Date:Sunday September 4 2011
Nottingham Forest found themselves splashed all over the back pages of the national press this week, but for all the wrong reasons. Not for the first time in recent years, we appear to have obvious differences between the beliefs of the manager and those of the board. Just days before the end of the summer transfer window, we had our new manager echoing the warnings of his predecessor, in that unless new signings were made, the club would struggle to make progress.
As we all know by now, the closure of the transfer window passed without any of the expected and hoped for new signings. What happened as a result of that failure to bring in any new players, may have come as something of a surprise to the clubs` hierarchy and I dare say, may even have caught them ever so slightly off guard. Within less than 24 hours of the window closing, virtually every national paper were running back page headlines claiming that Steve McClaren was set to walk out on the club. That news was later quickly dispelled and denied by both McClaren himself and the clubs` CEO Mark Arthur on Friday afternoon, in an official statement.
Taken at face value, that official statement made it sound as though both parties were singing from the same hymn sheet and that all was well on both sides. I think you would have to be a little naive and gullible to believe that. Many fans I've spoken to, believe McClaren may even have resigned his post as he threatened to do and that he was persuaded to reconsider by Nigel Doughty and Mark Arthur. Now that`s just hearsay and unfounded speculation, but not too far from the truth in my opinion.
Whether McClaren resigned, or only threatened to do so is immaterial in the short term. What is vitally important and more pressing at this stage, is whether it changes anything with regards to how transfer dealings are conducted at NFFC. I genuinely believe that McClaren at least made a serious threat to resign and the fact that he did may have caught his employers off guard. Whilst the club may have foresaw their manager expressing his concerns following the closure of the window, I don`t think they expected him to get as much media exposure as he did, with his threats to walk out. That`s a little naive of the board if that was the case, because being the former England boss, guarantees a clamouring and news hungry media circus, whenever he opens his mouth. It should have come as no surprise to those that run the club that Steve McClaren is still a big noise and his words are not taken lightly.
Reading the club statement and taking it at face value, will have fans feeling happy and content that all is well and always has been within the corridors of the City Ground. However, the more cynical might be wondering if it`s just a case of papering over the cracks. If the club haven`t given the manager assurances that funds will be made available and that he will get the backing he was told he would get, then it is only a matter of time before this whole saga erupts again.
Looking on the bright side, I hope it means that McClaren has been given assurances that things will change. I hope the club have told he will get the backing he has not only asked for, but requires to deliver their remit of promotion to the Premiership this year. If not, then as this manager has said and the one before him too, the club can`t possibly compete and an uncertain future lies ahead.
Date:Sunday September 4 2011
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