Through the keyhole…

Who lives in a house like this?  Below are the notes made by a worker from a cleaning company to help the other cleaners upon their first day of cleaning the house of Colin Smoulderwood.  It makes interesting reading for you voyeuristic types, and of course, from somebody’s home we can make all sorts of links with their professional life!

The first job was to do the dusting, upon searching high and low I finally found the duster in the fruit bowl.  On the mantelpiece were some brass ornaments that needed a polish, I eventually found a tin of Brasso inside the fridge, next to a bottle of Cillit Bang which I used to clean the sink and hob.

The kitchen surface cleaner was to be found inside the toilet cistern, and the bathroom cleaner in the larder cupboard in the kitchen.  Deciding to tackle the hoovering, I found the vacuum cleaner in the shed at the bottom of the large garden.  The Toilet Duck was in the loft, and the toilet brush in the umbrella holder in the porch.

I had to throw some things out in the kitchen, as the client seems to keep his milk in the microwave, cheese on top of the television and salad produce pegged out on the washing line.  Certainly this is the most challenging house I’ve ever had to tackle, everything in the house seems to be placed in an inappropriate place!

Hmm, I wonder what conclusions we can draw from the way that Smoulders home life seems to be organised?  It seemed a much more amusing idea when I thought of it, but sod it!

T-minus twenty-four and a bit hours, and counting…

It’s the same every year, isn’t it?  If there was one reason to abolish the transfer window system, it would be to save my fingernails and hairline from the endless chewings and pullings that they suffer respectively as the end of January approaches!

Today’s indirect developments saw Coventry offload Kevin Kyle on loan to Wolves, and Dele Adebola to Bristol City – leaving them somewhat thin-on-the-ground for strikers, although this fan site doesn’t seem to think that that automatically precludes Leon Best to us making it three departures.  I’ve kinda half-given-up on that, but apparently the Reds and Coventry will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the player.

Of course, out of the blue after mere paper rumours came some kind of official confirmation from Dundee United that we had submitted something that presumably approaches their valuation of skipper Barry Robson.  He has apparently been playing on the left wing for Dundee this season, which dovetails neatly in with the rumoured interest in Kris Commons from QPR to the tune of £1.5m!

So what can we conclude?  Very little, really!  Clearly a striker is rightfully still on the agenda, but I can’t help but think that the move for Robson suggests that we are anticipating an outgoing too, Commons seems the obvious one as he’s almost out of contract, so a sizeable offer would be tempting to the Reds – I just hope that if that were to happen, we secure his replacement first and don’t do a Nicky Southall!

Good lord it’s irritating!

Seven-figure bid for Barry Robson?

Dundee United have informed the BBC that Forest have, after apparently offering £300k for the services of the skipper Barry Robson, that we’ve gone back with a seven-figure bid for him this very afternoon, at around 5pm.  Their chairman goes on to refer to us as Notts Forest, but I suppose we can let him off if he decides to accept!

I’ve not really commented on this one so far as the reports have been far from conclusive – but Dundee have been fairly consistent in their message that they want the player to stay with them, and rejected a sizeable offer of £750k plus add-ons from Championship side Burnley.  Certainly he’s been on goalscoring form lately for Dundee, so he sounds like an ambitious target!

It’s early days to be getting excited, but a bid of £1million or more for a club at our level is pretty unusual, if not unprecedented!  So it does make me a little on the excited side – although with apparent interest from fellow Scottish Premier side Celtic in the offing, I imagine the lure of playing at our level might be fairly limited.  It’s certainly one to keep an eye on, though and has cheered me up slightly from not winning tonight!

A bitter-sweet point against the table-toppers..

Nottingham Forest – 0
Swansea City – 0

I’m not in as good a mood as I ought to be, really, considering.  Swansea City showed in spells tonight why they’re where they are in the league, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that Forest matched them for the most part – and indeed, definitely created more clear-cut chances (as, arguably, you would expect of the home team).  De Vries in the Swansea goal was in superb form, sadly for us!

Smoulders started with his infernal 4-5-1 nonsense, with Grant starting on the right wing, Commons on the left, and Tyson in the middle cutting a lone figure.  The three of them swapped roles throughout the first half, leaving us exposed on the flanks as we’ve seen quite often.  How I long to see him play people where they’re more effective, although at times tonight we did look quite good.

The first half was a classic ‘end to end’ encounter – both sides looking more comfortable in attack than when defending.  Swansea undoubtedly started the stronger, with Forest taking a while to get into the match (possibly linked to Swansea going in very late pre-kickoff and actually delaying the start of the game slightly after the Reds had warmed up as usual).

