Forest’s worst kept secret confirmed…

Andrew Cole match-worn Forest shirts - rare as rocking horse shit!

Andrew Cole match-worn Forest shirts - rare as rocking horse shit!

 

Andy “Andrew” Cole is no longer a Forest player, having had his contract terminated by mutual consent, some days after the rumours of such things happening surfacing all over the place.  Having failed to score in eleven appearances (five starting places) the striker has agreed with the powers-that-be at Forest to go their separate ways after yet another veteran signing for the Reds goes a bit awry.

Of course, the cynics amongst us might look at the signing, on the eve of Season Tickets going on sale, as a slightly suspicious one – although Cole had been on loan at Burnley from Sunderland last season at our level and by all accounts done okay for the Clarets.  Rumours that Nigel Doughty had stepped in immediately to remove Cole were countered with rumours of his apparent inclusion in the squad to face Crystal Palace – which he subsequently wasn’t.

Ultimately I suppose we’ll never know the reasons for Forest signing him nor why things didn’t work out as planned – but I guess that begrudging admiration is due to both parties making an expedient decision to not let the situation linger, and get it resolved.  Although I had never really considered Cole much else than a backup striker once our injured lads were back, it does leave us rather light on the striker front – and I imagine considerably lighter on the outgoing wages front (that said, I bet he’s had a pay off!).

It’s a rather ignominious end to a glittering playing career for him; after hearing tales of wanting to see his playing career out playing for the side local to him growing up, I think even the staunchest cynics amongst us were secretly hoping for the fairytale ending of him banging in the goals for us.  Alas, it would appear the career planning of Andy “Andrew” Cole will ever be remembered for being a year or two out of sync, so by the time it was time for the magical ending alas his legs had gone.

Fair thee well, Andy “Andrew” Cole; I fear that you were – from Forest’s point of view – only ever a vehicle to sell a few more season tickets.  I’m not sure what your motivations were, but given your career to date I find it hard to imagine that you came here not wanting to bang in the goals for us – so I wish you all the best in whatever you choose to do next.

Dignity lacking from down the A52..

The two faces of Kris Commons - from badge kisser to mud flinger...

The two faces of Kris Commons - from badge kisser to mud flinger...

It’s inevitably interesting observing things in the build-up to the first meeting between Derby and Forest in competitive fixtures for a while.  How elements of both sets of support start to puff out their chest with bravado and lose all sense of rhyme and reason, and the inevitable soundbites from players from the two sides start to air as well as the countdown continues. 

This article including a soundbite from a certain Kris Commons has been riling some fans, I just think it’s quite amusing.  You see, he makes antagonistic and derogatory comments about the Reds – a team he largely enjoyed good times with, let’s be honest.  But it’s Earnie who makes the headlines, someone who commanded a sizeable transfer fee, and frankly handles himself with a bit of dignity, which is nice as he’s representing our club.

Now given that league positions make us firmly the underdogs, it could be a case of being gracious in the face of possible defeat.  However, being a gracious victor is a more noble and subtle act – one I wouldn’t expect the likes of Commons to understand.  It gets me thinking about the numerous Derby fans I know, many of whom rank amongst my friends and they tend to fall into two distinct camps. 

The first – and majority – are regular decent folks, who happen to have gone hideously wrong in life and winded up supporting the Rams.  The second group are fairly low in number, but they’re consistent in their desire to:

(a) Proclaim Derby as ‘a bigger club‘ (whatever that means, often using phrasology like ‘The cream of the midlands’ – well, I’m lactose intolerant so that makes you a mere irritant!).  D’you know what?  If it makes you feel better, go for it.  Certainly on league placings and attendances they are certainly ahead of us.

(b) Accuse Forest fans of living in the past – they will do this by, during present-day based conversations,  reminding us that we won some European Cups, which hadn’t come up in conversation before until mentioned by the Derby fan in question.

 (c) They will desperately try to lay some kind of claim to Brian Clough.  Not only did he live in Derby during his time managing Forest, he was a Derby fan, and liked the club better, and thought Derby fans were great and Forest fans were idiots.  Yes, of course he did.  That’s why he stuck with us for 18 years when during his time managing us he could have walked into any job aside from the one the FA were in control of.

