McGoldrick’s gone to Port Vale, so that leaves us with Hartson, Dobie or a surprise!

Supposed longish term target David McGoldrick has joined Port Vale, despite competition from ourselves and Leeds United.  So that quashes that particular piece of speculation that has been doing the rounds.  The Nottingham Evening Post speculated that our move for him was what was prevent Scott Dobie being released to try his luck elsewhere, with Aberdeen and Swindon Town thought to be likely destinations.

And so that leaves John Hartson in the speculated-about targets.  The Times has gone as far to report that we have already signed the former-Celtic man on loan, with West Brom picking up the bulk of the tab for his wages – but that’s yet to be confirmed by Forest – perhaps they were awaiting a ‘double signing’ announcement opportunity, indeed, perhaps they still are – or, of course, perhaps it’s all just a load of bollocks.

It always surprises me how so many deals are left until the last minute by football clubs – certainly Forest tend to leave their activities very late.  I realise leaving it late gives the buying club perhaps a better bargaining position, but it’s sheer torture reading the various assertions on numerous forums from people with ‘sources’, who have been ‘nailed on’ in the past, yet strangely, every time I seem to see one, they turn out to be wrong.

Ho hum.  I suppose there’s not too long to wait to find out what’s going to happen for certain.

A fiver for the Leicester replay, Foxy Megson, and no transfer activity!

I suppose it wasn’t surprising that we wouldn’t get to go to the Leicester replay for free – those of us present can take our ticket stubs down to the ticket office from tomorrow and get a ticket for £5 for the games (or £1 for concessions), I suppose £21 or £5 isn’t an outrageous amount for what will hopefully end up as 135 minutes of football. 

Speaking of our friends from down the A46, along with all the usual managerial-vacancy names that always get bandied around when a club of Leicester’s profile has a change of manager, the rumour-mill suggests that the perpetually-jobless-since-managing-us ginger warrior, Gary Megson, is a frontrunner to replace the outgoing Martin ‘Mad Dog’ Allen as the gaffer for the Foxes.

Whilst many of my contemporaries seem to delight in this, I don’t think he’d be that bad an appointment for them – he encountered one hell of a lot of issues he wouldn’t have anticipated here, and whilst he’s not beyond criticism, I do think he has kept back a lot of what went on behind the scenes here during his tenure.  Certainly him taking over would add a bit of spice to the cup replay if he was to be appointed.

There’s only a little over 24 hours left of the transfer window and to my knowledge we’ve yet to have any of the much-hinted-at-and-speculated-about incomings or outgoings.  Neil Danns has reiterated his desire to fight for a place at Birmingham after yet again being linked with a loan move, and many fans seem to be holding out for the arrival of David McGoldrick from Southampton on loan, with Dobie prophecised to be heading north of the border.

After so many transfer windows, and so much speculation, I’ve given up colluding in it – so I fully expect bugger all to happen (of course, in the sly hope that by posting this I’ll be made to look wrong, but then, have I shot myself in the foot by qualifying this?).  Since we’ve seen some decent performances in our two most recent halves of football, perhaps Smoulds’s plans are falling into place.

Certainly with the current availability of strikers we will need to think about cover for Agogo during the African Nations tournament, though.

Leicester game rescheduled, Clarke on the mend, post-match violence and rumours are rife..

Okay, most important things first, early indications suggest that Leicester City defender Clive Clarke is improving in hospital.  Leicester’s owner, Milan Mandaric, went to the press having visited the player at Nottingham’s Queen Medical Centre, describing him as “improving and quite comfortable” and stating the obvious priority for him to recover as well and as quickly as possible.

Certainly it’s a relief to hear he’s had no relapses after reportedly his heart stopped twice during a fraught half time last night at the City Ground, where the player underwent four bouts of treatment with a defibrillator from paramedics, who along with the Leicester City medical team have rightly been praised for their prompt action in treating the falling man so effectively.

The game has been rescheduled for 18th September, a Tuesday night, meaning Leicester have had to postpone their league encounter with Ipswich Town.  Forest have not revealed ticket arrangements as yet, but have urged supporters present last night to keep hold of their ticket stubs, it would be a bit rich if they expected those who were present on the night to pay again, afterall!

