Is Calderwood the one?
he summer of 2006 was always going to be an intriguing summer for Forest supporters. We were on the look out for yet another new manager. Over the years, the Chairman has struggled and failed in finding the right manager. Again fans were worried who was going to be chosen by Nigel Doughty, as clearly he has not had a very good track record in appointments. He always ignored fans choices, for him then to bring in his own man, and then sat silently in his Ivory tower as things went wrong. After Platt there was, Paul Hart, Joe Kinnear and Gary Megson, all of whom failed to turn the club around, leaving us where we are today - in the third tier of English football for a second successive season. They also provided some of the worst football and players the Forest fans had ever seen, we slid down the Football League as the chairman ran the club as if it was in administration after the Platt era put us heavily in debt.
Many names were being banded about, as each week passed in the summer, we heard more and more rumours, it seemed everyone from Roy Keane to Martin O Neil had been seen at the City Ground. Doughty had said he wanted a young and upcoming manager, who had done well in the lower leagues, and who knew all about the great history and tradition of Forest. So many fans felt that meant we could be targeting the likes of Nigel Clough or Brian Laws, who seemed to loosely fit the criteria.
Then out of the blue, Colin Calderwood, (the former Tottenham Hotspur, Scotland and briefly Forest defender), took what he described as 'the job of the summer' when he was appointed to the City Ground hot seat at the end of May. He had guided the Cobblers to automatic promotion last season from League Two and he certainly fitted in with the young and upcoming criteria laid out by the Chairman. Nigel Doughty and Mark Arthur had took there time appointing Colin, and gone out to get as much background information as they could on him. They were very impressed with the feedback they got from many different parties, including Craig Brown and David Pleat (who has long been our Football consultant, before it has become official). It was clear he had a good reputation in the game.
The supporters though (me included) were not exactly overwhelmed with his unveiling, yet at the same time certainly not disappointed either. So a young, up-and-coming manager with a big reputation in the game; Calderwood wasn't the fashionable choice among fans, but in the long run he could well be the best.
Colin always had his eye on the future and by his mid-twenties; he was already taking his coaching badges and absorbed everything around him from every manager he worked under. He ended his playing career at Forest, with a handful of games at the heart of defence with a young, on-loan John Terry. He was also at the City Ground during the frustrating time of the dismal David Platt era, which meant he had experienced at first hand the club's gradual decline, before hanging up his boots. After only 2½ years at Northampton Town and a stint as reserve coach at Tottenham, the 41-year-old admits that he is still learning. His Northampton side were known for being tight at the back and trying to play an attractive passing game.
It has soon become clear Colin Calderwood is a manager that players will like, and in return he will back them to the hilt. In one of his early interviews he said 'We want to create a huge team spirit and will to win, with everyone working their socks off for each other,' he continued. 'Forging that unit, getting them to believe that whatever happens in the game they won't get beat - for me that's as important as anything you do tactically or physically.'
He wasn't worried about working under Brian Cloughs shadow either, and he quickly embraced our fine history and tradition of playing football. He claimed, 'That's what makes it such a good job. The trophies in the cabinet, the ground and the large support base are why the players and I want to work here, and those things are largely a result of Clough's time here.' He certainly started off saying all the right noises and sound bites etc, and he has continued that way.
As it stands, we are still very much in the honeymoon period under Colin. We have won our first four league games with the new man at the helm, (which as any Forest fan will tell you is very refreshing). We had our first little tiff when we lost in the league cup to Accrington Stanley. It is now interesting to see how the team bounces back against Huddersfield.
Now the new manager has established himself, along with David Pleat, David Kerslake, Ian MacParland and David Watson, I do believe the backroom is now one of the best we have had for a few years, and can take the club forward to bright new era.
The manager is still having to do miracles with the majority of players that Gary Megson brought to the club. Thus far, (and with a fair bit of luck) he has got the best out of the players. The game against Accrington Stanley, proved the new manager is human, and not some Super manager who has come in to win every game his team plays.
Not everything is as rosy as we hoped it would be and make no doubts about it Colin has still got a lot of work ahead of him to make sure we reach our one and only target.... Promotion. I hope he gets fully backed by the chairman to help the manager achieve his first goal!
As for a future goal, the courteous and charming Calderwood has never attempted to hide his ambition. 'I want to be a Premiership manager,' he said. 'And if I'm successful here I have the opportunity to realise that goal without moving to another club.'
Forest for the Premiership? Calderwood, if he could, but there's a long way to go, lets all hope Colin Calderwood is the one to achieve it. I for one wish him the best of luck!
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