Which is the main reason I found the Brian Clough Trophy idea quite distasteful.  You see, I don’t really have a problem that he decided to live in Derby whilst managing us, I don’t even care if he ‘preferred’ their club to ours.  It is irrelevant, but to this group of Derby fans it is imperative to validate themselves and provide some sense of security to overcome their inferiority complex.

For what it’s worth, if any of them are reading, I think the clubs are similar in size, we’re both provincial clubs who historically occupy similar levels when averaged out.  We don’t live in the past – you obsess over our past because, frankly and understandably, you’re jealous of it.  Had your board not sacked Clough you probably would have had it instead of us, in your shoes I’d be jealous too.  And finally, I don’t really care who Brian Clough preferred, nor am I interested in tittle-tattling over his memory – I’m happy to consider him a legend for both sets of fans.

Now Commons has clearly encountered a number of this type of fan and is playing up to them, of course he will have encountered our own less thoughtful element too – but nonetheless, he has a lot to learn if he thinks burning bridges so publically are ever a sensible idea.  Earnshaw, on the other hand, handles himself with professionalism and dignity, which is to the credit of the club – and also earns him the headline on a Derby-based article, rather than the freebie midfielder shooting his mouth off.

This time next week…

… of course, aside from no longer daring to hope for a good result at the weekend, something else of importance will have come to pass.

The good people of Nottingham will have their statue of Brian Clough, which is due to be unveiled by his widow Barbara on the 6th November.  The location being the ‘V’ of King and Queen Street, just near the Market Square – outside where The Hard Rock Cafe used to be.

So, if you’re able to get into the centre of our fair city next Thursday at lunchtime, then please do so – the organisers and the council are keen for the people who supported the statue fund committee in raising the cash for the statue to come along and see the fruits of their labours revealed to the public.

It’s actually really rather exciting, and the end of a fairly long and interesting journey, so if you can make it there, please do so and join the celebrations.

1:00pm on November 6th, King/Queen Street junction.  Be there!

Forest claim first away points at Crystal Palace!

Crystal Palace – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

We’ve only gone and bleeding well won a game!  Sod’s law for me, I didn’t even get to listen to it as I’ve been out of Radio Nottingham range, and without Internet until now; so it’s been a rather tense evening of old skool updates by occasionally checking teletext to see how we were getting on.  It seems we had indeed reached rock bottom, and now could we have started to spring our way back from the depths of despair?

Fingers crossed!

Smoulds make a few forced changes, Breckin came in for the injured Wilson, Chambers for Fletcher (who couldn’t play as part of his loan agreement), with Perch moving into midfield and Chambers slotting in at right back.  McGugan, Cohen and McCleary completed the midfield, with Earnshaw and Garner starting up front together.  Paul Smith being on the bench quashes rumours he’s walked out – Cole’s lack of appearance perhaps adds fuel to the fire that he has!

So from what I’ve gleaned from reports and a couple of pals who did make the trip down to Selhurst is that Forest dominated early; something we’ve seen in our last few games, Earnshaw bringing early saves from Speroni, as well as going to ground under a challenge in the area.  However, unlike recent games, Forest actually took the lead – Chris Cohen lofting a freekick into the box that Brecks tried to get on the end of, it appeared to just go in directly.

Palace came back at us; but other chances were created, Perch almost putting Earnshaw through – but Speroni quick to react.  Lynch too did well to get his head on the ball to head across the six yard box, unfortunately no Forest players were gambling to convert the chance.  In stoppage time Chambers did well to clear a Butterfield cross after McGugan had given the ball away, allowing him to burst forward.

Second half saw Forest attacking again – McClearly on the left crossing to Cohen who forced a corner.  Half-time substitute Kuqi appeared to hold Lynch at bay whilst Ifill shot, Wes put a block in.  Lewis too was on hand to make a critical interception and pass the ball to safety as Palace started to come more into the game.  Camp having a little more to do than he’s been accustomed, including a smart save down to his right as the ball came through a crowd of bodies leaving him unsighted ’til the last minute.

