He’s outside the door, will he step inside for a drink?

Some think he’s already at the bar, and has ordered a lethal dose of firewater.

Meet Steve Stone and Chris Waddle!

A random opportunity, but a real one thanks to an ‘Evening with..’ event organised by The Approach on Friar Lane in Nottingham.  Following on from successful nights involving Stan Collymore and more recently Carl Froch, now’s your chance to quiz the two geordie footballers about, well, whatever you like!

Stoney of course needs no introduction to us, nor Chris Waddle possibly – who could resist the urge to ask him about the mullet, the dubious career in pop music, THAT penalty – which strangely he seemed to get away with as our own Psycho took all the flak for.  It promises to be a good evening’s entertainment.

It takes place on 26th February, and tickets are £12.50, or you can book to have some scran as well for just £32.50 and spend the evening in style.  For more information, click here for the full-size flyer, or contact The Approach directly by either calling 0115 9506149 or checking out their website.

You don’t know what you’re doing…

AFC Bournemouth – 2
Nottingham Forest – 0

Having opened the door to my house at 1am, through various convolutions in relation to the rail network, I can certainly say I’ve had plenty of time to think.  Indeed, if I’d taken a laptop with me I could’ve had this nailed and got some well-deserved shut-eye instead of reliving the horrorshow I witnessed today at the Fitness First stadium.

There would be little point in detailing the match – because we were absolutely dreadful.  Deservedly beaten by a not-particularly-confident looking home side who grew in stature and confidence as the game went on, and Forest seemingly dug themselves further and further into a mire of ineptitude, lack of effort and utter disregard for the fans.

Smoulds has, to all intents and purposes, lost the fans now – or a decent proportion of them.  The chants directed at him at the end were the loudest I’ve heard so far, and given the fate of recent managers when the fans turn properly, unless he does something I don’t think he’s capable of, I don’t think he’ll last.  Even the team bus had anti-Smoulderwood messages inscribed in the dirt by enraged supporters.

The sad thing is, at the start of the game we approximated four-four-two, and when Tyson had the ball at his feet and ran at the Bournemouth defence, they looked scared witless.  Alas, the infuriting tinkering saw a quick reversion to the ineffective ‘Smoulderwood Formation’ and we lost all impetus very early, and Bournemouth capitalised with two excellently taken goals in the first half.

Kuffour gave us an early warning by spannering a shot wide from 12 yards, another followed when Vokes headed and Smith saved well.  Their left winger had the freedom of the park as Chambers was hopelessly out of position, or easily bypassed (he seemed not to work out the chap was right footed, and always looked to get onto his right foot to cross).

Sure enough, it was a cross from Gradel that gave them the lead – Wilson had let Vokes get enough space in the box to plant a header well beyond Smith into the top corner.  The second goal came shortly after, Holt lost the ball, and Wilson again was given the slip by Vokes who finished emphatically across Smith and into the corner.

It really should have been three-nil at half time too – Gradel once again beat Chambers easily and ambled into the penalty area, with Morgan and Wilson backing off giving him a completely free route to goal.  Fortunately his composure let him down and the shot from a fairly generous angle was well over the bar.

Our only shot on target in the entire game was a weak header from Wes Morgan in the second half.  Really, that’s about all in terms of match action there is worthy of description from our point of view.  We were really as bad as people are probably suggestion in other reports or on the messageboards.

I have a few general observations, though, on a player-by-player basis – which I don’t normally do too much.  Smoulders is (rightly, in my opinion) getting a lot of flack of late, but today I do think the majority of the players also let us down with a lack of composure, and often – alarmingly – a lack of effort reminiscent of the Megson era of dreadful away results.

Paul Smith – couldn’t really prevent either goal, made a save when needed – his distribution wasn’t awesome, but when our defenders don’t seek the roll-out, he can’t do it, despite the baying from some of our less-than-patient supporters.

Kelvin Wilson – normally he’s peerless, but was arguably at fault for both goals, nothing like his usual assured self – which worries me deeply because before now he’s generally been Mr Dependable even when those around him are failing us.

