They say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m not sure who they are, or why they say that so much – but apparently they do. It’s perhaps a succinct way to mark the departure of Nigel Doughty as Forest chairman after ten years. It’s undeniable we’ve seen some disappointing times in the last decade.
I’m not going to engage in the sometimes disgracefully personal and willfully ignorant debate (from whatever stance you take) that goes on regarding his tenure – it seems fruitless. I do think it’s fair to say that he took on Forest at a time when we needed someone to pick up a mess that ultimately our greedy committee members had left us in.
There’s little point in denying there have been plenty of mistakes along the way – an early one perhaps proving a significant barrier to making some bolder decisions in the future. The final mistake in moving heaven and earth to acquire Steve McClaren was the straw that broke the camel’s back – when the Wally walked, Nigel fell on his brolly.
Whilst there’s lots of talk of takeovers, I’m not sure that’s likely in the current climate – but not impossible. Doughty has put Forest in the hands of Seymour Pierce – an investment bank (who also have other clubs on ‘their books’ apparently) to handle any potential new-owner approaches. I wonder if I’m the only one who absent mindedly fantasised about the owner handing Forest over to an S Pearce. Oh, just me then!
Given some of the vitriol directed both his way and towards his family (both his kids use Twitter), I’m quite pleased for him that he’s taken a full step backwards. I’m not suggesting fans shouldn’t have the right to register their dissatisfaction or protest – but only in an appropriate way, and as ever some folks seem to take it too far.
That he’ll honour his liabilities and leave Forest ostensibly debt free ultimately means that he leaves Forest in the league pyramid roughly where he found them – but in considerably better shape financially. With the constant talk of financial fair play, however, it casts a lot of doubt over those players whose contracts will end in the summer and whether we will be able to offer similar terms for new ones.
With our aim to become self-sustaining this points to a number of factors we need to consider – we need to grow our revenue, which could be achievable through supporters (tricky) or perhaps player sales. We need to reduce our outgoings – the bulk of which is player wages. Reduced contracts all round? Can’t see many players enjoying that too much.
Let’s hope the talk of the academy facilities bears considerable fruit – because it could be a pipeline of talent both on more manageable wages, and it might of course also provide us with saleable assets. Ultimately we are very quickly needing to get accustomed to cutting our cloth to fit a business model that does not include an end-of-year book-balancing exercise.
So it’s a fond farewell from me to Nigel Doughty. I completely agree that under his stewardship there have been some monumental errors, but there have been some good times too. One of my acquaintances of a certain age always reminds me when I bemoan missing the glory years: “D’you know what? I celebrated that game against Yeovil with just as much joy and ferocity as the trips I made to Munich and Madrid back in the day”.
He meant the league game against Yeovil where promotion to the Championship was won, of course, not the play-off game! It’s an interesting perspective, because y’know what – that was a magical afternoon. He was right. But let’s not go back down to the third tier to experience it again, that’s all I’m saying!