Sticking Plasters


How did we get here so soon? Alas, this is Forest and the latest implosion is normally only ever just around the corner. But I thought we were a little bit away from this sort of defining moment.

I disagree with it, just to be totally clear. It would appear that there were some fundamental differences of opinion between board and the football management but I’m perplexed about the sheer speed from Warburton seemingly being safe and all being well to the moment the axe fell. There wasn’t the usual rumblings or the unrest you’d expect before a sacking.

It’s not a time to panic, the new board have impressed in a very short space of time and will have their reasons behind this call but, sadly, I don’t really care what they are. I don’t want answers; I want to have faith that we are not going to suffocate ourselves again with short term plans. If the justification is not something meteoric then I will remain saddened that we once again find ourselves back here. Square one.

My football club is weak. It has been for a long, long time. It is stained with a fear of failure even though it has been failing for so, so long. It panics, it reacts and, when it really needs to be, it has a woeful inability to be brave. It cannot stick with a project and see it through. It caves at the first major hurdle. It does not solve problems; it merely avoids them and starts again. I long for the current ownership to remedy that.

Repeatedly we have found ourselves in a position where we can choose to be brave or we can crumble and we take the easy, quick fix solution. Some may prefer to describe the word brave as reckless. But is it not reckless to continue to take the same course of action time and time again knowing with certainty that it has not worked umpteen times previously?

This is a frustration that has stacked up over many years. The new ownership cannot be responsible for that but I really hope they can break free from it.  I, along with thousands of others, poured my heart into the fight we faced at the end of last season. We succeeded in helping this club keep its head above water and ensuring survival in this league. Now I am deflated. I will find that spirit again for sure but I become increasingly wary of this cyclical nature that churns me up all because I dare to follow a football team. I don’t demand results, I certainly don’t insist upon perfection but I do want something to get on board with. A philosophy to get behind and a club to be immensely proud of.

I was appalled by the performance against Sunderland. It does, however, make more sense knowing that Frank McParland had left the day before and the players knew it was the end for Warburton too. It was lifeless and it was a demonstration of how a collection of players can be so instrumental in the downfall of a manager.

I don’t excuse Mark Warburton from it, he’s more than culpable but I’m sick of seeing wealthy young footballers having so much power to wield. We have witnessed countless Forest teams fade when the going gets tough and I saw it again on Saturday. There is not one of them I genuinely dislike but collectively I feel let down by them. It pains me that over the coming weeks and months I will be cheering and applauding these players on and this will be forgotten. Because I have to and because some of them will continue to help NFFC move forward. And because the football club I follow and adore is far bigger than any of these individuals and will always retain my support. Therefore so do they. Crazy, I know.

My absolute number one concern as of right now is where on earth does all this end. People have used statistics to argue a point one way or another. It’s all largely bollocks, used without context or back story. The one fact I keep close to hand is that this is Groundhog Day. Oh so many times we’ve been through this. We have for several years been rotten at the core – the incoming Chairman described it last summer as akin to ‘intensive care’. Top to bottom, left to right we are a mess and I can only expect that the new regime have been fighting fires since they arrived.

Everything at a football club is geared towards results on the pitch. A long term malaise like ours does not usually get fixed in a single season, or nine months and one transfer window to be more precise. If we appoint the right candidate and enjoy a high dose of good fortune we might charge to promotion and this episode will be brushed aside. Viewpoints like mine will be laughed at. But it will be in spite of these problems which have been eroding away at our edges for years. We chase a dream. We try and reach the stars without the required levels of rocket fuel or without the necessary safety checks. Sometimes we don’t even have the rocket.

The club is at the very beginning of what I hope is a total overhaul. There must be a shift in mentality and culture, not just in how we operate but how the supporters respond to months of slow and ambling progress if that is what it takes. I worry that a precedent has been set. We are 14th. That’s pretty much where I expected to be. We’ve been awful at times this season but I’ve also seen lots to keep me hopeful. What exactly is our stance if we are here again in a year’s time? Do we rip up another latest project? Are we setting targets of top six or you’re gone? And will the fans demand blood knowing that 14th wasn’t good enough for the last guy?

Or do we acknowledge that sticking plasters are not the answer? That managerial reigns of months rather than years are not the solution and eventually, just maybe we will have to give someone a proper length of time to oversee a comprehensive, bonafide development on the pitch? The inevitable response to this is it needs to be the right man. I will argue that, given everything I have raised above I’m not sure we provide the necessary period for that right man to emerge. We certainly can’t expect to attract the right man and for him to deliver us promotion on a plate immediately.

When you think about it it’s madness being a football fan, especially when your team of choice just so happens to be the craziest football club in the land. I should probably have left it all behind a long time ago. It’s not good for the mind or the heart but, every so often, it’s ruddy good for the soul. And it’s as close to religion as I will ever get. Now, someone pass me a bucketful of faith. I fucking need it.

To the owner, chairman and board you have my total support. As does the new manager whoever he may be (unless it’s Paul Ince).

Happy new year to you all. Up the Reds.