As the transfer window draws to a close in a couple of days, the rumour mill has reignited.  David McGoldrick from Southampton remains the most credible rumour after it’s reported he’d favour a loan move to the midlands for family reasons – with Dobie being popularly linked with a switch to “the other Smoulds” by heading back to his native Scotland to Aberdeen.  Of course, there are a few more fanciful rumours sweeping the forums, as ever!

In lesser news the clashes between Forest and Leicester supporters has unfortunately also made some headlines.  The police suggested around 300 Leicester supporters visited the City Ground intent on causing trouble, which doesn’t surprise me given the charming convoy I encountered being escorted to the ground before the game, but I imagine we had our fair share of meatheads out in force as well.

As ever, if you read a Leicester fan site or forum you’ll find scathing criticism of Forest fans committing acts of violence with no provocation nor retailiation forthcoming, on Forest fan sites and forums the opposite – as ever, I’m sure the truth lies somewhere in the middle, with both sets of fans containing a sizeable element intent on causing problems for the police force.  Let’s hope there’s less of that kind of nonsense on 18th.

In more breaking news, Leicester have parted company with manager Martin Allen today as well – with no immediate replacement lined up.  Which is a shame really, as he clearly didn’t have his side firing on all cylinders during play – so it would’ve done us a favour if he were still there.  Fingers crossed the new manager still picks Hendersen in goal for the return cup tie!  It’s amazing what the shame of being outplayed by Forest can achieve!!

Leicester City cup game abandoned at half time..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Leicester City – 0
*match abandoned at half time – replay date as yet unconfirmed*

It was very much a case of fever pitch versus indifference at the City Ground this evening, but sadly the Carling Cup tie between us and Leicester was called off due to a mysterious illness to Leicester defender Clive Clarke.  Under such circumstances, of course, football becomes rather a secondary concern and I hope very much that I speak for all Forest fans in wishing Clive a speedy recovery.

Given recent events, it does seem odd to abandon a game when the player concerned was reportedly conscious and sitting up when taken to the hospital in an ambulance, but given the lack of information available I’m content to take the club’s stance on the situation and if they felt an abandonment was necessary, then so be it – there’s certainly more important things at stake if a player’s life is in any way at risk.

However, I will make mention of the football, as there was some promising stuff from Forest in the 45 minutes that were played.  Roared on by nigh on 5,300 fans, Leicester must have fancied their chances with probably a comparable number of Reds fans scattered around the ground.  It was Forest who started brightest though, interplay by Commons and Clingan brought an opportunity for a horrendously miskicked scissor kick from Krissy, but it almost found the target, forcing the dodgy-looking Leicester keeper into conceding a corner.

Sammy’s corner almost found the net on his own, but aforementioned dodgy keeper just about got it behind for another corner to the Reds.  This time Sammy found Chambers at the back stick, whose header came off the top of the bar and was headed clear.  Certainly Forest were starting strongly, amidst fears in the scattered home support that it was to be a game of chances and no conversions again.

It looked to me that shortly after this Grant was unfortunate not to win a penalty.  A defensive lapse put him clean through, but Kenton caught up with him quickly, and it appeared that there was contact before Holt went to ground in the box.  It’s hard to be sure from the crowd, but I’ve seen them given for a lot less, however we are all well aware of Grant’s ability to go down like a sack of spuds under the slightest contact.  It wasn’t particularly impressive to see him harangue the linesman and referee repeatedly after the incident either.

The goal came just before the half hour mark, a Commons corner this time was launched into the six yard box – Forest realising the Leicester keeper had little or no command of his area – and Junior Agogo was on hand to head the ball into the roof of the net, which certainly quietened down the already restless travelling Leicester support, although of course, it was a bit surreal hearing the scattered Reds fans celebrating the goal.

Agogo later tricked his way into creating a chance for Commons, but this time the keeper was on hand to make the save.  Leicester’s first real moment of danger came after 40 minutes, Iain Hume made good contact with the ball but Smith was equal to the challenge, tipping the ball around the post to concede another corner.  Back at the other end yet again Henderson struggled to deal with a high ball which fell to Agogo, whose shot was blocked for a corner once more.

