Date:Saturday October 1 2011
Earlier this week a message was circulated around the various Nottingham Forest forums, stating that a group of supporters were organising a protest, to highlight 12 years of mismanagement at the club. It called on those supporters who felt the need for change had come, to assemble outside the club shop at 1.30pm ahead of the match with Birmingham City, to voice their concerns to the club. Whether that is the best place for a protest or not is debatable, but some fans have definitely had enough and will be demanding that changes have to be made.
There are a multitude of issues that are cause for concern amongst a large number of the Nottingham Forest supporter base at present and this has given rise to uncertainty about what fans are actually up in arms about and what direction or purpose any protest would serve. Whether those concerns lie with the management, players, coaching staff, or the board, the one overriding fact and inescapable truth amidst the current disharmony inside and outside the club, is that the vast majority of fans want to see the immediate resignation, or sacking of the clubs` CEO Mark Arthur.
Not every Forest fan will be in favour of protesting and there are some who will see it as detrimental to the players on the pitch, or have a negative effect on the club. I can`t speak for anyone else, but I do believe there is a sizeable section of the fanbase who have seen enough over the past 12 years under the chairmanship of Nigel Doughty, to have come to the opinion that enough is enough. To those supporters who feel any protest is futile, I`d say fair enough, don`t take part. To those supporters that feel the time is right for change, I say stand up and be counted and to make your voice heard. I would never question the fact Nigel Doughty is a fan of the club, or that his intentions have been nothing less than good, but from the day he took control, the decline and demise of NFFC has only got steadily and progressively worse.
When Nigel Doughty took control of the club in 2002, his stated aim and ambition, was to make the club self sufficient and to achieve and retain Premiership status. Far from achieving either of those goals, the club has seen the debt to the chairman rise to a staggering £100m (according to Mark Arthur) in the 12 years he has been in charge, as well as spending 3 tortuous years in League 1. For such a high level of investment, it's turned to nothing less than a spectacular level of failure. In all that time, 11 managers have come and gone, each one being blamed for furthering the decline of the club. The one constant during all that time and the person ultimately responsible has to be the CEO, under the instruction and guidance of the chairman. As CEO, Mark Arthur is in charge of the day to day running of the club and as such, he controls the finances and he has the final say on who comes and goes from the club. He is the public face of NFFC and is responsible for the current unrest. He is also the man who ultimately takes the flak when anything goes wrong. Whilst the buck should land with Nigel Doughty, he is the man allowing Mark Arthur to throw his money out of the window. Nigel Doughty, whether we like it or not, is also the man we have to thank for merely keeping us in existence. Whilst I would personally like to see him seek alternative investment and to relinquish control of the club, he is the one who owns the club and he is the only one that can implement change.
In the past week, the club has shown itself to be a complete and utter shambles both on and off the pitch. The 5-1 drubbing dished out by Burnley on Tuesday night, was eclipsed with the resignation of Football Consultant David Pleat, the removal from his post of Sports Psychologist Bill Beswick and further threats from the manager Steve McClaren, to stand down if matters do not improve. It is my sincere and honest opinion that there is alot wrong with our club and that the time to tell the club we want action is now. It`s long overdue. We can stand by and trust Mark Arthur to back the manager as he promised he would and we can stand by and trust him to sort the troubles out. The history from his 10 years at the club suggests that neither will happen unless supporters stand up and demand that changes are made. Nigel Doughty will do well to listen to those supporters voicing concerns, otherwise the numbers of those opting to vote with their feet and stay away from the ground are only going to grow. Relieving Mark Arthur of his duties, will go a long way to bringing discontented fans back on board and finally give the club a chance to move forward and progress. If the future for NFFC means we have to make further financial cutbacks, then as chairman, Nigel Doughty needs to tell us that, but more importantly, he also needs to tell the manager as well.
The future for NFFC unless changes are made is very bleak. We have seen it before and should learn from mistakes made in the past. We can stand by and do nothing, or we can stand up and be counted and let the club know we are not happy with how it`s being run. For those that don`t want to protest....don`t. But for those that do, then turn up and make your voice heard. Above all else. Make sure it is peaceful. Any disorder will make protesting meaningless. Whilst I`m not organising the protest, I am 100% in support of it and would urge any Forest fan who feels the same to do so.
Date:Saturday October 1 2011
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