Aside from the cartoonish anti-English fanbases (which admittedly is met with interest by the English fans hosting them), it’s not often you hear of harmony between the two biggest Welsh clubs playing in the English leagues. Very much like ourselves and our dear neighbours down the A52, there may be the odd notable exception upon which they can agree – but, for the most part, they just don’t like one another very much.
Step forward Mark Arthur, whose extraordinary outburst on Radio Nottingham in the build-up to the Burnley game (being en route to Burnley, this means I missed it) has given the two clubs some common ground of aggrievance. The Reds chief executive basically stated that Cardiff’s Peter Whittingham and Swansea’s Darren Pratley wanted to sign for the Reds – a peculiar reversal to Forest’s usual policy of keeping transfer business frustratingly quiet, and questionable both on professional and moral grounds.
The local media are reporting that both players have yet to sign new contracts with their respective clubs – which might lend some credence to Mark Arthur’s claims – but even if it’s true, it suggests that Forest have been in contact with either players or their representatives, which sounds very much like the ‘tapping up’ accusations being led by Dave Jones in particular. Whilst I would really like us to sign both players, it has left me rather uncomfortable with this latest development.
Of course, given their debt-dodging/delaying antics over the summer it’s difficult to take a representative of Cardiff City taking any moral highground over professional conduct, admittedly in different circumstances. However, two wrongs don’t make a right and I’m still left wondering what on earth has gotten into Arthur to have gone so far against the usual Forest policy when pursuing players. Certainly it will prove interesting to see what happens over coming weeks because you can bet that both the Welsh clubs will be very reticent to deal with Forest now.
Reports from Radio Nottingham suggest that – if Kelvin Wilson is fit to play – Tuesdays trip to Bradford will see us only have 13 outfield players available due to international call-ups. That, if nothing else, underlines our need for reinforcements in a transfer window that has so far seen an equilibrium of incomings and outgoings (if we include Raddy on the incomings). Perhaps it’s those desperation stakes that have lead to this dramatic change in tack from Mark Arthur. I hope he doesn’t make a habit of it, though.
Perhaps we could send him to the Gaza strip to see if he can broker some kind of peace deal there, too?
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