Wes Morgan – one of the few to emerge with credit, of course, he was clumsy at times, but that’s Wes.  Ended up up front in spells, and got our only shot on target with a weak header.  Guilty of backing off criminally shortly before half time, but I suppose if he hadn’t the winger would’ve squared the ball to a striker who would’ve scored.

Luke Chambers – awful awful game.  Poor positional play, made a monkey of by the Bournemouth winger time and time again – it is becoming increasingly apparent that this lad is NOT a fullback, alas I can’t imagine Smoulderwood will ever notice this.

Julian Bennett – provided the most amusing bit of the game by performing a Ronaldo-esque flick in order to win a goalkick.  Over-engineered, certainly, but a rare moment of pleasure for Forest fans after a long trip.  Plenty of passion, occasional decent play, a lot of headless-chickening too.

James Perch – a frankly dire performance, sadly.  Whatever confidence this lad had must be shot to pieces now, nothing went right for him today, and Smoulds should’ve withdrawn him as it must have been torture.  What a shame we let Lennon go, eh?  Poor though he was, the look on his face when – upon applauding the Forest fans at the end – the booing raised an octave, was heartbreaking.

Sammy Clingan – won a few balls in midfield, ran around a lot – not a lot he was able to do with absolutely fuck all support from many of his colleagues.  His passing wasn’t the best, but deserves some credit for effort.

Chris Cohen – quiet first half, attempted to take the second half by the scruff of the neck, only for his final ball to really let him down on all but one occasion.

Arron Davies – a moment with Davies epitomised the game for me, he got the ball on the left and was forced to turn back and dribble about 30 yards into our own half.  He got away from his man eventually, but in this time not ONE of his teammates did anything useful to make it easier for him to retain the ball.  Otherwise played out of position mostly, and mostly fairly anonymous.

Grant Holt – started okay in an upfront position, won flick ons (to noone, of course, as they were all in midfield!), then descended into his petulant self sadly, and put in a pretty poor showing where he seemingly successfully undertook a one man mission to lose the ball as much as possible.

Nathan Tyson – worked hard, but looks low on confidence – his first touch was often abysmal.  Looked a threat early doors with the ball at his feet, latterly dealt manfully with hopeless long balls punted to him, but with very little actual impact.  It must have been a frustrating afternoon.  Arguably got away without being dismissed after a late lunge on Warren Cummings, who treated the away end to a spectacular display of playacting to try to bring about the red card.

Emile Sinclair – looks eager, but inexperienced.  Never looked capable of changing the game, but with the limited substitution options available was a sensible addition for the increasingly hapless Holt.

Ian Breckin – brought on as an emergency striker, laughably – although the few touches he had were surprisingly okay, particularly the time he had the ball on the deck.  Too little time on the pitch to make an impact, so can’t be judged harshly on today’s showing.

Given that our stated ambition for the season is promotion or nothing, and given that I cannot envisage Smoulders delivering this, I find myself reluctantly siding with those who would welcome his removal from the helm.  Part of me thinks that he should get ’til the end of the season – since sacking a manager now is unlikely to achieve much, given the lack of transfer opportunities, and the message it sends out to how tough the job is.

On the flip side, the impetus that you can get with a new manager could be enough to restore our promotion hopes – given that some other results went in our favour today – and of course, having somebody who will pick our best players in a sensible formation, in their proper positions, would be a huge help in achieving results.

With no disrespect to Bournemouth, who ran out deserved winners today, Forest shouldn’t be making things so difficult for themselves in games like this.  If you had told a neutral that this was a game between 23rd and 3rd (or whatever our starting positions were), then they would have assumed that Bournemouth were the promotion chasers, and would have marvelled that there was actually a team in the league worse than Forest.

I found myself questioning the endorsement of removing the manager, then looked at the fixtures – can you really see us picking up points on forthcoming away trips to Leeds and Carlisle?  No?  Neither can I – that’s why with Smoulderwood at the helm I cannot see us attaining promotion this season.  Depressing, eh?

Sorry, that turned into quite a long rant.