The very end of the half saw Leicester’s most dominant passage of play, Wesolowski was on the end of a decent cross, turned and shot – he looked to have wrong-footed Smith who managed to make the save with his legs, before the defence cleared successfully, thus heralding half time with scattered applause for the home side, and none-too-little booing from the travelling Leicester supporters.

Then came the confusing announcements – now Forest, you really need to keep the fans better informed than this.  As I had a radio on my phone I was able to tune in and find out what was going on, but both sets of fans were restless and behaved in a manner that was inappropriate to the circumstances – I’d like to think through ignorance rather than idiocy, with a bit of slow-hand clapping, booing at announcements and a moron from down the A46 prancing around on the pitch before being promptly arrested.

Even after Smoulds came on to the pitch to announce that a Leicester player had been taken ill, elements of both sets of fans let the side down, and from reports I’ve heard of incidents outside the game (I certainly heard a few roars go up as I rather sensibly headed away from the away end after the game), suggests that a fair number of numbskulls supporting both sides were in attendance.

Of course, the selfish person in me wishes the game had carried on – certainly it’s not without precident in recent times, Cech’s injury didn’t halt the game, for example, and Forest were playing very well and of course, one goal to the good.  If I were really cynical then Leicester would also be at a psychological disadvantage by playing on – but I think Forest did the right thing in agreeing to the abandonment, and I applaud their decision to do so, so now we await a replay.

The final note, of course, is to wish a speedy and full recovery to Clive Clarke – and I feel proud that Forest were decent enough to agree to abandon the game.

Second security crackdown in days..

After a relatively trouble-free encounter with the Leeds fans, Forest’s wonderful PR machine has issued a warning to our forthcoming Carling Cup visitors.  Leicester City fans have clamoured to get their mits on the 5,300 tickets we issued for them – and reportedly many were disappointed to miss out on what they see as an opportunity to put a 35 year ghost to bed.

Police speak of an assumption they will make regarding any Leicester fans who arrive without tickets or pop up in the home ends, that they are there to make trouble – which is rather draconian, but I suppose a stance that makes sense given the standing that Forest have with most Foxes supporters.  It seems a shame that the perceived threat of trouble between the knuckledraggers amongst our respective supporters overshadows what should be an interest game.

The demand for Forest fans, however, is less high – they’ve decided to cease selling tickets in the Upper Bridgford stand.  This makes sense, the area would be a magnet for any of our own supporters wishing to cause trouble, although that will leave a few fans who have purchased tickets up there looking rather sore-thumb-like above the masses of Leicester fans beneath them.  Still, a couple more days and this silly circus will be over with.

Forest vs. Leeds United goals..

I suppose we should have these posted here, since we’ve not actually had a goal to look at ’til now!  What happens with Kris Commons’s freekick is still pretty unclear – hopefully tomorrow when Virgin Media stick their highlights online they’ll have a bit more clarity!

Whilst there is no footage of the myriad of missed chances, the video clip does tell the story – Leeds finished their chances well, with an element of luck regarding the misplaced shot for the second.  Forest scored a fluke.

Outgoing imminent this week?

Smoulds was inevitably evasive in his post match interview today, although a little more open than he often is.  He seemed to suggest that there is likely to be a player leaving over the next week before the transfer window closed, as well as refusing to rule out somebody coming in the other direction.

The rumours on the boards suggest Scunthorpe have expressed an interest in one of our strikers (surprising, they’ve hardly set the league on fire this year!), although as for which striker, nobody seems to know.  Grant Holt seems the favourite amongst the theorists, given his previous almost-leaving incidents and apparently poor relationship with the manager.

Times of transfers are incredibly frustrating for us mere fans – whilst I understand that you can’t just snap your fingers as a manager and bring in players of a sufficient quality to improve the squad, the problems in certain positions to us have been so blatantly obvious it does make you wonder why we haven’t been more aggressive in the transfer market.

Look at Leeds, as a case in point, they couldn’t sign players until right before the season started – yet they have a keen squad with players for every position, which we just don’t quite seem to have right now.  Certainly injuries play a part of this, but the idea of having a squad is to be able to absorb injuries.

