Forest issue their retain list..

Unsurprisingly the axe has fallen at the City Ground, of course, many of the people still ranting and raving around the message boards would prefer if it fell on, rather than being swung by, Smoulderwood – but by releasing nine players (admittedly, not all first team regulars) he’s certainly showing that changes are most certainly afoot in the playing staff for next season, which can be no bad thing.  Let’s consider them individually.

Jack Lester – his second spell with the club comes to an end, and really he’s the only one I’m a little sad to see leave.  It’s true Jack has a history of playing well when contracts are up for renewal, but nonetheless, he’s an intelligent forward and caused more problems than most of our team for opponents defences.  Of course, on the flip side he’s quite petulant and is often considered part of the ‘drinking culture’ that dogged the club not that long ago.  I certainly wish him well whereever he ends up.

John Curtis – never spectacular, not often awful.  He was steady for most of the season, in the latter half when we had no width on the right of midfield he often looked painfully exposed, not least during the playoff games.  I have valued his contribution at times, but he’s not somebody I think will be too difficult to replace.  I hope that Smoulds doesn’t shoehorn Chambers into rightback as he’s much better in the middle.

Gary Holt – I was half expecting to see some kind of street carnival in the streets of Nottingham because he’s on his way.  He was many fan’s favourite scapegoat – but he was never as bad as many suggested.  He was a scrappy and combatative midfielder – but that was his job, and most fans don’t seem to notice or appreciate “the ugly stuff” – they didn’t when John McGovern did it either (not that Gary is of that standard, of course!).  It’s the right time to move on for him though.

John Thompson – the oh so nearly man.  At times he’s looked excellent at rightback, centreback and defence – at other times utterly out of his depth.  Another one of the alleged ‘big drinkers’ he certainly can’t say that Forest haven’t given him the chance to establish himself in the squad over the years under several managers – and he’s never quite cut the mustard.

Rune Pedersen – I think he has the makings of a decent keeper.  He was in goal for a lot of the run that saw Charlie & Frank almost take us to the playoffs in 2005/2006, but never really got a look in at the first team with Gerrard and then Smith arriving.  It’s understandable he’s moving on for his own sake, although it does leave us short on experienced goalkeepers!

Nicky Eaden, Kevin James – neither were any kop when they made it into the first team, very fleetingly in James’s case.  I was shocked to read a suggestion somewhere that James was amongst the highest earners at the club – thanks a lot Joe!  Eaden I am sure has a decent player in him somewhere, but after his blind acceptance of Megson’s “hoof it anywhere!” instructions he was never ever going to win around us Forest fans.

Robert Hughes, Vincent Fernandez – always a shame to see youngsters with promise not quite make it.  Hughes made fleeting appearances in the first team and looked eager, but was quickly overshadowed by the emergence of Lewis McGugan from the academy.  Fernandez too came highly rated and looked like he might break into the side, but with the signing of Chambers and Bencherif making an impression in the reserves I guess his opportunities would have been limited.

This came alongside the news that Forest have offered a three year contract to Commons that was a ‘significant improvement’ on their last offer – certainly if we want to get a fee if Commons were to leave, we need to have shown a desire to keep him, I’m not convinced he won’t move on elsewhere – but obviously when properly motivated and fit he’s a great player to have in this league.  Youngsters Alan Power and Dale Roberts have also been offered deals.

Most surprisingly was Spencer Weir-Daley – the perpetual nearly man – has also been offered a new deal.  He’s spent most of this season out on loan, and many thought the 21 year old would be on his way in the summer, but clearly he’s done something to impress the powers-that-be and will have another chance should he choose to sign up.  Certainly he looked promising down at Yeovil, but compared to the general performance levels there, I dare say I would have done do had I made a shock substitute appearance!