Tyson replaced a tired Earnshaw with an hour on the clock to join Garner up front, and quickly involved himself with a couple of low balls into the penalty area.  Around ten minutes later Garner too was withdrawn for Matty Thornhill.  Almost instantly Palace equalised, Kuqi – our tormentor at the City Ground – chested down a long ball around 25 yards out, and promptly spannered it beyond Camp and into the goal.  Not the kind of goal you associate with him, much like his deft lob at the City Ground!

Forest didn’t collapse though, as is customary – they responded very positively through McCleary and Tyson.  Eventually this positivity payed off, Chris Cohen managed to get a toe on the ball to put Perch through one-on-one with Speroni, the ‘keeper saved his effort from six yards, but he failed to keep hold of it leaving Thornhill to react quickest and slide in to put the ball in the goal.

Davies was introduced for McCleary and almost scored immediately, Speroni saving at the second attempt, before Palace piled on the pressure.  This was relieved when Forest broke and McGugan again made Speroni work to save from the edge of the area – but we held on, we got the three points and there was, to coin a phrase, much rejoicing!  An invaluable three points for the Reds, and a result that takes us off the bottom of the table – albeit still six points from safety.

An invaluable platform upon which to build our preparations for the really rather important game coming up on Sunday.  Our neighbours also prepared well by beating Norwich by three goals to one at Pride Park this evening, but certainly our first away win – nay, our first away points of the season will certainly work wonders to instill some confidence and hopefully some patience amongst some of our supporters (self included at times).

I’m not getting too carried away just yet; particularly with not seeing the game – but it’s nice to put one over Warnock at least after the shameful cheating antics his side were up to at the City Ground not that long ago.

Be careful what you ask for..

Talk of protest is in the air, which isn’t really surprising.  Let’s face it – we’re in a really rather shit position, Smoulders said to judge him after ten games, and he’s had a bit extra and still we’re in a shit position.  It’s tough, and I can understand why groups of fans are anxious; but true to form – as yet – Forest’s collective set of supporters don’t seem to know exactly what they are protesting for.

It reminds me of a New Model Army lyric; ‘They gave us what we asked for, but never what we wanted‘, following on to ‘We didn’t want a victory, we just wanted to fight.’ This feels a bit like that, really.  We don’t really know how to solve the problem, just that there is one – and we feel we should do something about it.

Because anyone with any sense can see there’s something wrong at Forest – we’re bottom of the league, alarmingly adrift from safety after relatively few games.  But we are showing signs of playing well, notwithstanding a shaky defence, our performances – I honestly don’t think – don’t reflect our league standing.  The problem is that nobody seems to be able to universally put their finger on what is wrong.

And there is the problem with the protest.  The idea seems to have originated on one of the forums, and they don’t seem to have arrived at a specific focus for this protest.  Just that there needs to be one.  Whereas fellow bloggers trentendblog seem to have decided that ousting Nigel Doughty should be the aims of this action.  Until there is a clear goal for any planned protest, then it’s hard really to judge the merit of it.

Will it be a slightly embarrassing taking to the streets with badly spelled banners like in Newcastle not that long ago?  Will it be barely two dozen people in the Main Stand car park before the Birmingham game? (although arguably similar action was one of the catalysts for Joe Kinnear departing us).  I’m not sure – I can certainly understand the impulse, though would be reluctant to comment further until I understand the intentions or purpose of any action that may or may not be forthcoming.

At the moment I adopt my default position as fence-sitter, as there isn’t enough information to either support or oppose these actions; I’m currently assuming the Doughty-focused tirade linked earlier is an over-eager misinterpretation of something that is still being decided.  I would urge people planning such things to communicate very clearly their intentions though, which will help people decide whether to add their voice if they are in agreement.

Distressing times, as ever, to be a Forest supporter it seems.  How I had longed for a season of low drama and mid table obscurity this year – fat chance, eh?