So keep an eye on the news feeds this week, and wait for the inevitable rumour-mill furore as the transfer window draws to a halt.  Certainly if we let a striker go, I’ll be very unhappy if we don’t sign at least one to replace him, preferably two really.  It would be nice to have some cover for the right wing whilst Davies is out, wouldn’t it?

Heartbreak for Forest as Lucky Leeds’s run goes on..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Leeds United – 2

I was ready to write Smoulds’ obituary at half time today, because in the first half I thought we were very poor indeed – and made Leeds look a lot better than they were, in a rather scrappy first half were the Yorkshire side certainly performed more effectively than the home side.  There were apparently two shots on target each in the first half, but I can’t really recall ours being particularly clearcut – as it was, the first goal for Leeds was excellently taken by Tresor Kandol after good work from Beckford.

Beckford and Kandol in the first half left me feeling jealous about what I wanted to see in forward play from the Reds.  Tricky, pacey and always finding space with tricky runs – similarly to us though, Leeds struggled to feed them with many chances – of course, it would transpire that a limited number of chances would prove enough.

Dennis Wise – not my favourite football character – does deserve some credit on this showing, his Leeds side were not the best I’ve seen even in League One on this showing, but they had passion and drive, and considering he built the squad on a shoestring in about three weeks, it does rather raise question marks around our expensively assembled one, over a longer time period.

The second half was more about Forest.  It took less than five minutes for us to level, scoring our first goal of the season.  Clingan was felled around 35 yards out, Commons struck the freekick vaguely goalward, deflecting of Alan Thompson which I think makes it pretty much an own goal – meaning we’ve not actually scored ourselves yet this season!

Perchy touched the ball wide when he should’ve done better – indeed, in the first half Perchy should perhaps have done better when his shot was cleared off the line too.  Commons had one blocked from around 6 yards after Grant nodded down, by which point the Leeds fans were looking rather nervous as Forest were piling on the pressure.

Tyson was introduced for the still-unfit-looking Agogo, but Leeds started to push forward again.  Tys threw himself into a couple of challenges suggesting he’s not too nervous about any injury recurrences.  Tyson then created our best chance, he hared down the right and crossed for Bastians who turned and basically missed an open goal – before turning he could’ve set up Grant Holt quite easily.

But alas, there was to be a suckerpunch for our inability to convert our chances as Carole passed Lennon, and a deflected shot headed towards the back post where the unmarked Beckford was on hand to bury the ball into the roof of the net to the delirium of the travelling Leeds fans.  So whilst we were hard done by, we were very much the architects of our own downfall – but the positive second half showing made me reappraise and feel a little less negative about all things Forest.

A word on the Leeds fans, the loudest we’ve had here in ages – I thought on the whole they were brilliant, definitely louder when winning and quieter after our equaliser, but which fans aren’t?  There were a minority of pondlife who chanted derogitory things about Brian Clough, but then our own morons responded with interest by chanting about Istanbul.  Some of their tattooed fuckwits spent much of the game having a staring competition with some of our own morons, but aside from these minor infractions, I thought the majority of the 3,483 were a credit to themselves and the club.

And so we’ve mustered a fairly pathetic 2 points from a possible nine – although that is the same as Manchester United I suppose.  The second half performance gives me heart, as does Tyson’s return – but we really must learn how to put that ball in the onion bag, but certainly the quality of football in the second half shows promising things, long may this continue.

Whilst Leeds will feel rightly pleased with their tremendous start to the season, I would advise caution to their followers given our own experiences of solid starts to a league campaign here – but given the shitty time their fans have had lately, you can’t really blame them for celebrating.  At this rates it’ll only take them about 6 more games to have more points than us!

Forest vs. Leeds United preview..

I’ve kind of dispensed with regular match previews, because frankly I was falling into the habit of just trawling injury news, recent form and all that guff – and well, you can get that information elsewhere so there’s little point in me repeating it verbatim.  However, meeting Leeds in the league, in division three, is worthy of a little reflection – and kickoff is less than two hours away.

