no doubting he would try the patience of any employer. Yet on Tuesday night`s radio interview, he said he was committed to managing Nottingham forest FC, that there had been approaches from other clubs and that he was going nowhere until Nottingham Forest have been promoted to the premier league. Billy is ambitious, he knows what he wants, and he knows he can achieve it with Forest soon, but it depends on a number of things. It is my belief that the failure to improve the squad over the last two transfer windows has been double edged, with the TAP not wanting to go beyond it`s remit and BD refusing all alternatives and loans. Let`s not forget though that the TAP have been outbid for Barker by Derby, and upset Doncaster so much that Mills went to Reading, the TAP`s failures are not always disasters for NFFC.
Some posters reserve their deepest bile for the owner Nigel Doughty, the insults the man receives would make Tony Blair feel loved. We are constantly told that he has lied to us, that he has 'shafted` Billy Davies and ourselves by 'forcing us` to buy season tickets. The examples used are ridiculous, including the slogan 'We are serious about promotion are you?` This is an advertising slogan, just the same as 'Beanz meanz Hienz` and` You can`t get quicker than a Quickfit fitter` All advertising is based in half truths and spin, beans doesn`t necessarily mean Heinz and you definitely CAN get quicker than a Quickfit fitter. The difference here is that Forest were selling something to people who already knew they wanted to buy, something they knew they enjoy, the matchday experience at Nottingham Forest, where at the City Ground, you cannot complain about the product, with twenty seven games without a loss.
Doughty has been accused of mendacity over his 'Stella signings` quote, a term that has haunted him ever since, but where is the evidence that he has lied? We`ve had post`s from Jom and others telling of ND`s anger when money was returned to him in January. If this were the case then would he not have been equally angered after going on record himself that these targets were in reach? Now we know Doughty was never going to break the bank to get Forest into the top flight, he`d tried that once before and saw where it led. We may never know how near we were to getting Billy`s targets, but to accuse the Chairman of lying because of that failure is plain daft.
This brings us back full circle. We are currently tenth in the league, one point off the play-offs and yet to hit any kind of form. We have one of the best squads in the division, a group of young talented players that are still learning, what they can achieve together may surprise a few of you. If there are problems between owner and Manager, they are of the usual nature for a Billy Davies tenure. Doughty knew what he was getting when he set him on.