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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5 Responses

  1. This does explain our transfer strategy over the last 2-3 seasons or so but why didnt he just come out with this information when Pleat came on board as I assume this committee was set up then.

    It does rather sound all village councilly – a bunch of self important old men gossiping over tea and scones when decisive action is needed to snap up the most promising talent before they go elsewhere.

    Furthermore, you would have thought that the first thing a business mogul would do when taking over and asset would be asign a strategy through which its potential could be maximised. It beggars belief that a transfer plan/goal wasnt implemented years ago. Perhaps we’d still be in the Championship now if it was?

    I’m grateful to Doughty for saving our club but how the hell did he manage to get so rich in the first place if he’s so blaise about his investments?

  2. Great article again NFFC and I couldn’t agree with you more, to you too Kieran. Arthur’s words to the press seem almost as blaise and ill prepared as Doughty’s investment strategy. Well at least we have a strategy now, we can all sleep at night. Personally I have seen chip shop owners (no offense at all meant to chip shop owners) who manager a better business than these guys. Maybe that’s why he works for a football club, a chip shop wouldn’t have him, he’s that sh*t. I was wondering how much Arthur has been paid over these years (to do b*gger all), it could well have bought us a few decent signings. But then it would have been up to the manager and his scouts to pick potentials and what do they know. For all the blame Calderwood is getting, in view of how crap the upper eschelons of Forest have been performing these long years, I don’t doubt for a second that the fault lies higher up. Well we can all rest safe in the knowledge that now we have a strategy……. right? So when is C. Ronaldo coming Mr Arthur?

  3. Being one of the biggest critics of MArthur on LTLF forums we all could be excused for thinking this is another atempt at spin!

    On the otherhand you could say he’s set himself up for a fall. He’s finally admitted to mistakes made and at least let the fans know what these were and what they’ve done to try and rectify them.

    This by no means means forgiveness, but maybe the heat is starting to get to him, and now he’s realised he needs to be honest with the fans.

    I really honestly think this is not only last chance saloon for Smoulders, but for MArthur too – and he know’s it!!!

  4. NFFC, you’ve been quiet on our African hero’s exploits at the ACN but I thought you might be interested to read that it would appear that Smoulderwood now has some competition:

    “If there’s one Black Star who personifies what can be achieved with drive and determination alone, it is Junior Agogo. His touch is diabolical, but through mighty willpower and, in fairness, huge physical power, he has led the Ghanaian line effectively, scoring twice in the tournament so far and becoming a national hero in the process – and a sex symbol! ‘JUNIOR THROBS GHANAIAN WOMEN’, roared one local headline this week, and the evidence comes before each match: when the players’ faces appear on the giant screen as the teams are being announced, thunderous cheers greet Essien and Sulley Muntari – but when Agogo appears, squeals of pleasure resound around the ground. When he celebrated his winner against Nigeria by removing his top to flash his rugged torso, ladies swooned – and men harrumphed. Agogo’s dynamism is sure to trouble a decidedly ropey Cameroon defence. As will Asamoah Gyan’s speed.”

    The full report is here: http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/02/07/haphazard_cameroon_stand_in_th.html

  5. In my opinion, it is easy to be churlish. Mark Arthur seems to have done little to advance the club, and yes, the timing of his statements seems very suspicious; BUT, the comments about having a more coherent transfer policy actually make sense to me, and seem to be bearing fruit (at least in the sense that the Nottingham boys are usually giving it their all and proud to wear the red shirt).

    Everyone makes mistakes. Some people make high profile, expensive mistakes that set back their own cause by several years. Arthur is not forgiven, but it is now up to him, and the club hierarchy to prove that they can make a positive difference to the future of this club.

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