Forest vs. Gillingham preview..

I’m going to preview this one, because I feel the urge to post some positivity.  As many readers rightly pointed out, there were plenty of very pleasing things about the recent cup game with Leicester, which I think I did do justice to, but perhaps allowed my malaise to overwhelm in my misery-induced tirade.  So let’s look forward to the visit of Gillingham, a team we’ve come to know better than most since we seem to occupy the same division rather a lot.

Nicky Southall’s an obviously interesting factor.  I still firmly believe that allowing him to leave when we did last season was a significant blow to our promotion campaign, since our bids to replace him were to end with nowt.  For us, Trigger was a (very) poor man’s Beckham on the right – bear with me here, but he rarely beat his man, but his delivery into the box as well as the odd freekick here brought us goals – and when we lost that our side lost all sense of balance.

The fact we still desperately await the return to fitness of Aaron Davies to give us a proper right sided player bears testament to the huge gap he left when he returned to Gillingham back in January.  I’ve no idea whether he’s fit or not, or how he’s been doing for the Gills, but I remember his time with us fondly – he was certainly a not particularly thrilling signing when unveiled, but he proved invaluable in his short time with us – so if I do see him take the pitch he’ll get my applause at least.

Saturday is a day where we need both a performance and a result – so far we’ve won one game, which Stress and Pie amusingly described as a ‘shit sandwich’ – and performed well in a number of other matches where the win wasn’t forthcoming.  I’d like to see an unchanged line up for the visit of the Gills (although if he’s fully fit, open to Lockwood coming in for Bennett), and I’d like to see the same positive approach to the game – particularly from Messrs Tyson, Agogo, Commons and Cohen.

Between them, these four looked capable of causing havoc on the right day – and certainly the struggling Gills feel like an easier target than a Leicester side keen to impress a new manager backed by thousands of travelling fans.  They’re currently without a manager, with Iffy Onuora and Mick Docherty in temporary charge – and they’re on the back of a rare win against Brighton last week.

There’s a bit of former Forest interest too – they’ve got Craig Armstrong, once touted as the ‘next Psycho’, he fell somewhat short of that mantel though.  They’ve also just acquired Adam ‘Sicknote’ Nowland – although I imagine he’ll pull a hamstring boarding the team caravan and not feature in the squad on saturday.  Nicky Southall of course makes up the remainder of the former Forest players in the Gills ranks.

So I’m suggesting Forest should go for this – if we approach the game and play like we did on tuesday, for ninety minutes this time, then I think we can get the league campaign up and running in emphatic style.  So this is a call for positivity – which I realise is rather rich coming from Mr Grumpy here, but it’s not too late to make amends, is it?  Let’s get behind the lads and get our league campaign firing on all cylinders!

Three years on, in memory of Brian Clough..

It was kind of ironic to wake to news of Jose Mourinho parting company with Chelsea this morning, because 20th September marks the anniversary of the death of Brian Clough back in 2004.  Whilst personally the comparisons between the two men were tenuous at best, there were similar mannerisms and a characteristic arrogance that did make me slightly warm to the Blues boss more than much of the country seem to have.

It certainly doesn’t seem to have been three years since that sad news broke around the country, and I’m sure much like me, most Forest fans – and hopefully football fans in general – will take a moment to reflect on the memories and achievements the great man provided throughout his career – be it as a player in the North East, or as a manager – most prominently right here in the midlands with ourselves and Derby County of course.

The blog wasn’t in existence at the time, but when he passed away it felt akin to the ravens leaving the tower of London, and the fading edifices of the City Ground, and the bleak position we find ourselves in the hierarchy of football bear testiment to the wonderful things he achieved for us – because frankly, without him we wouldn’t have looked or felt quite so out of place where we find ourselves these days.

Regular readers will know that when I think fond memories of Cloughie, there’s a man frequently-forgotten who deserves a pedestal of equal magnitude – both amongst Forest and Derby supporters, so as well as taking a few moments today to think about Brian Clough, I’ll also be thinking about Peter Taylor, for it was the magnificent partnership these two formed that was the alchemy for the true heights we scaled – so do take a moment, and think of these two great ambassadors for Nottingham Forest, and for football as a whole.

Rest in peace, both – hopefully you’re both reconciled in the next world, I imagine in three years you will have already assembled a pretty formidible team!