Thursday, 31 January 2013

Forest - A Few Thoughts

Since the 26th December, something strange has been happening in the bowels of the City Ground. The decision to sack O'Driscoll (in my opinion, a terrible decision on footballing and moral terms) was made with the excuse that results hadn't been good enough. Of course, the fans (and the manager, players, staff) had been sold the story that this was to be a 3-5 year project; where SO'D could craft a squad capable of taking us back up. A lot of us didn't expect a season of anything other than consolidation, but after the 26th December something seemed to change. Goalposts had shifted. Results weren't good enough, despite being a point off the play-offs. SO'D was shipped out. In came McLeish.

Now, McLeish wasn't an overly popular appointment at first. His record at Villa loomed large over previous achievements with Birmingham and Rangers. But, fans were willing to give him time and patience, to see whether he could succeed. Then, out of nowhere, three members of backroom staff were sacked and/or walked (details still uncertain). Keith Burt - the chief scout and head of player acquisitions; Mark Arthur - the (often maligned) former chief executive, and maybe most tellingly of all, Frank Clark - a club legend who had won the played for the club, managed the club, and steered the club through difficult times. All disposed of, with no explanation given.

Still, people saw a logic. Strip out 'deadwood'. Allow the new owners to install their own men into these positions. They have, so far, not been replaced. This meant entering a transfer window without a head scout, or any connections to sign players. McLeish had it all to do himself. He had been brought in before January in order to be able to bring in his own men. Forest made a few signings, got Ward back on loan; Reyes from West Brom (on loan), Al-Rashidi; but McLeish wanted 3 or 4 more signings. Despite putting in derisory bids, we somehow failed to land anyone. And so in came rumours of a bust up between manager and owner. Maybe this kicked the Al-Hasawi's into action, and signed George Boyd.

Now, George Boyd was apparently desperate to join. He'd turned down Palace (his boyhood club) to join Forest. He arrived and underwent a medical. And failed it, at 10pm, on deadline day - due to having problems with his vision. The club decided that they wanted Boyd on loan instead. He wasn't signed, and (rightly so) Peterborough's MacAnthony took to ripping the club apart.

In a few weeks, after months of sound management behind the scenes, the Al-Hasawi's have turned the club into a laughing stock; with scant credibility left in the footballing world. And with rumours of McLeish having walked, it's yet another day to forget for Forest fans (they're becoming increasingly frequent, no?).

I still think there's a chance this can be fixed - or at least, attempted to.

  1. We deserve frank answers on what the club's aims are this season. Realistic aims that the owners are willing to finance
  2. McLeish (if he's still here) should be allowed to come up with a plan of action to enable those aims to be met, through loan signings and future investment
  3. The reasons for sacking SO'D, Clark, Burt and Arthur (if he was sacked) should be made clear
  4. Long-term plans for the club need to be formulated, which can be sustainably enacted.
I hope something like this happens.

Not holding my breath however.

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