Incentive schmentive!!

I’m in a slightly cynical frame of mind, so bear with me – but Forest have released news today of an ‘incentive’ scheme in relation to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – something, it’s fair to say, that hasn’t exactly captured Reds fans imaginations just yet.  Basically, keep hold of your ticket stub for the next round against Bristol City or any subsequent rounds, and you’re prioritised to get a cup final ticket, should we reach it, of course.

This is a good thing, in many ways – although slightly harsh on those fans who braved the trip to Gillingham, or indeed, shivered in the City Ground for the Brentford home tie – showing more commitment than the vast majority of fans.  Should we make the final, and I guess that this kind of announcement suggests Forest are indeed taking the competition seriously, then I’d estimate there’d be around 30,000 tickets available – now given the attendances so far in the JPT, I imagine most of them are probably already season ticket holders – we have circa 10,000 season ticket holders, I really can’t see there being too much of a supply/demand/prioritisation issue.

I reckon we could rustle up 30,000 fans for a cup final, indeed, I’m quite enamoured by the idea of seeing Forest play at the Millennium Stadium with tens of thousands of trickies in attendance – but well, I dunno, the cynical side of me sees this as a preemptive strike by the club to generate a bit of extra interest in the Bristol City game, both to boost the attendance, and perhaps to try to gloss over the £15 price tag that is still in force for this game – although according to the official site, once again only the Main Stand will be open to Forest fans for the game, so they’re not expecting too many!

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Forest: Deal or no deal?

Deal or no dealI’m a bit slow off the mark with this news, but basically Forest are reportedly hanging fire on offering new deals to players out of contract in the summer, awaiting clarity on which league we’ll be playing in – which makes sense.  The Evening Post used the ‘Deal or no deal’ headline and it forms the template for this little exercise, 14 players are out of contract in the summer – I’ve picked ten of them, I think you can guess the rest… basically, of those ten players, if I were to have the decision to make, would I give them Deal, or No Deal?

There is an extra level of complexity, which makes the gambling by Forest make a bit more sense, in my opinion – and that is that five of the players in question are under 24, and this means that they can’t talk to other clubs until May, when we’ll know our fate, and even if they did opt to leave for somewhere else, we will be entitled to compensation – admittedly, the compensation is likely to be pants, but anyway!

  • Kris Commons – a no-brainer (as in an easy decision, I’m not saying Kris has no brain!), arguably our most talented player, and certainly capable of playing in the division above, as he is under 24, it makes sense to wait before offering him a new deal, but he is most certainly a DEAL.
  • James Perch – Perchy is another under 24 player, and he’s thrived this season – moving from defence to midfield has done him a real favour, and whilst he comes in for criticism for some quarters, I’ve rated his contribution this season, and would like very much to see him here longer term. DEAL.
  • John Thompson – the utility player has recently gone to Tranmere on loan, whilst I’ve been a fan of his in the past, he appears to have developed into a jack of all trades, and a master of none – unless something very surprising happens post Christmas with him, then I would be tempted to dispense with is services. NO DEAL.
  • Ross Gardner – he came from Newcastle with much promise, and has had a fairly minimal impact – he has looked a promising box to box midfielder in the spells he has had in the side, but injuries and lack of first team football try my patience – this decision should really be made once we see whether he features again after recovering from his injury, but for now it has to be: NO DEAL.
  • Spencer Weir-Daley – the lightweight striker has banged goals in for the reserves, but he doesn’t half remind me of Craig Westcarr in many ways, I feel I can’t really make an educated comment on him because I’ve hardly seen him play – however, if he isn’t starting to force his way into first team reckoning (and is that likely, given our striker glut at the moment?), then the default decision would have to be: NO DEAL.
  • Neil Harris – I like Neil Harris, I admire his workrate, his professionalism and his attitude.  I don’t like fans who call him ‘Colin Calderwood’s golden boy’ and the like.  But for all that, he frustrates me on the pitch, and I can’t really see what gives him a starting place over other players, so I think it would be time for Neil to seek pastures new. NO DEAL.
  • Jack Lester – everyone has a soft spot for Jack, at least everyone who witnessed THAT equaliser against his namesakes at the City Ground.  Now in his second spell, I haven’t seen the Jack of old recently, plenty of diving, plenty of petulence, plenty of bookings – I’m not sure Jack is really performing at an exceptional League One level, if we were promoted I don’t think he’d make the step up again.  NO DEAL.
  • Nicky Southall – ah Trigger, he’s a real dilemma – he’s not getting any younger – but without him we would undoubtedly not be top of the league.  Plus, he reportedly is looking at a homecoming to Gillingham, where his family wish to settle (suddenly the ‘Trigger’ nickname makes more sense!).  The decision for this deal rests solely with him – if he wanted to stay at Forest for another year, I’d snap him up – however if his heart is elsewhere, I would stand aside and let him go, so in terms of decision it’s on the fence. DEAL OR NO DEAL.
  • Gary Holt – ‘three lungs’ has really shown us how he earned that nickname this season, as with Trigger though, he’s increasingly the wrong side of 30.  Should we attain promotion, then I think we could replace him with a younger model – although I would certainly sound him out about the possibility of a coaching role at the club, as he strikes me as a good mentor for the younger players, but in playing terms, I think not.  NO DEAL.
  • John Curtis – John’s been the most underrated player of the season for me so far – he’s played at right back, a centreback in a back three, a left wing-back and most recently a left-sided midfielder.  He works very hard indeed, and whilst he isn’t the most gifted with skill, he’s not the worst by a long stretch – he’d be one of the first names on the team sheet for me, and as such, would certainly get a: DEAL.

There are a few more players out of contract in the summer, but frankly I don’t really feel qualified to comment on them (well, if I’m being truthful – I’m not qualified to comment on these ones either, but sssh, don’t tell anyone!).  It’s a bit of a childish exercise with more than half the league campaign ahead of us – so there’s plenty of scope for any of the players I have ‘written off’ to prove me wrong, but I definitely reckon I’ll be there or thereabouts with my predictions.