It seems odd that one day each year, English folk all around the country get sloshed and start singing a Scottish song – but in honour of our our manager, perhaps it’s okay for us Forest fans. 2007 has, on balance, been a pretty shit year for the Reds – with the odd highlight interspersed with a generous portion of misery. So, what have we learned in 2007 that will make 2008 more prosperous?
January – in January we learned that we don’t like travelling to Boundary Park – the start of the rot that was to topple us from the top of the league and into the lottery of the play offs. Scary isn’t it? We learned that letting a key playmaker (Nicky Southall) leave, and not replacing him, was a pretty major error in judgement.
February – in February we learned that Smoulderwood was already under serious doubts from some sections of our fans, in the months that have followed, I would conservatively estimate that the balance is swinging further – and not in his favour. By the end of February we’d dropped to third, a full ten points behind Scunthorpe with a game in hand.
March – Smoulds amazed us early March with claims in the Evening Post that the title was still achievable for Forest, in the aftermath of an away draw with in-form leaders Scunthorpe. Bristol in the meantime showed signs of slipping in March, engendering false hope in Forest fans that there could be the opportunity to reclaim an automatic promotion spot.
April – April taught us that Neil Harris can score goals, indeed, he scored one against us which was one of the many contributions of our condemnation to the playoffs. Forest followed this up with a dire home draw against relegated Rotherham, pretty much handing second place to the Robins and consigning us to the play offs.
May – May never happened. La la la, I can’t hear you, la la la la – la la la. Oh, okay then, we learned we can’t play under pressure, despite being at home and having a two goal headstart! Let’s leave it at that, I don’t want to remember any more!!
June – we learned in June that the powers-that-be at Forest are a bit silly, for they organised preseason friendlies with Notts County, and more importantly gave the Derby fans an early opportunity to gloat about the contrasting fortunes of the two sides. We also signed Neil Lennon, and discovered outlandish plans for a completely unnecessary ground move.
July – having failed to beat Yeovil, we signed half their midfield – and so Cohen and Davies arrived at Trentside. We beat the Sadpies, with pitch-invasions from a bunch of 14 year old chavs causing Colin Slater to nearly lose his dentures, then predictably were comfortably beaten by Derby, allowing them to keep the ill-conceived ‘Brian Clough Trophy’ until we meet them again.
August – we learned, or some of us learned, some decency despite playing a purported rival – when Clive Clarke suffered cardiac arrest at half time in a cup tie with Leicester City. Before this we learned that Leeds are spawny bastards, condemning us to defeat with late goal-scoring feats that have seemed to be the story of their season so far!
September – we learned in September that Smoulds is still a reluctant transferrer as the deadline passed. We learned that we would play Villa in the next round of the cup if we beat Leicester, which pretty much guaranteed the ‘bottler reflex’ would kick in and Forest would fuck it up – which they duly did! I also met Stan Collymore in September, and learned he was a charming chap.
October – a quiet month on the blog, the first of two disappointing defeats to Luton happened in October, which – as we’ll see in December – wasn’t learned from. The main point of interest in October was the mysterious and singular disappearance of Neil Lennon from Nottingham, sorting out some familial issues north of the border.
November – improvements on the pitch early in the month gave us some much needed points, Smoulds won manager of the month (then later donated his award to charity via an eBay auction – which was very nice of him!). Gary Megson was the first rat out of sinking Leicester, and the new Bolton man was duly linked with any vaguely decent player we have. I would say we learned it, but pretty much all of us knew it anyway, but Steve McClaren was finally sacked, anyway!
December – a draw with Liverpool if we beat Luton basically guaranteed we wouldn’t do it, and we didn’t do it. We also learned the Walsall curse is still alive and well. As a reminder for the first thing we learned in January, we re-learned that Oldham’s not a nice place to go, and the final thing we learned was that if we go to Gillingham and don’t put our chances away, we could well get spanked in the second half!
So it’s been an interesting, if not positive, year in following the Reds – obviously this is a potted history, if you want more detail click the various months in the right hand column to see the various musings and events that might have happened. All in all, despite Smoulderwood often talking of “learning from” difficult encounters, reviewing 2007 has shown me that that is the very thing we’ve struggled to do.
Here’s to a better 2008 on the pitch for the Reds, and of course off the pitch to you all – Happy New Year! I’m off to the pub, now! You Reds!