Oh, and the FA apparently are investigating the Dave Jones whining.  I wonder whether they will be investigating the inappropriate chanting that goes on at every ground in the country every week?  The Munich disaster, the Hillsborough disaster, Harold Shipman, false allegations and countless other unsavoury topics – they all get regularly reeled out by mindless fans of clubs up and down the country.  Nothing like a nice random example to make of someone though.

Particularly if it helps Dave Jones sell more copies of his forthcoming book.  I really can’t believe what a meal is being made of this; particularly by Cardiff City supporters who apparently chanted similar things at him back when he was the manager of Wolves!

Correction: Has Cole been booted out?

It would seem so. The Guardian is hinting at it, that it’s a Doughty decision rather than a Smoulds one; and other usually reliable sources point to an imminent departure once the legalities and formalities have been tied up.  I do hope that doesn’t mean we are paying off his contract!

Whether this is linked to rumours of Forest players involved in fighting outside the Gatecrasher nightclub in Nottingham on saturday evening is unclear; but after the ‘Tantragate‘ nonsense in the past, I imagine Forest will be very keen to quash any risk of repeats of their playing staff causing bother in the city centre.

Watch this space, it is proving to be an interesting afternoon – if somewhat disappointing, given our problems on the pitch we could do without problems off it.  Hopefully Forest learn from this and stop signing ageing has-beens… whilst it may work for some teams, it clearly doesn’t work for us!

The final suggestion that this story may have legs is that Forest have denied anything is amiss in the Evening Post. A sure sign that something is afoot!

Has Cole walked out?

There are whisperings as yet unconfirmed that he is gone, y’know.  If it proves to be true it is an eerie case of history repeating itself, with last season’s shenanigans in signing Neil Lennon only to have him go walkabout and eventually be released to join Wycombe on a free transfer.  Whether this is unhappy coincidence or the signings of these fading stars is just a cynical ploy by Forest to boost season ticket sales, who knows?

That said, should Andy ‘Andrew’ Cole have decided to hang up his boots and depart, I can’t say I’ll be exactly heartbroken.  He kicked up a fuss at not making the team earlier in the season, but his appearances in a Forest shirt have been – whilst not as bad as some fans seem to suggest – not up to the standard I would expect from him; and no, I wouldn’t expect him to be running around like Tyson, he never did that when he was Tyson’s age!

Even if it doesn’t turn out to be true, it has at least brought about an ace pun from a poster on LTLF – although given that there are embryonic plans for some form of protest before the Birmingham home match being formulated on Talk Forest (which you need to register for in order to view, unfortunately), perhaps people would be happier if it were ‘Washing Machines live longer with Col gone’ rather than ‘Cole gone’.  I suppose the truth will out over coming hours and days!

Cardiff City latest winners in the City Ground points giveaway!

Nottingham Forest – 0
Cardiff City – 1

I tire of writing these reports; I wasn’t going to bother ’til tomorrow – but then I decided tomorrow was a new day, so I’d do it this evening after all.  A shake-up from Smoulds saw Perch in for Chambers at right back, Lynch replacing Bennett at left back, McGugan into midfield and Garner up front – with Tyson dropping to the bench and Cole dropped entirely, and Forest playing the murky bastard-child-of-433-and-451 formation that Smoulderwood had abandoned for a more traditional 442 in recent games.

And d’you know what?  For around thirty to forty minutes it looked like it might well work.  A first glimpse of Garner in a Forest shirt showed much promise; particularly given he must be incredibly short on match fitness and sharpness.  The visitors, with the numerous and vocal fans (more on them later), were restricted to very few opportunities, the best of which was spannered wide by the ungainly Bothroyd.  Again a shove in the area didn’t give us a penalty, as on Tuesday night, and again despite crafting chances – Forest were wasteful in taking them.  McGugan coming closest striking the post.

 The visitors surprised me in their defensive outlook; so half time came with some degree of cautious optimism in the stands – after all, we’ve seen good performances in the first half easily outdone by buffoonery in the second.  It’s true that when our defence had duties to perform the central two looked shaky to say the least, and Cardiff do have dangerous players capable of causing damage on the break – they were clearly just having an off day this afternoon.

