Jack plays himself toward a contract extension..

Ah Jack, you are an enigma in many ways.  When I read that Smoulds has recognised his form of late and has hinted toward the affirmative in the new contract stakes, I was pleased.  It’s true that Jack has been on fine form, he has been a catalyst for many of our attacking moves – providing that elusive link from midfield to attack and has generally rolled back the years with a number of fine performances.  And he deserves the credit that’s coming his way for that.

Indeed, back when Smoulders was ready to offload him to anybody that would take him, I remember reading comments from Lester that he was going to buckle down and work his arse off to force himself into the team – and whilst injuries have no doubt played a part in this, there’s no denying his workrate and effort has been top drawer – so perhaps at 31, Jack has mellowed a little from the firey character we’ve come to both love and be frustrated by.  Perhaps he’s also spending less time in Tantra too?

But I can remember last time Jack was almost out of contract – I recall Paul Hart rather losing favour with him, but throwing him on during the playoff semi second leg, when Jack attempted to single-handedly save the day – and whilst my memories of that night are clouded with misery, I seem to recall he wasn’t that far away from doing so on that day.  It’s amazing what the threat of imminent unemployment can do to motivate people – particularly when you’re probably earning more that you could attract realistically from another employer.

That is quite cynical though – the coaching staff will have a good idea about whether the more irritating tendancies of Jack’s on and off the pitch antics are indeed improved, and I think the league in which we find ourselves will be pivotal to whether or not we see him back again next season.  If the unthinkable happens and we remain in League One then he’d be a good person to keep on board – I think it’s debateable whether or not he’d still cut it in the league above – but then, how many of our squad would?

Forest-inspired music: part six

scouse-mum.jpgI can barely bring myself to include this travesty. Given the standard of much of the music I have inflicted upon you so far, and indeed intend to ongoing, that is saying something. The guilty parties on this recording are none other than Viv Anderson and Trevor Francis, believe it or not, singing ‘You’ll never walk alone‘ – a song which obviously you would associate with Liverpool FC rather than Forest.

The history of the song was the musical Carousel and was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein. It first charted when Frank Sinatra released it, and has been released numerous times since then. It hit the Liverpool radar when, predictably, a bunch of scallies from Liverpool pinched it and released it. So the song is synonymous with Gerry and the Pacemakers, who released it to reach number one in the UK charts in the early 60’s – which was seized upon by those lovable rogues (sic) at Anfield and adopted as their club anthem.

So what Viv and Trev were thinking is beyond conjecture – of course, as mentioned in earlier musical dispatches, our rivalry with Liverpool FC was quite tasty at this time, so I’m hoping that the release was in some way supposed to be ironic – but well, who can tell – perhaps older fans might be able to offer some form of defence for our wayward former-stars?

Should you wish to sully your airwaves with it, then it’s below:

And since the nice folks at Talk Forest seem to crave it, here is a cleansing live rendition of ‘Give him a ball and a yard of grass’ by the Sultans of Ping FC – a song dedicated to the original ‘nice young man, with a lovely smile’, the one and only Nigel Clough – who also, of course, has a Liverpool connection. I linked this in the comments of an earlier article, but it deserves it’s own prominence!

Forest-inspired music: part five

We remain in the era of European domination from the Reds for the next song on our roster of shame.  It is performed by Karl and the Heidelbergers, and certainly has the ambience of a bierkeller about it – with some almost-oompah type brass music and strangely sober sounding people talking about someone called “Ashleh!” with a reassuringly Nottingham accent – indeed, some of the lyrics feature Nottinghamisms such as ‘Midduck’ which is always reassuring.

The lead vocalist seems initially fixated on Brighton and Hove Albion – of all teams – who would have been lower-mid table in Division One around this time.  The whole track does have more than a hint of in-joke about it, and not really being old enough to remember a great deal about the late 70’s/early 80’s, I’m not privy to what those jokes might have been.  Certainly it got me some odd looks when I played it in the car yesterday to refresh my memory about it.

So, I bring you today’s musical bulletin – Karl and the Heidelbergers performing Marching to Munich.  Probably one that will appeal to Ebby more than most Forest fans!

Forest vs. AFC Bournemouth preview..

It’s shit-or-bust time for Forest now – to stand even a vague chance of clinching automatic promotion, we realistically need to win our three remaining games.  Even if this not inconsiderable feat (when you take our somewhat less than consistent form into account) is achieved, then obviously Bristol City could match our results and thus make our final placing academic.  Not a great position to be in, but all we can influence is our own games – so we must concentrate on them.

Bournemouth are not safe from relegation worries yet, so certainly still have something to play for – and in doing so have chalked up a decent run of form lately.  They of course also beat us at the Fitness First Stadium earlier this season – a game this long-suffering fan will long remember after a tiresome journey to witness such a dreary performance from the boys in yellow shirts.

Injuries have taken their toll on both side – we, of course, are without long-term injury victims Sammy Clingan, Nathan Tyson and Junior Agogo – and also look set to be without the services of Wes Morgan who has an ankle injury.  Felix Bastians has been recalled from Gillingham to offer us more attacking options, and from the scattered feedback I’ve read from the Gills forums, their fans were sorry to see the youngster recalled early.

The Cherries too have injury problems – perhaps least surprising is Darren “sicknote” Anderton, who has a groin injury that is likely to keep him out of contention – which is good for us as reports I’ve read suggest he’s been enjoying somewhat of a renaissance with Bournemouth.  There are slight doubts over their keeper and Josh Gowling in defence, but both are expected to be cleared to play.

The have a number of dangermen to look out for – Hayter is always a threat, and McGoldrick (on loan from Southampton) has been on a rich vein of goal-scoring form.  They also have the tricky youngster Brett Pitman, who scored against us from the penalty spot earlier in the season – so certainly the Reds defence shouldn’t be expecting an easy time of it from the Cherries.

I’ve all but given up on predictions – the bottom line is that only a win is good enough, and even that will be tainted if Bristol manage to break Carlisle’s excellent run of form and pick up a win on their travels at the same time.  Bournemouth won’t roll over, so to triumph we need to show passion, effort and some guile as well – so let’s hope the lads are up for it!