Forest’s transfer policy explained… or not!

Or perhaps, is readily-excused in order to mitigate for the possibility of our disappointing run of results continuing.  Mark Arthur seemingly has a taste for the media spotlight today, this time in the Evening Post he made another relatively rare media appearance in order to try to smooth the waters after criticisms continue over Forest’s transfer inactivity in January.  I might just annotate his comments with my two pennarth.

“We have an acquisition group at the club, which is chaired by Nigel Doughty, and also includes Colin Calderwood, David Pleat, Keith Burt the chief scout, Nick Marshall the academy director, John Pelling and myself,”

Makes sense, the guy who is paying the bills (Doughty), the guy who sorts out the contracts etc (Arthur), the guy managing the side, and a few other folk who hopefully have an inkling about what the player might bring to the squad or academy.  To be honest, it beggars belief that this is considered something new and groundbreaking!

“That group meets from time to time to discuss the acquisitions that we bring into the club and the reason we have that group is that we are trying to learn some lessons from our past.

Learning lessons from our past, eh?  Well, it’s nice that we learned that doing no business of note in January but releasing an influential midfielder didn’t happen again THIS year, isn’t it?  Oh, it did!  That said, we do have the subsequent loaning of Will Hoskins, as well as the acquisition of Garath McCleary.

“When previous managers have come into the club and had their ideas about signing players, we ended up not having any structure or policy to what we were doing.

I like the way that this is blamed on the previous managers – presumably these managers reported in to you, Mr Arthur?  Does that not make the lack of structure or policy pretty much wholly your responsibility since presumably you still had to rubber-stamp any transfer activity?  I think it does!

“So, looking to long-term acquisitions is far more strategic for us now than it has ever been before.

Since you had, in your own words, no strategy at all before, this is hardly reassuring!  It is good, of course, that there is recognition that we do need a strategic approach to our squad development, but it can be very difficult to operate on a committee basis like this on projects, but I think it’s necessary.

“Normally a manager will just go to the chairman and say ‘I want to sign so and so’ and we ended up, a few years ago, with a number of what I call pension players in our dressing room.

“They did not really care about Forest, they just wanted a nice fat contract and were probably coming towards the end of their careers.

So Mark Arthur was completely out of the loop when these pension players came in?  I think not.  Does he consider Neil Lennon to be one of these players?  I am very pleased indeed that this problem has been identified (despite being patently obvious!) and steps have been taken to avoid it in future, though, not matter how much like common sense it seems!

“We are trying to put something in place whereby ourselves and a group of players can grow together and bond in the dressing room.”

That sounds positive to me, it remains to be seen whether that policy is working – but it’s a noble ambition and, if achieved, will put us in good stead.  It’s not revolutionary thinking to realise that a solid team spirit will engender better performances on the pitch, but if performances on the pitch are indeed an indicator of team spirit, it would suggest we still have some work to do it that area!

All in all it’s just placatory words by Arthur, a tad too late, to try to deflect the criticisms of club’s handling of the January transfer window – which, let’s face it, was amateur at best.  This and his other announcement of the day seem peculiarly timed, and it’s uncharacteristic of him to thrust himself into the local media.  Maybe I’m just too suspicious.

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Arthur directs blame on Smoulderwood..

Perhaps not in so many words, but our dear Chief Executive Mark Arthur was on t’radio this morning, presumably in a late bid to address the grumblings still going on in the Forest supporters world after Saturday’s supreme disappointment.  Frankly, it’s not really anything particularly revolutionary or new.

In a nutshell (although of course, the silver-tongued fellow rarely speaks thusly), he hinted that if Smoulds doesn’t deliver promotion this season, then he’ll be out on his ear.  Now that’s hardly rocket science, now, is it?  It’s clear what our mission is for the season, and having already failed once, it’s unlikely we’ll be wanting him to do it again, now, is it?

When I think with my head then this approach makes sense – it seems churlish to change manager when he can’t make signings or settle in properly, but when my heart does the talking I can’t help but wonder what would happen if we managed to get a new manager in who could immediately spark a run of results to consolidate a place in the top two.

All in all, on the eve of a much anticipated loan signing to be confirmed, it seems an odd thing to come out with.  We saw before that in the past when a manager has been under pressure certain elements of our squad were only too keen to stick the metaphorical boot in (ironically by not sticking their actual boots in when needed!).

Of course, we have largely a different squad compared to then, so I would sincerely hope that this would not be a factor this time around – although anybody unfortunate enough to have travelled to Bournemouth at the weekend would certainly not unreasonable to suggest that the players representing us that day weren’t giving 100%.

Anyway, you can read the way the BBC decided to report the comments by clicking just here.  It’s a bit of a non-story really, in my opinion, and a neat diversion from Arthur about his own implication in our demise since he was a fairly big factor in our appointment of Smoulds in the first place!