Tyson was introduced at half time for Anderson; presumably down to tiredness issues for the loanee, and the second half started really positively – with Forest crafting real chances with a bit of guile and cunning pay.  Perch crossed one to the back stick which Tyson headed by to Garner who was only prevented from netting on his debut by a last ditch block from a Cardiff defender.  Seconds later clever play from McGugan set McCleary up for a chance which was just wide of the post.

Then came the calamity.  McGugan clumsily brought down McPhail in the area, the referee awarded the spotkick, McCormack converted by blasting it low and central – underneath the diving Camp.  A veritable McPenalty if you will, and one that somewhat knocked the stuffing out of the Reds and energised the visitors into their first real spell of dominance in the game as they started to get forward more and cause problems for ‘Calamity Wes’ and ‘Calamity Luke’ (who had been brought on just before the penalty for ‘Calamity Kelvin’).

McCleary was the best attacking hope for the Reds, and he brought another good save from Heaton from the edge of the area, before the diminutive figure of Robert Earnshaw was introduced into the fray for the clearly tired Garner – a solid debut from him though, although it was good to see Earnie back too.  He received a good ovation from Forest and Cardiff fans alike, which is always nice to see.

The travelling side had clearly decided they were content to sit on their lead – and given their creation of chances so far that wasn’t really surprising.  It felt like the equaliser must arrive when Earnshaw turned excellently to get through on goal, but his shot from an angle was excellently saved by Heaton – although I couldn’t help but half wish he’d squared it for the onrushing Tyson – however, I think most strikers in his position would’ve gone for goal.

Our best chance in the second half came from Tyson burst down the left flank, he put in an excellent cross for Cohen, but alas the impressive Miguel Comminges managed to get a touch on it to enable his keeper to gather.  After this it became a huffing and puffing exercise as Cardiff tried to run down the clock, with Forest unable to create any more meaningful chances meaning we still find ourselves rooted to the bottom of the table on six points.  Joy.

Now, I usually look forward to seeing a big away following – but I had some reservations based on past experiences with Bluebird fans.  Outside the ground though I got chatting to a group of lads from Cardiff, as I often do with away fans, and they were top blokes.  Perhaps I had been a little forward in thinking negative things.  During the game I spotted the same group of lads, foaming at the mouth chanting ‘scabs’ at a few bemused Forest fans.  Perhaps I was right after all, or perhaps some sort of weird transmogrification happens when they enter a football ground.

It brings out the worst in our fans too; I’m no fan of this rabid patriotism that encounters with Welsh teams brings out in people.  Nothing wrong with being proud of your country, not at all, but the pointless England/Welsh slagging off is completely dull.  As is the ‘scabs’ nonsense, as is our ‘sign on..’ nonsense in response.  The image of a pre-teen Welsh lad chanting ‘scabs’ at Forest fans sums it up really.  This lad wasn’t even born during the miner’s strikers.  I was only about 7 or 8.  Pretty pathetic.

It’s the unbridled hatred that confuses me though; we all like a bit of banter – but Cardiff do have a much higher per cent of properly angry fans.  I mean, if En-ger-land is so full of shit, why the hell would you bother coming?  Where does this rage come from?  I guess they probably get a similar reaction from every English club’s moron element as they do here, so perhaps are constantly on the defensive.  I don’t know – it’s fascinating observing them from an anthropological point of view, though!

As my companion at the game ruefully concluded as we exited the ground back to the bus stop, our season tickets had at least served the dual function of allowing us to see a football match but also take a look at the ‘idiot enclosure’ in the human zoo that the away end became this afternoon.

Also finally, I hear many whispers of some kind of rift between Paul Smith and Kelvin Wilson; which some folk have ascribed to the hasty acquisition of Lee Camp.  Today’s rumour (courtesy of a comment on an earlier post) is that Wilson struck Smith today.  Now, ‘Calamity Kelvin’ was poor again tonight, and frankly I’m losing patience with all our defenders at the moment, and if this is true it worries me – because this is the person who wears the armband, what kind of example does that set?  

