Derby go down, are you singing?

As recently as last night you might have heard the old refrain ‘When Derby go down again, again, we’ll sing, we’ll sing’ as the huddled Reds fans tried to amuse themselves in the face of a shambolic performance on the pitch by Forest.

Well, the inevitable has happened in what was dubbed by the Daily Mirror as ‘the worst Premier League game ever’, which actually sounded reasonably entertaining from the internet updates I saw.  After having a chuckle at Paul Jewell’s sex tape antics, I imagine a few Forest fans are raising a consolatory glass of something mind-numbing to the first ever Premier League side to be relegated before March is out.

I can’t say it’s filled me with much joy, to be honest – because, let’s face it, no matter how desperate the Rams’ season has been as they plot a course for the worst points total ever, I imagine there’s some consolation that they not only netted a pile of cash for reaching the top flight, but they will get to trouser a load more in the form of parachute payments over the next couple of seasons.

Sure, a Derby relegation is always something to be pleased about for us – but put in context with our own situation, down to fifth now thanks to Southend winning today, in real danger of not even making the playoffs, it does make you realise that we’re really not in any position to be gloating about anything – which is a bit depressing!

So yeah, it may well be that the metaphorical Ian Moore scored a goal, and they can indeed shove their Hector up their hole, but frankly, I’m not sure I can muster up the enthusiasm now Derby have gone down again – because it doesn’t look like we’ll be playing ’em next year… that’s probably a good thing, considering.

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He needs carting off to the loony bin…

Sometimes a good night’s sleep can change your perspective on things, well after a not particularly good night’s sleep owing to an early start today, my perspective remains as it was last night.  The end of the tether has been reached, and with no news of resignations on the radio I went about my morning chores with all things Forest cast from my mind, which is surely the best way to be?

Until I saw a copy of today’s Evening Post, of course.  In which, not only does our esteemed manager refuse to give up on automatic promotion, he actually described last night’s game using phrases such as ‘hard earned’ (had their goal not gone in, it would apparently have been a hard earned point – only hard for poor Smithy!), and apparently we also ‘ran and chased.’

He finally admits that there is a real danger of us dropping out of the playoffs altogether, and there’s still the Leeds United points appeal factor that could easily have a bearing on this – but to bang on about almost being pleased with a ‘hard earned’ point the day after spouting off about winning all remaining eight games is laughable – he has no credibility, he has lost the fans and I think the players too.

I tried to imagine what I wanted to read from him, and to be fair – aside from “I’m going to resign” there isn’t a lot he could really say to console us, but to come out with the same old tired claptrap after every disappointing performance (apparently the two games prior to Doncaster were ‘excellent’) is getting incredibly tiresome, roll on the end of the season since seemingly that is the only time we will be rid of him.

“We’re shit, and we’re sick of it”

Doncaster Rovers – 1
Nottingham Forest – 0

The anguished and pain-ridden cry of a frustrated supporter gives me my headline, and it was taken up by a fair proportion of the travelling Reds fans as an apt anthem for the performance, and how this season is turning out to be.  Indeed, it should be a fitting epitaph to Smoulderwood’s last game at the helm of this once proud and now so bedraggled football club.

How silly those words of a target for 100% win ratio between now and the end of the season must feel to him now, as he shuns the media after leaving the field with his ears burning from a tirade of chants demanding his removal from the travelling Forest fans who have reached the end of a very long tether – and whilst Smoulds may be a very nice person, he is rapidly turning himself in to a figure to be pilloried.

With a sacking seemingly unlikely, I find myself like so many other desperate souls craving for him to do the decent thing and quit with what little dignity he has remaining intact.  I’m not irrational enough to say I hate him, to call him a wanker, or whatever other choice words I heard him described as today on a chilly night in Doncaster, but I can say I hate him being our manager – and I sincerely wish he wasn’t any more.

It’s a relatively short drive to Doncaster, but I bet there’s not one of the 3,000 fans who went there in reasonable spirits to support the team who felt that the performance on offer tonight was in any way worthwhile of the travel – yes, we can bang on about tactics and formations (argh!) but there wasn’t really a performance that stood out throughout the squad with much merit – perhaps aside from Smith who made a few decent saves, but equally had a scary night distribution-wise.

For the first ten minutes or so the fans were up for it, after Forest set the tone for what was to be a pathetic performance we were quelled – with a few pockets of backing well into the second half, but to travel to an away game and hear chants struggle to get off the ground, to have the majority of the fans voluntarily sitting rather than standing, and just the general malaise that has now infected our travelling support as well as our home support is deeply worrying.

Smoulderwood spoke still of going for automatic, well surely even he can concede that isn’t going to happen now – on current form we’ll be lucky to make the playoffs at all, Southend could overtake us at the weekend – and then of course we have an impossible-seeming trip to Carlisle to contend with.  You might have noticed I’ve not actually mentioned the match at all – because, frankly, it isn’t worth reporting on.

The only shot on target we had was blown up for a foul, and it was a Chambers header practically straight into the floor that never looked like going in anyway.  McGugan had a great opportunity after Thornhill fed the ball to him but conspired to miss the target (Thornhill too could have had a shot I thought), other than that, we created bugger all.  To compound matters Ormerod received lengthy treatment before going off with some kind of injury.

That really is about all there was to cheer about – and whilst I’m not a fan of berating the team or manager during play, I do confess and unshamefully that I joined in the chanting tonight.  We were dire – we were shapeless in formation throughout the game, we had no width, the strikers had no service and despite supposedly having 5 men in defence were completely overrun by the lively Doncaster side facing us.

As it stood their goal was a bit poxy, a soft freekick that appeared to be hit low but nestle in the far corner (it was at the other end so my visibility was poor), but they had plenty of chances that they should have done better with, most of which fell to Jason ‘Tina Turner’ Price who managed to miss in an array of spectacular and, were it not for our own shitness, hilarious attempts on goal.

I can’t seem to find the words to express the kind of mixture of despondant rage I’m feeling – the taunts of the Doncaster fans were water off a ducks back to us tonight, we’re so low now that we can’t be drawn any lower – all the hope, optimism and pride for this season has finally been extinguished leaving us feeling like empty shells, with insults and jibes bouncing off us, unfelt – because the team we support has beaten all feeling and passion out of us.

Like so many Forest fans this evening I will take to my bed desperately hoping that I wake up in the morning to Smoulderwood’s resignation.  Sad in many ways, because I have enjoyed constructing a character around him, but unfortunately the caricature of a clueless buffoon that he has cultivated for himself has become much more compelling than any bronzen womaniser I could try to poke fun at.  If you’re reading this, Colin, please do the decent thing.