I’ve read a few pieces by this chap, a couple at least about Forest, and whilst it can be dripping with cliche a little it did get me thinking that certainly I for one need to try to contain the threat of all-consuming negativity that engulfs us at the moment. Indeed, their Forest section is generally a decent read should you fancy a different place to read about the mighty Reds.
The basic tenet of the article is that Smoulders epitomises the ‘playing not to lose’ mentality, which shackles us with a fear of losing as well as, perversely, a fear of winning as well. Now, anyone who has attended The Office style business training might recognise this kind of language and start to cringe a little, but applied to football it has a much more realistic application.
Of course, the guide in question doesn’t get down to exactly how one goes about addressing this mentality issue – certainly being a defender, it is perfectly understandable that this art is the focus of Smoulderwood’s tactical machinations. The Doncaster game is a good case in point, he approached the game talking the talk – eight wins in eight needed, automatic still the target, and then delivered a shameful performance (with a little help from the players of course).
We seem to play three quarters of a game with this ‘playing not to lose’ mentality, by which point we concede the inevitable goal and then – generally after a wait – we see the inevitable and shapeless hurling on of attacking players without any real gameplan to somehow try to force the win. It’s as predictable as it is infuriating, and I hope not to see another repeat of it at Carlisle on tuesday!
So, Smoulders, should you be reading (which I doubt!) – let’s have some positivity from kick off, let’s play with some width (you do NOT achieve this by shoehorning two centrebacks into a wingback role), let’s have two wingers – if Commons isn’t fit, play Bastians, let’s have McCleary on the right, let’s let our strikers get in the box rather than having to come deep or wide to get the ball – let’s show some balls.
You’d have to be a complete mentalist to think there’s any hope in hell at all that we can reach second, but we can go into the playoffs on a good run – and guard against the very real danger of dropping out of promotion contention altogether, and both manager and team could do very well to deliver some decent positive performances to try to repair the seemingly broken relationship between fans and club.
Play positively and attack at Carlisle and us fans (at least the ones not wise enough to get a refund on their tickets upon postponement!) will respond in kind – the media may berate supporters for being ‘fickle’ or unreasonable, but I wonder if they were paying to watch such dirges they would perhaps be a little more sympathetic to our plight.
If the powers-that-be at Forest want the ugly scenes at Doncaster to not be repeated then it must start with a positive performance, after which Smoulderwood needs to get a grip on reality and not get carried away with talk of anything other than sensible preparation for the play offs. If all this happens, I might – just might – stop moaning a bit!