WHILST HAVING no allegiances, I’m an interested observer of the local football scene and certainly both Nottingham clubs Forest and County find themselves in turbulent times once again, without a manager after various events over the past few days. Notts appear to be indulging their old ‘graveyard of managers’ tag while their counterparts across the Trent seem to be eagerly trying to relieve the Magpies of that title, now searching for their fourth manager in a ridiculously short period of time.
Forest manager, Alex McLeish’s departure was very much on the cards after the debacle of last Friday’s transfer deadline day over prospective signing, George Boyd. If those events hadn’t been the catalyst it seems there would have soon been another trigger to a similar outcome at the City Ground. McLeish had refused to comment to the press last weekend making it obvious he was considering his future.
I’ve no sympathy for McLeish, arguably a despicable character at best it seems and one who shafted my own club, Hibs royally, but the new Forest owners really do take the biscuit. The problem is that the club were in a very vulnerable position after former owner Nigel Doughty passed away and the Al-Hasawi family who took stewardship of the club came along at an opportune time. One of the first things we heard about them in Nottingham was that they were going to bring some players for ‘trials’ with them from Kuwait when they came to the club. For me, the writing was on the wall right there. They appear to know absolutely nothing about football but behave as though they do – a bad mix.
After the Al-Hasawi family claimed they were going to bring in an ‘iconic’ figure as the new manager they brought in the relatively modest Sean O’Driscoll – a good football man, respected by many who seemed like a very good, sensible and pragmatic choice. He was not the big name manager they had promised though. McLeish turned them down at that point too.
O’Driscoll was popular with the Forest faithful. Progress was steady and inconsistency somewhat prevalent however I believe a majority considered that he should be given time to build the club up. I certainly did. It appears that the large egos and ignorance of the Forest board led to them severing O’Driscoll’s contract to bring in their ‘big name’ and to push forward their game plan from one of consolidation and steady progress to ‘ensuring’ promotion.
Forest have a large squad which friends who are regular attenders tell me is ‘much of a muchness’. There is arguably little in the way of Premiership class within that large squad. In the meantime, the owners ‘fiddle while Rome burns’ spending money on two unwanted large screens for the City Ground and nothing in the way of players.
McLeish will surface out of this, reputation intact as he always does. I feel that Forest have much more major turbulence ahead though.