Sunday, 12 June 2011

I'll Fetch My Umbrella

I've read more than my share of press releases this week, having just finished 5 days of work experience at the Leicester Mercury, and some were almost painfully dull, pretty much beyond turning into interesting news articles, but none frustrated or depressed me as much as a 46 word press release I stumbled across this afternoon.

It was on the Nottingham Forest official website and the first half read:

Nottingham Forest have announced this afternoon that they have terminated the contract of manager Billy Davies with immediate effect.

Now this didn't come as a particularly big surprise but it does frustrate me. There's been plenty of speculation as to whether Davies had a future at the club after another season of bickering with the board and eventual disappointment, falling short in the play offs for the second season running.

I myself wrote a post on the topic a few weeks ago and since writing nothing had happened to change my mind that he deserved another 6 months in the job and the full backing of the board. That second part was crucial for two reasons; firstly because our team desperately needs strengthening in several areas if we are to stand a real chance of promotion next year and secondly because if Davies made a few signings he would no longer be able to use that as an excuse and we'd finally have seen whether the problem was a lack of signings or Billy's tactics and attitude. Personally I think it's probably a bit of both but I'll never know for sure now.

Like I said, I feel Davies had earned a few more months to prove himself and Forest as serious contenders but he has spent the past two years publicly mouthing off at every opportunity about the Forest board and being a manager of a football club isn't any different to other lines of employment in that openly and constantly criticising your employer isn't a strong long term strategy.

However part of the reason that I was happy to give him a bit longer was that the market isn't exactly over flowing with replacements that would be improvements on the diminutive Scotsman. There are really only two managers out there who are currently unemployed and were even vaguely likely to be tempted to take up the City Ground post. First up was Chris Hughton, who I feel, as do an awful lot of Newcastle fans, was awfully treated by the Geordie club's owner Mike Ashley. He's a good tactician and an excellent man manager as well as coming across as a true gentlemen in all interviews; exactly the kind of guy I want associated with the club I love. The other option I'd have accepted would be considered ridiculous if it wasn't for his history with the club; Martin O'Neill. The man is a Forest legend for his time at the club as a player and I've read several accounts claiming that he wanted to come and manage the club around the turn of the millennium but couldn't reach an agreement with the board at that time.

Either of those taking the job would have made me feel that perhaps getting rid of Davies was the right move but it doesn't seem that's what the club have in mind.

That brings me to the second half of the press release and the part which really depressed me:

They have also revealed that they are now talking to Steve McClaren about The City Ground vacancy.
The Club will be making no further comment at this stage.

If as seems almost certain McClaren does takes the job (several papers are reporting it as almost a done deal with him due to be unveiled tomorrow) i can't help but see it as at best a sideways move and probably a backwards step. I want to try and reserve judgement, in no small part because initially i wasn't over the moon about Davies appointment 2 and half years ago and he proved me wrong, but i can't deny that my gut reaction reading that news was not positive.

I remember the desperately poor qualifying campaign for Euro 2008 all too well and I have no desire to see that kind of football played every Saturday afternoon by the team I support. I'm repeatedly reminding myself that he has had success at Middlesborough, though as I remember it came while playing painfully dull football, and FC Twente, where I have no idea how they played. I guess what it comes down to is that it's an appointment I just can't muster any excitement about. I can't shake the feeling that the board have decided to go for a manager that will cause them fewer headaches rather than one that will necessarily make us any more likely to gain promotion to the Premier League but only time will tell.

I've written before about the power Nottingham Forest have over me, their ability to make me both incredibly happy and incredibly sad and today's news has highlighted that; in 46 words they managed to make an already gloomy Sunday afternoon become depressing.

Today's song i may have posted before, i know i've definitely posted songs by this band a few times before, but they've sound tracked writing this blog and i am really loving both of their albums.

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