I’m losing faith in a lot of things.  It sounds repetitive, and like a horrible cliche, but we were the better team today, and but for some slightly shonky refereeing (their penalty was a penalty, but where was ours?), good saves, bad luck (hitting the post) and poor taking of chances, we’ve once again managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  How many times do you hear comments like that retrospectively about a team that has been relegated?  Quite often I fancy.

On the bright side, Garner looks good – when he gets to full fitness and sharpness the prospect of him excites me.  Earnie returning is a great boost too, although the amount of limping that was going on (McGugan, McCleary and Tyson at various points) worries me – do we not do something to prevent injuries that other teams do?  And our defence worries me – I don’t think most of our defenders are good enough for this level – if any of them as Wilson is properly going off the boil, and he was the best candidate for making the step up.

Palace away up next, which will be a tricky place to go – particularly with the inevitable Warnock-inspired trick-or-cheat fest that is bound to ensue; and then I don’t need to mention the odious place to which we must trudge our weary feet a week tomorrow.  Trips to that place have hardly been replete with joy since it was built – and sadly I can’t see this one being any different, given how things are panning out for us.  Deep joy!

Will we ever win again?

McClearys first half thunderbolt wasnt enough to secure the win

McCleary's first half thunderbolt wasn't enough to secure the win

Nottingham Forest – 1
Ipswich Town – 1

Ready for a trip to the theatre of misery?” quipped my companion as we set off for the City Ground this evening.  Football does rather feel like a chore rather than a pleasure these days, it has to be said.  But duty is duty, and I took my place amongst the 19,000 plus crowd on a cold Tuesday night, the attendance bolstered somewhat by an impressive following from the murky depths of East Anglia on a school night.

So, the first news of the day was that Lee Camp was indeed – as expected – found in goal replacing Paul Smith.  Home debuts were also given to Fletcher and Anderson in midfield as Forest lined up in a four-four-two formation with Anderson on the right and McCleary on the left, with Cole and Tyson upfront.  A familiar back four consisting of Chambers, Morgan, Wilson and Bennett.  

It was a mere three minutes into the game that Forest had the ball in the net, although McCleary was rightly flagged offside as he slid the ball into the net at the back stick from close range.  He had another shot shortly after, which was wide from distance.  Ipswich winger Walters hit an absolute piledriver from miles out at an angle, but luckily for us it struck the underside of the bar and was eventually cleared with Camp nowhere near it.

Eventually we did score, rather shockingly.  Paul Anderson was played through with a lovely through ball by Andy ‘Andrew’ Cole, unfortunately his first touch took the ball too far away giving the visiting ‘keeper enough time to close down – but we did win a corner.  Cohen took this, and it was half cleared to McCleary who hit a powerful drive from 25 yards that nestled into the corner of the net, much to the shock of the home fans who didn’t quite realise how to react to our first goal in ages!

At the other end Camp had a couple of moments where he needed to be on his toes to come out to thwart the lively Walters who seemed to be bypassing our defence at will.  Indeed, it’s worth pointing out the defence, because they were pretty calamitous this evening, but none more so than Bennett, practically every time he touched the ball it was met with chants of ‘that’s why you’re going down!” by the Ipswich fans as another simple pass was put into touch etc.  I don’t think his withdrawal before half time for Lynch was wholly down to injury.

We had the ball in the net again, Nathan Tyson heading and the ball crossing the line despite a strong touch by the keeper.  I’d need to see a replay to be sure, but I am currently convinced that he wasn’t anywhere near offside as he ran from behind the defender to get his head on it.  Of course, what we see in the heat of the moment isn’t always accurate, so I’ll reserve judgement for now.

And so half time came with Forest enjoying a rare lead over opponents.  Immediately as the second half kicked off Lynch took a nasty knock, but played on – and still impressed more than Bennett managed whilst semi-conscious.  Ipswich were starting to knock the ball around more confidently though, which is always a worry, and were gradually starting to look like they might prove more dangerous than they had in the first half.

