An outgoing, an incoming? And some musings..

Fletcher’s gone back to Palace as his loan was due to expire soon, and he’s still injured – probably a sound move. He seems to have had quite his unfair share of critics despite not really having much of a chance to make an impact through injury; and as a result of that won’t be massively missed from a playing perspective. Which is a pity, as ‘on paper’ he was just the kind of experienced hand we lacked.

We’ve also been linked with former Oldham striker Chris Porter, now plying his trade with Motherwell (not Dundee United as everyone else seems to think!).  There’s no surprise really that we’re trying to get hold of someone capable of sticking the ball in the onion bag, the only tricky is that we could do with somebody capable of stopping it going into ours too, oh, and someone to sort midfield out as well – dearie me, it’s all just gone to pot, hasn’t it?

Supporters are understandably upset, and the scapegoat game is in full flow – it’s a game I’ve definitely participated in historically, I try to avoid it if I can – although it’s hard not to try to seek out those who might be responsible; I’ve kinda given up – although it’s unsurprising that Smoulderwood is spending the credit he earned over recent games much more quickly than he ever amassed it.

It becomes uncomfortable involving oneself with online communities of Forest fans at times like these, with talks of protests once again surfacing (but still without a real purpose insofar as I can determine), it seems that anyone and anything becomes fair game for a lambasting; with little room for rational thought.  The saddest fact of the matter being that these reactions are completely understandable, we do find ourselves reaching a threshold which we mustn’t cross if we are to avoid relegation this season – which will spell disaster for the future of the club.

Despite all that we look forward, if that’s the right term, to a trip to the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow to face another fellow struggler; the boos from the fans will be ringing still in the players ears, and hopefully they can channel that into a less pitiful performance and get us three much needed points.  Having said that, a bad result at the Keepmoat Stadium, one which saw us all screaming (self included!) for the manager’s head, was the catalyst for what was to follow…

But surely he can’t pull something like that out the bag again, can he?

Ten man Canaries send Reds to the basement..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Norwich City – 2

A combination of timing and that crippling sense of lethargy when needing to chronicle the demise of the Reds contributed to no match report yesterday, and a fairly sizably crippling hangover might well make this one pretty short.  In the absence of my ramblings the comments on my sulky post from yesterday seem to be doing a good job in providing an insight into how bloody infuriating we are at the moment.

Now, whether I’ve written it before or not I’m not sure, but I’m sure like most of you I was eyeing the Norwich game as the beginning of a run of fixtures that would see us start to amass some points and get ourselves into a healthier looking league position.  As it stands we supposedly had an ideal start – down to ten men, with the majority of the game with superior numbers, but of course, there’s the massive drag factor of the Sky TV cameras.

Not to mention that of our players.  Earnshaw picked up an injury during the warm up (prompting not unreasonable questions as to what our fitness/coaching team are actually doing!), so the long awaited return of, frankly, our only striker who has shown any indication of finishing off his chances is delayed once more.  It’s a worry, as his return was part of the longed-for resurgence.

So, the game.  The first half wasn’t so bad – aside from a few things.  Camp was the first keeper called into action, and did well to smother a chance that had fallen to Bell.  Forest too attacked with something approximating purpose, with Marshall in the Canaries goal being forced to punch clear as his defence was under pressure.  Cohen was proving our most potent conduit, crossing to Tyson who headed wide.

The half was panning out to be what it was, two not-particularly-good sides at least attempting to play some decent football, and given the defensive frailties of both sides, there were opportunities for attackers to have chances and draw saves from the goalkeepers.  Garner brought a final save from Marshall before Norwich were reduced to ten men – which would surely open up the game for the Reds?

Tyson burst down the middle with a clear run to goal, and was scythed down pretty much on the 18 yard line.  Whilst I reckon it probably was a freekick rather than a penalty, it would’ve been nice to have a bit of luck in our favour on a decision like that.  As it was, Doherty was sent off for a professional fowl, and the freekick was taken by Anderson – squaring to Thornhill who struck the ball on target, but insufficiently to beat Marshall.