Both sides have fallen from far better times – admittedly our descent has been somewhat quicker, although of course Leeds spend a fair chunk of time in the second tier whilst we were still with Brian Clough at the helm.  It is interesting to see what can happen to two teams who’ve been horrendously financially managed in relatively recent history – Forest paid the price by ‘going legit’ and selling players, Leeds tried to bend the rules, and end up at the same level, albeit with an additional levie of 15 points.

Both sides shot to greatness thanks to men from Middlesbrough, oddly.  Don Revie’s Leeds side – despite having a lingering reputation for being less than honest – were a dominant force in English football throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s.  And they could play too, let’s not forget.  Revie went on to manage England, and was replaced – for 44 days – by a certain Brian Clough, who rather rubbed everyone up at Leeds the wrong way and was promptly dismissed.

This dismissal enabled us to have a period of greatness, because – reunited with Peter Taylor – Cloughie came to Forest, flush with a payoff from Leeds that he described as “setting himself up for life”, and well, we all know the rest of the story.  So we have a bit of earlier common history with Leeds too – and a similar status, arguably Leeds are the ‘bigger’ club if you fixate on such things, but whilst we all know both clubs are where they are on merit, it’s still a pretty huge fixture for League One to be staging.

Leeds have made a really positive start to the season, whilst still being inevitably on negative points, they’ve already shaved 6 points from their deficit with wins away at Tranmere and at home to Southend.  Both games involved late winners for Leeds (although against Southend they went on to score further goals), so longevity certainly seems to be the watchword with this side.

Forest, of course, haven’t even scored a goal!  On the flip-side we haven’t conceded either, and I would expect one – if not both – of these runs to end later today.  With news of Nathan Tyson potentially making a bench appearance, this will give us a lift – he scored in the reserves midweek, which is a great sign.  Yet we seem no nearer to seeing Arron Davies and Chris Cohen in the side, which is a disappointment.

Dennis Wise didn’t really live up to his name with his amateurish managerial mindgames before this fixture, but as long as his team are walking-the-walk he can get away with talking-the-talk.  He’s basically been talking up the pressure on us, in our third season at this level, certainly that’s true – but it’s been true for two previous seasons too.  I don’t think that playing Leeds makes this any greater or otherwise.

Smoulds has been typically conservatively cliched, speaking of desiring a win within our first four games, and if you include the Chester City cup game, this is game number four, and we haven’t won yet!  He quite rightly points out that a win against Leeds will make our start to the season look a lot better, so let’s hope that tactically he’s got it in him to help deliver that without any of his nonsense tinkering.

So anyway, I think today will be close – the atmosphere should be electric, so here’s to a good well-fought match, of course I’d like a Forest win, and more than anything I’d love for there not to be any reports of clashes between the Forest or Leeds’s idiot element.  And with that, I’m off down to the City Ground!  YOOOOOOOOOU REDS!

Nottingham to be locked down for the arrival of Leeds..

I was quite surprised to read the rather draconian measures being imposed on Leeds United supporters heading to Nottingham on Saturday.  Certainly, I’m aware of an element of Leeds support, much like most large fanbases, have a reputation for causing mayhem – but even so, as well as the early kickoff (which to me just encourages folk to stick around for a few drinks after the game!).

But check out the rigamarole they have to go through to get hold of a ticket in the first place:

All tickets available to Leeds United fans had to be obtained by application from Nottingham Forest and the closing date for applications has now passed.

As a result it is now impossible for Leeds United fans to obtain a ticket for the match.

Those fans with tickets must have their membership number written on the ticket and also arrive with their membership cards and corresponding membership number.

Any Leeds United fans who are considering buying tickets for the Nottingham Forest home stands will be refused.

I dread to think what our normally unchallenged turnstile and ticket office staff will make of it if they do have to deal with an influx of fans attempting to get into the home areas – not to mention the complex task of checking membership cards against tickets – it seems very over the top to me, what with the pubs and bars around the ground being closed up too, it seems Nottingham is being locked down for the arrival of Leeds.

Given their great start to the season it should be a tense affair, with a much better atmosphere than we’re accustomed to of late – it will be a real test for Smoulds and the boys, and we’ll need to watch out late on when Leeds seem to have been scoring many of their goals – of course, a goal for us would be nice as well, I’m beginning to forget how to celebrate them!