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.

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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!