The first meaningful attack fell to the Reds though, McGugan played the ball to Commons whose dangerous cross flashed across the six yard box, evading the Reds players in the box (there was probably only one of ’em, but let’s be optimistic!).  Shortly after this Wes almost headed the ball beyond Smith, but it was heading wide and the defender got back to make sure at the expense of an early corner.

Swansea broke quickly, and in numbers – and their quick inter-passing often left our defenders chasing shadows, however struggled to create clear-cut chances.  Their first chance was from the excellent Andy Robinson who shot low, but pretty much straight at Smith who had a relatively easy save to make. Robinson had the next chance too, again Smith making relatively easy work of it diving to his left.

Forest started to build some momentum and pressure, McGugan did well to force a corner from a diving De Vries.  Shortly after this another corner was won when Painter did well to prevent Grant from shooting.  Possibly the best chance of the game followed when Grant turned and shot firmly from close range, prompting a superb save for the Jack ‘keeper.

Swansea countered this with an effort from Bauza which Smith needed to be on his toes to prevent, and this prompted further pressure from the away side – with Robinson again the threat, but Smith once again able to save.  Forest went back on the attack, and again Grant was denied by a superb save from De Vries after good work from McGugan.

As half time approached the game ebbed and flowed from end to end, Swansea applied pressure without creating clearcut chances, and Forest started to push forward.  However just as they’d started this, Swansea attacked with menace, forcing a foolish foul from Morgan on the edge of the area which Robinson struck well, but wide of the post.

Half time saw a parade of 250 members of the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment (part of whom were the Sherwood Foresters), who received a suitably great reaction from Forest and Swansea fans alike having returned from a six-month tour of Afghanistan.  It was great to see, and handy to know there were a load of soldiers on hands incase the away fans kicked off – that said, those that visited seemed pretty good humoured compared to their perhaps, on today’s evidence, ill-deserved reputation.

The second half was a scrappy start, and whilst Swansea still looked menacing coming forward I got the sense their foot was off the gas slightly.  Chambers did well to get down the right and find Commons, whose cross was heading perfectly for Grant Holt to connect – unfortunately the eager Matt Thornhill connected first, and was only able to direct his header wide.

Smith was able to claim the ball just infront of Bodde, after a decent ball from Robinson again.  Shortly after this a strangely positive substitution from the manager saw Emile Sinclair introduced for the increasingly-tired-looking Matt Thornhill.  Shortly after this Lennon was introduced for McGugan – who struggled today, it’s fair to say.

Tyson had a lot more time and room to get closer when he stabbed a rather hopeful long-range effort which was never likely to trouble a chap on the kind of form De Vries had been showing today!  The game was fairly scrappy and Swansea were content to keep possession and probe gently for openings, which weren’t forthcoming.

Towards the end Chambers got a header on target from a Commons cross, but it wasn’t firm and again was fairly easily dealt with – and the final play of note was excellent work from Tyson down the bye-line, playing the ball just behind Holt who arguably should have halted his run to give himself more goal to aim at – but t’was not to be.

So a frustrating game on some levels – Swansea are undeniably a very good side, and compared to the opponents I’ve seen this season worthy of their place atop the league.  We had chances, but I don’t think we made it easy with an isolated front man – for a formation that should give us width in midfield, our flanks looked worryingly exposed and the excellent Robinson was often left completely unmarked in his position on the left wing.

However, a draw is a decent result – and probably fair.  Forest had more chances, but Swansea had more quality in possession, and certainly had a few chances themselves.  Doncaster winning puts us down to third, and effectively puts the title out of range for us – in my opinion.  It now becomes vitally important that we start to fix our away form – starting with Bournemouth on saturday.

So I feel a bit grumpy, and feel a bit silly for that – it’s true that had I been in Smoulderwood’s shoes I would’ve been tempted to chuck Davies on with five minutes to go, indeed, if I were Smoulderwood I would perhaps have fielded him on the right wing and actually played a 4-4-2 formation since we had the personnel for it, but I’m not he – and I can’t really justify getting on his back after what was, in spells, a very decent performance.

In his post-match comments he finally confirmed that Garath McCleary has actually signed from Bromley.  He spoke of his need for acclimatising to training full time, and building fitness up – unsurprisingly.  He described him as a talented winger who – upon attaining fitness – will definitely be the running for first team consideration, so that’s something to look forward to I suppose.

So well done Reds, another day De Vries would’ve just missed out on one of those super-human saves he pulled off – but alas, t’was not another day, so we must content ourselves with a point.  At least Leeds and Carlisle lost – now is the time for us to start sorting out our own results though, we’re not going to remain so lucky with results elsewhere!