Norwich withdrew Hoolahan for Otsemobor to rebalance their side in the wake of losing their captain, and then immediately went up the Forest end and scored – Bell crossing for Patterson to volley into the ‘net from 12 yards or so.  So within two minutes the stalemate was broken – in favour of the team with ten men!

You could see that Forest had the right intentions to try to take advantage of their extra man, but it was tentative and whilst putting some degree of pressure on in the first half, with headed chances for Garner etc, it didn’t really look all that convincing.  Just as it wasn’t looking so, though, Anderson latched onto a Garner throughball which put him through on goal and able to curl the ball into the net to make it 1-1 five minutes before half time.

At half time, aside from presumably telling the lads they didn’t need to make an effort for the next 45 minutes, Smoulds introduced Garath McCleary to the action in place of Matt Thornhill who was struggling with an injury.  And Forest were, well, the were starting to show signs of the ‘let’s hoof it up to Tyson’ game that we are all painfully familiar.

Garner got on the end of an Anderson cross, but again was denied by Marshall in the Norwich goal; Cohen too was denied by the ‘keeper after a decent cross by Tyson looked bound for the top corner.  It had the feeling of one of those games were clumsy Forest would labour and create chances, and ultimately not take them and end up with a disappointing draw.  Frustrating as that would have been, it can always get worse, however!

Leroy Lita would be the architect of our downfall, taking the ball forward to Croft who crossed to, well, three Forest players who conspired to see the ball end up in the back of the net.  Chambers was credited with the goal, Cohen was close to it too.  Ultimately, it was predictably calamitous!  Norwich proceeded to shut up shop, Forest proceeded to trudge around and never get back into the game.

As regular readers will know, I’m not a fan of booing – but it was a pretty shameful showing, and leaves us back on the bottom of the pile whilst we contemplate tuesday’s trip to fellow strugglers Doncaster – assuming of course the game doesn’t get snowed off, which is a possibility.  Smoulds seems to have pivoted from tolerated (and even liked) to being villified again, and frankly, I’m left feeling like I can’t really be arsed to keep writing about it!

For the love of God..

Report tomorrow, if I can be arsed. For now, here’s my plan for the evening.

Camp the hero again saving a point at the Gate..

Bristol City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

So we’re unbeaten in four league games – yay!  Considering these four games consisted of three away trips to Palace, Direby and Brizzle, and the home game was against high flying Birmingham, then really perhaps that’s an impressive run given our current lowly standing.  Having said that, stats can be twisted in any direction, and we’re still in the relegation zone, and we’re still three games without a win.

The earliest chance fell to Bristol City stooge McIndoe who stole in at the back post and missed with the whole goal to aim at after around five minutes.  Forest took the lead with a very welcome first goal for Garner, Cohen picked out Tyson on the left who calmly took the ball past Fontaine before picking out Garner who calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net under pressure from the home defenders.

Adebola should’ve done better after getting the better of calamity Kelv and calamity Wes, but with Camp rushing out was hurried into shooting over.  Forest were still creating too, with Tyson and Garner causing problems for the home defence – this time the final chance fell to Tyson who couldn’t quite keep his shot from going just wide of the far post with home defenders bearing down on him.

The equaliser came around 6 or 7 minutes shy of half time, with an unpressured Marvin Elliott absolutely spannering an Adebola cross in from around 30 yards.  An excellent strike, not a lot Camp could’ve done – but definitely preventable had the shooting chance been effectively closed down.  Disappointing, but a tremendous strike nonetheless.

Straight after half time Tyson burst past the hapless Cole Skuse and put the ball past Basso to restore the lead for Forest.  I’m really pleased for Tys who’s been putting in a lot of work lately – as well as today – so he gets not only an assist to his credit, but also a richly deserved goal which will hopefully give him a bit more confidence as we move into a sequence of games were we really need to start picking up some wins.

