The day the Forest died…

Nottingham Forest – 2 (4)
Yeovil Town – 5 (5)
(After extra time)

I’ll start with the pleasantries.  Congratulations to Yeovil Town, who thoroughly deserved to progress, arguably given their better performances in both legs – but certainly on tonight’s showing.   They now go on to a date with Wembley with either Blackpool and Oldham, and frankly, I hope they win it.

Now onto the less savoury things.  I’m not going to dwell too much on a match report – there’s just no fucking way I want to relive it any more than I already am doing in my head.  Whilst I felt we should progress, I certainly wasn’t taking it for granted, but even my pessimistic self couldn’t foresee the absolute horror show that was to be played out at the City Ground this evening.  Rather than pick through the bones I’ll pick out a few random thoughts replaying painfully in my head.

Firstly, we knew the first goal in the game was vital – so why the excellent Arron Davies was given the freedom of the pitch to cut inside and pick his spot is beyond me.  We should have been familiar with him, he caused us problems at their place a week ago too.  Given his continued influence throughout the game why on Earth was he provided so much space.  I would have had a man marker on him straight after that first goal.

Whilst I’m angry at Forest – I’m man enough to give credit to Yeovil, who did exactly as they said they would and went for it.  They’re a decent, hardworking and eager side with no small amount of skill and movement to go with it.  They made us look like the lumbering carthorses that I’m starting to think is all we consist of.

Paul Smith let in five goals tonight, yet he had a great game.  It could have been over long before extra time had become an issue had it not been for the keeper – he did excellently in the away leg too.  You know something has gone very badly wrong when your keeper lets in that many goals despite performing well.

The substitution.  We all know Smoulds is defensive, indeed, as soon as the equaliser went in from Dobie I had joked that it was time to bring on Wes for Jack.  It did take a bit longer than that, but – finally – the defence was looking settled and were containing Yeovil reasonably well – it’s true we had conceded again, but it was a very unlucky goal (having said that, you could argue the Yeovil player who hit the post initially was unlucky not to find the net).

I think Smoulds made a grave error on disrupting the defence  – and I’m not just talking about Wes’s awful backpass – he moved Chambers who was playing well.  You should never disrupt a defence like that, and it cost us.  Not least because, with Prutton sent off and Alan Wright clearly unfit to continue, we effectively ended the game with nine men despite Wrighty manfully attempting to soldier on despite not being much use to anyone.

David Prutton.  Oh dear David.  Some fans were worrying you wouldn’t be here next season – well good riddance after that pathetic showing.  I don’t think I counted a single pass to a red shirt, and frankly it was obvious to everyone he’d end up taking an early bath.  I seem to remember reading in the Post that he’d learned to contain “the red mist” that isn’t exactly a new phenomenon to us from him – clearly he hasn’t.

Graham Poll.  I don’t think any of his series of baffling decisions really changed the course of the game, which I suppose in the circumstances is a shame from our point of view, but he certainly didn’t do much to cast aside the general opinion that he’s an incompetent idiot of the highest order – I hope we never have the displeasure of him officiating any of our fixtures ever again.

The worst thing of all, though, was hearing Nigel Doughty after the game bemoaning the inability to attract players of a sufficient quality to a club in League One.  I’m sorry, Nige, but that’s bollocks – on today’s showing at least half the Yeovil side would’ve improved our side.  There is plenty of sufficient quality out there who would play at this level for Forest.  He makes a reasonable point about the injuries we’ve had – but we’ve also had opportunities to strengthen our squad that we’ve not taken.

I’m seething, frankly.  I realise I’m not in the most rational frame of mind right now, but frankly after that pathetic capitulation I wouldn’t be sorry to see any of the current playing or management team bugger off over the summer, I’m not churlish enough to start listing them, and I fully realise that when I’ve calmed down in a month or two I will probably revise my stance somewhat.

I expect to see Smoulds back next season,  and given the situations with contracts of certain players, he will inevitably make significant changes to the squad – on balance, a top four finish with a squad depleted by a few key injuries perhaps might appease the boardroom, but it’s not the not going up that riles us (well, it does a bit), it’s the fact we failed to do so by playing so spectacularly badly, with so little responsibility, passion or basic skill.

There’s a whole job of rebuilding to be done to this club – there’s no point in calling for the chairman or the manager’s head, as they’ll still be here next season – but, this club is now officially at the lowest point of our proud 142 year history – somebody (somebodies) are responsible for that, and it’s time they stood up and admitted it and worked honestly to start to rebuild this empty shell of a football club.

Plenty of people on the way out spoke of not renewing next season, and I believe plenty won’t – if Forest have the audacity to put their already high prices up again there will be more who abandon their season ticket and start to pick and choose games.  There are a lot of hurting supporters out there, and Forest, you really need to be aware of that and tread very carefully when you send out those renewal packs whenever you get your fingers out of your arses and do so.

And so we never really needed to worry about when Wembley tickets go on sale – the jubilant Yeovil fans will even now be contemplating that on their way home back to Somerset.  I’ll try to end with some degree of positivity in that I hope they enjoy the trip and get a result, because whilst I’m pushing that little ex-Sheepshagging bastard up front for them to the back of my mind, they impressed me with the manner of their triumph over us, just as Forest infuriated me.

Rip off souvenirs, draconian security and no information for Wembley ticket arrangements..

I feel like having a bit of a moan.  I haven’t done that in a while, so make no apologies for it – now, I know I used the W-word in the title, that is – of course – under the strict understanding that there is no in-built assumption in there we’ll be going there, however, despite this uncertainty I don’t think it would do any harm for the club to share their plans (if they have any yet!) for selling tickets should we get through. 

Rather cynically, Forest are tonight very generously providing a bumper edition of the programme – presumably to fit even more pointless adverts and drivel in – for the princely sum of £4.  Given that any potential Wembley visits would probably see a programme cost probably double that, I think I’ll give them a miss.  It’s a real underlining of the fact that Forest are going all out to cash in on the playoffs though.

The other sounds of note coming from Forest are probably quite important really – and that is that they are maintaining their strict stance on pitch invaders tonight.  So those of you who have the urge, I’d refrain – apparently the few who got on for the last league game were arrested, and do face banning orders.  I think it’s a bit draconian personally, but Forest have made their stance clear on this – so avoid the urge!

And so we find ourselves just a matter of hours away from the final obstacle to the assumptions many fans seem to be under that we’re going to Wembley.  This means, of course, that the clamour for information about how to acquire tickets should we progress is already underway.  Amazingly Yeovil have published their plans if they turn it around, of course, Forest – as ever – remain resolutely silent in providing any helpful information at all.