Date:Thursday April 12 2007
I have had a lot of thinking time over the last few weeks and there has been a lot to think about to be honest. Recent results and events have provided much food for thought for the long suffering supporters of Nottingham Forest. The fall out from recent poor performances has resulted in a lot of fans playing the blame game, with everyone from Nigel Doughty to Joseph Stalin taking the blame for our indifferent form (ok I made the last one up but you get the idea).
First of all there is the manger. Colin has been heavily criticised for the way the team has approached certain key games in the last few weeks with gripes over negative tactics and strange substitutions coming to the fore. The Bristol City game was a case in point as the team selection and tactics came under close scrutiny after a 1-1 stalemate in a game many thought we had to win. There was further criticism after the visit to the Den where a lacklustre performance resulted in a miserable 1-0 defeat made more miserable by the 'cider heads` draw with Swansea. So, Monday came and 3 points was considered to be a fore gone conclusion against a Rotherham team on the brink of relegation and shipping goals like nobody`s business. The team lined up as many people have been asking for over the recent months with no Gary Holt, Tyson reinstated up front and McGugan and Prutts in the middle. However, this was a truly diabolical performance against a team who in all fairness, would have won with better finishing. So, is it the manager`s fault? In some ways his tactics are negative and yes there are some strange substitutions but I also remember very similar bizarre decisions from the man in the green jersey a few years back. Who can remember wondering why he picked Brian Rice and Gary Crosby for so many years? Calderwood has not brought in the majority of these players but without spending much money he has managed to get us to third and within spitting distance of the automatic promotion places. Yes the football is dull and uninspiring at times, but this is not his team and more time must be given to a man who might yet get us into the championship at the first time of asking.
So, perhaps we can blame the chairman? He picks the managers he controls the purse strings, surely the buck stops with him doesn`t it? Well yes to a point. He has let us down in the past when maybe he could have released more cash or picked a better man but ultimately he has picked managers that not too many of us would have argued with at the time if we were honest? We have also spent a lot of money on transfers and wages considering our lowly status when you think about it. When he appointed Megson many of us were not thrilled but realised that he was the best of a 'not so great` bunch. There are always moans and groans about the lack of money spent or the fact that he has only 'loaned` forest the money but I ask you, where is the alternative? Where is the saviour or Russian billionaire waiting in the wings? Answer? There is no bloody saviour out there as things stand, lest we forget how close we came to having the Trent End turned into an Aldi all those years ago.
Finally there is ourselves, the fans. We cannot be to blame surely, we have kept the club going for the last 10 years and supported through thick and thin. Well, we have supported our club magnificently over the years it has to be said but are we free from blame? I don`t think we are personally. Sometimes people forget we were a relatively small provincial club that over achieved for many years because we had one of the greatest managers that ever graced the Earth. We have reached a very low ebb in our history, possibly the lowest ever but it is not far from where we were when the great man took over in the mid 70`s when you think about it. The current crop of players are far from blameless and I have vented spleen many a time at the CG over the years. However, sometimes there is the arrogance, this theory that we have a god given right to beat sides that we consider inferior. Rightly or wrongly, this can soon manifest itself as moronic chanting and barracking of the players. Booing during the first 20 minutes of a game, taking pot shots at players who are low in confidence but in actual fact are merely scapegoats, somehow thinking it will improve their game. It is not behaviour befitting of the term 'fan`.
The bottom line is that collectively we all must accept some of the blame for this situation. The manager gets it wrong sometimes, the chairman gets it wrong sometimes and so do we. But, we are still in a with a good chance of promotion this season, even with the troubles and injuries to key players we have, so lets keep some perspective here. Let`s get behind the sods for those last 4-7 games of the season and maybe give ourselves something to smile about during this summer. Maybe then we can walk around on the beach this summer with our Forest shirts on and be proud of our great club achieving something again.
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