The breakthrough for the visitors came when Quinn broke down the left hand side of the penalty area, and naively Anderson stuck a foot out.  It was soft, but there was contact, and it was in the area – so whilst Quinn made a meal of it, I was in no real doubt that if you follow the laws of the game, then it’s a penalty kick.  Miller spanked it hard to the bottom right, Camp guessed the right way, but couldn’t reach it.  A disappointing way to lose the lead.

Doubly disappointing was the referee not giving a penalty when Tyson appeared to be clearly hauled back by McAuley at the other end; McAuley I think had been Town’s man of the match, although he benefitted from some very soft refereeing as he kicked and hacked at Tyson all night with little or no recompense from the referee.  He’s a big lad but he has some pace as well – probably best known for his time down the A46 at Leicester.

McGugan was introduced for Cole, and quickly tricked his way to a shooting chance, but his left footed drive, whilst well struck, was straight at Richard Wright in the Ipswich goal, the final real chance of the game came to Wes Morgan who planted a header firmly into the ground, and about two yards wide, from a great position after a corner.  Ultimately, it was the same old story for Forest – either a poor final ball, or a poor final shot.

Ipswich looked a bit like us in that regard – it’s true that their defence actually looked comfortable stroking the ball around in patient build-up play, unlike Wilson, Wes and Chambers who generally look like they’ve only just been introduced to a football at times.  I was impressed with Lynch though.  But back onto Ipswich, whilst they knocked the ball around well in defence and midfield, they too lacked the killer pass or finish.

This means it took a moment of naiveness from Anderson – who had a good game except for this – to give them a chance.  Which is always frustrating, because once again we’re the architects of our own downfall.  Whilst Camp had no saves of note to make, his collection of crosses was solid, and even as a huge fan of Paul Smith, I do admit his distribution was generally a cut above.  I would be interested to compare their abilities at shot-stopping, and see how fans react should his eagerness to get off his line backfires.

On to the fans – I thought it was pretty shameful that significant chunks of them were booing whilst the game was still going on.  To be honest, I’m not a fan of booing after a game but can understand it – but during the game?  Let’s face it, whilst it’s annoying, we’re on the back of four straight defeats, so in that context, perhaps a draw isn’t that bad?  Well, it is – I know – but stop being so bloody fickle – I was willing Forest to score, not just because we so desperately need a win, but because I wanted to see the transformation of the booing folks around me.

In other news, one of the trailists from Arsenal, James Dunne, has apparently signed for us – I’ve no idea whether that’s permanently, or a loan, or what!  The other two lads have returned to the Gunners.  And so there’s another three days to go, and then another trip to the theatre of misery to contemplate; it’s surely not good when trips to see your team play becomes a portent of doom for you, is it?

Clough in bronze, Clough on screen!

Brian Clough rarely escapes my thoughts, this week he’s rarely escaped both the local and national press.  Today in the Evening Post, for example, the forthcoming statue unveiling has been given a rather exciting prelude – that of Barbara Clough, widow of Brian, proclaiming Les Johnson’s effigy of Clough to be ‘just perfect‘, high praise indeed, from the person above all others whose opinion counts!  The full piece is available to read on the Evening Post website – and it certainly makes the countdown to the unveiling all the more nerve-tingling!

On the national press front, a Daily Mail reading nazi sympathiser (sic) alerted me to more Clough-related news which I hadn’t been aware of, in Charles Sale’s column.  This news is that ITV Sport are working on a major documentary about the Great Man.  The way Sale writes about it is that it is to be couched as a more realistic alternative to the movie adaptation of David Peace’s ‘The Damned United’; and will certainly prove more realistic given the reams of archive material ITV have of Clough, and is being suggested to be a celebration rather than a character assassination which harsher critics than I have levelled at Peace’s portrayal of Clough.

So that’s two Clough-related things to be looking forward to – certainly I anticipate them with a greater degree of excitement than I do tonight’s visit to the City Ground; although with both Smoulds and Magilton under pressure to deliver improvements, it could just be the jump-start we need to get our season back on track.  Gosh, that sounded almost optimistic!