Time to plant the Forest again

Thomas Rooney brings us his views on the goings on at The City Ground.

For those of you that have read my pieces on here before, you will know that I am a massive Norwich City fan. I wanted to discuss something different today though – Steve McLaren and Nottingham Forest.

Actually, just quickly, I can’t resist a quick mention of all things Norwich. To be honest, us Canaries are fairly happy with life at the moment. The only really disappointing result was the 1-0 defeat against West Brom a few weeks ago.

However, since then, we have beaten Bolton and Sunderland and held our own at Old Trafford. In fact, if we had taken our chances against the Premier League champions, we would have got at least a point, something we deserved on reflection.

It means we have only lost three games this season. The disappointing defeat to West Brom and then to Chelsea and Manchester United – both away, both positive performances despite the defeats. Swansea at Carrow Road is next up – a massive game for us. Bring it on.

Anyway, back to McLaren. When he was appointed, I was actually convinced that he would do a decent job.

Of course many would say I have been proven wrong now that he has resigned after a poor start, but isn’t it just that? A poor start? How can 10 games be enough to judge how things are going?

Obviously I haven’t seen many Forest games this year, but I know that they are a fantastic club with some excellent young players and to see them in somewhat of a crisis after their chairman resigned too is disappointing.

There is a case to suggest this is Forest’s doing of course. Did they make promises to McLaren about transfer dealings that never came through? Should they have backed their man a bit more? It really is a messy situation and one which they need to resolve quickly if they are to have anything like a successful campaign.

Online soccer betting pundits note how McLaren has reportedly told the club that he won’t be after any compensation despite leaving the job so soon after joining and this is of course a bonus for Forest, but is saving money what it is all about? Shouldn’t ambition be the name of the game?

There do seem to be more questions than answers at this stage and perhaps that is the problem. There are even more when you consider what is next for Forest. After 10 games of the Championship season they sit just above the relegation zone without a manager or chairman.

It all goes back to sacking Billy Davies. Was this really the right move? He was developing a young side year by year and reached the play-offs twice. Surely if McLaren was the man to take the team forward instead he should have been given more financial backing?

The slate has been wiped clean for Forest and perhaps this will help move them into a new, more successful era, but the timing of it is horrendous and some damage control needs to be done for sure.

You can follow Thomas on Twitter here.


  1. For me it is not just about ambition. It is about building a club that is actually worth supporting in a football world that is infatuated with money rather than competition. What is the point of supporting clubs like Forest who can never hope to compete at the top of the game which has been colonised by the wealthy few? We can target promotion but life in the Premier League can be pretty miserable when survival at any cost – financial or in terms of style of play – is the only objective.
    In that environment we need something else to believe in and that means fostering a club identity. To get there we need a consistent structure, style of play, approach to youth development and relationship with those who care about the club – whether they be fans, former players and managers and so on. We need to be a club with shared aspirations on a shared journey.
    Yes football is all about winning but as Juanma Lillo constantly reminds us there is a paradox in that statement. The result is just a statistic and there is nothing to move us in a statistic. The aim is to win, the driving force is to win, but ultimately it is the journey that excites us not the result which can change on a whim. We must target the Premier League because that is the point but if we do not believe in the approach we take to getting there it is ultimately futile.
    I admit to being somewhat cynical after the years of chopping and changing that has taken place at the City Ground but a Technical Director such as Frank Clark or Paul Hart alongside a young manager with good passing credentials, such as Robinson or Tisdale, is the beginnings of a vision that could be worth buying into. Add to that a return to internal development of players and also coaches – such as John Pemberton and Chris Fairclough who both came through the youth academy coaching ranks to do well at first team level – and we begin to build a club.
    I still don’t entirely trust Forest right now but I hope we are starting to take those first steps to renewal. Time will tell.

  2. As you haven’t seen Forest at all this season, we have been awful – plain awful totally unrecognisable from the team of the previous two seasons. Its not a case that we have played well and been unlucky, we have been bad and are probably higher than we deserve (if you can believe it). McClaren was bought in to further develop our acclaimed academy players, he waxed lyrical over Lascelles and Freeman during preseason and then promptly ignored them . He was supposed to bring in exciting young talent instead he brought in tired old journeymen looking for a last payday (Greening, Boetang, Reid) or players that couldn’t get a game with their own club (Darbyshire, Miller). He disposed of our successful coaching staff and brought in pschycological guru Bill “Mr Demotivator” Beeswick. At a game when we were playing one of the few teams that were actually as bad as ourselves we played 8 defensive/holding players – yep thats the tactic to win games. He was happy to play our best midfielder out of position as a left back (until a season ending injury), he goes out and signs a left back (Hill) then promptly plays him at centre half. He drops our international right back (Gunter) and replaces him with another centre half whos played like a sack of spuds. Maybe if I was Doughty and I’d seen the dross he’d brought in and his total lack of knowledge of what it takes in the championship I wouldn’t let him loose with my cheque book either (he’s been there before with Platt). So before deciding that poor little Schteve was hung out to dry remember there are two sides to every story. Villa fans – you were right – this man should not be let near a golf club let alone an football club. The damage he has done might see us yet in league 1 again.

  3. One swallow doesn’t make a summer – No home win all season (the only home “victory” as such in the league cup was on penalties – even in that game we were out played by Notts County), losing at home to 10 man Derby, being thrashed by Burnley, capitualtion to a weak Birmingham side. This season had all the hallmarks of a relegation season (we’ve seen enough of them). At least McClaren has gone early and there is time for 1. survival, 2. respectibility.

    1. McLaren is an enigma – he was one of the most foreward thinking coaches in the country and one of the reasons behind Man Utd’s success in the late 90’s early 00’s….he transformed a Middlesborough side, and then did a great job on a shoestring at Twente….but then he had no idea how to get the best from the England team (although a goal away to Israel would have taken us through to Euro2008), was out of his depth in Germany and then this with Forest…..bizarre…

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