Date:Sunday February 18 2007
Calls for the resignation of the Chairman, the manager and the tealady are echoing round the corridors of the City Ground today, after yet another fruitless away trip at Brighton and Hove Albion. Now is the time for Forest players to stand up and be counted and to do the job they are paid for. They are the ones who will get us promoted and they are the ones who will get the blame if we don't.
Calls for resignations are way off the mark and premature to say the least. These are nothing more than knee jerk reactions to yet another humiliating defeat away from home. Statistics can be made to look as good or bad as you want to make them and in Forest's case you can make them look very bad indeed. We have not won away from home in over two months (the last time being the impressive 4-1 victory at Crewe). But, if you look further into the stats, you will see that we have had only two wins away from home since October.
Nottingham Forest have without question got the strongest and best equipped squad in the division for promotion, but on an almost weekly basis we seem to see them under perform. This is not the fault of the wrong team selection or bad management, but rather an inability and unwillingness on the players part to do their jobs. For too long now the players of this great club have not had the pride or passion that should be a prerequisite of putting on a Red shirt. Any blame for the results we are having should fall squarely at their feet and no one else's. This is not the fault of the manager or anyone else. It is not the fault of bad team selection and it is not the fault of bad preparation. It is the fault of those individuals who call themselves footballers, some of whom could be prosecuted under the trade descriptions act for fraud. But they do have time to put things right and make us eat our words.
There are still fourteen games left for the players to achieve what is a minimum requirement for this season and that is promotion. If they have any self respect, pride or ambition, this should be a realistic possibility. I have every faith in Colin Calderwood and his staff and feel sure that he will get these underachievers to come good. But if the players felt the boos against Northampton were unjust, then that is nothing to what might be heard against Blackpool on Tuesday if they serve up more of the same. Us supporters though should also realise that we have a roll to play and we should support and encourage them, instead of berating and booing them.
This season is far from over and promotion is still the goal. Fourth place and five points behind the leaders would have been good enough for most of us before the season started, but we held an undeserved and flattering position of being seven points clear at one stage, that led us all into a false sense of belief. The players have time to put this latest setback behind them and to deliver what is expected. All that is required on their part is that they do their jobs. We will support them in our thousands as we have done so all along, all that is asked is that they have the same pride and passion as we do and that they do what they are paid to do.
The phrase 'must win game' is much over used in football terms, but Tuesday nights match against Blackpool has taken on extra significance after the Brighton game. This game could be a turning point in our season. What direction it will take us no one knows yet. The players are the only ones who can give us the answer and that could come as early as Tuesday. It's all up to them.
Date:Sunday February 18 2007
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