Elliott was still looking dangerous, and after Johnson sent a ball over the top towards him he could only shoot over with the entire Forest back four chucking themselves infront of him.  Former Forest striker Stern John was introduced by Gary Johnson to bolster his strikeforce, whereas Smoulds recognised the wobbles that were appearing in midfield and put on Fletcher for Thornhill.

Forest almost had it wrapped up thanks to a gifted goal – Anderson payed through Tyson, and Basso had to be quick to prevent an embarrassing ricochet which looked bound to be another ‘Own Goal’ to sit embarrasingly close to the top of our top scorer chart so far this season.  The home side started to build pressure though, and with eleven minutes to go Adebola headed a corner down with the ball falling to Fontaine to shoot from the edge of the area through a crowd.

Chambers had a chance for the Reds, forcing a decent save from Basso, but Camp and Morgan were kept busy preventing attempts by the home side to get the winner.  However, Perchy almost gave us a much-craved win, getting on the end of a Cohen freekick but only able to direct the ball over from four yards with a flailing leg.

And despite this interesting and open battle between two sides, the headline incident happened in stoppage time.  Chambers was adjudged to have fouled Stern John in the penalty area resulting in the 8,452nd penalty for Forest to concede this season without being awarded one.  It was taken well by McIndoe but Camp was equal to it, diving to his right and saving with one hand conceding a corner.

A good match, and a fair result on balance – with the natural euphoria of a stoppage time penalty save giving Forest fans the sense of victory and the home fans disappointed.  We really do need to start putting some wins together though.  I wouldn’t say the pessimism that often plagues my posts is entirely vanquished, but things don’t seem quite so hopeless as they did a few weeks back.

Clough statue replica sales hit £50,000!

 

Less than a week after the statue of Brian Clough was unveiled near the Old Market Square in Nottingham, more than half the limited edition replicas have been sold.

A special run of 1,000 replicas, each individually numbered, is being produced at £100 each – and already more than 500 have been snapped up.

An estimated 5,000 people attended the unveiling in the city centre last Thursday. Following the ceremony, Mrs Barbara Clough viewed the replica, which has now gone into production. Standing six inches high, the statue comes on a marble base. Numbers one to ten of the special edition will be given to Mrs Clough, with former Forest captain John McGovern being presented with an additional replica.

Orders for the replica can be made:

online through www.TheMediaGroup.tv/BrianClough

by phone on 0115 969 4600 

or by post, enclosing a cheque for £100 payable to The Media Group, to 

Brian Clough Statue
The Media Group
1 Wilford Business Park
Ruddington Lane
Nottingham
NG11 7EP

The Media Group, Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Forest FC, the Brian Clough Statue Committee and the Clough family are taking no profit from the sales. Any profits from the sale of the replicas will be donated to charity and announced in the media early in the New Year.

There was an English club, an Irishman, and a Dubai investor…

O'Neill - moving to Forest according to citizens of cloud cuckoo land...

Not content with the general non-event that was the rumour of a Big Sam led consortium seeking to acquire the mighty Reds, the latest Dubai-based collective keen to waste sink millions of pounds into Forest are going to do so with Aston Villa boss and former Forest player Martin O’Neill at the helm.  If you believe a damn word the Daily Express have to say, that is!

 

Without being mean to Smoulds, who is very much in NFFCBlog’s good books at the moment, it would be a foolish supporter who wouldn’t take O’Neill and Robertson to replace him in a shot.  However, back in reality – he’s doing a sterling job at Villa, who are in somewhat of a more stable position than us (understatement!).  With their own rich backers, I can’t see even in my wildest dreams such a move for him occurring.

Of course, the O’Neill angle is just one thing.  Do we really want investment from foreign backers?  Investment is a good thing, of course, if used wisely – but it’s also something that can be withdrawn should it either not return profit (unlikely in football!) or cease to provide the entertainment or kudos the investor was seeking in taking over a football club.  At least with Doughty he does have an interest beyond the fiscal.

I doubt very much there’s much truth in it; given the financial climate in the wider world, now isn’t the time to be frittering cash away on what would be a risky investment in a time of financial buoyancy.  On the flip side – if manoeuvred correctly – Forest could represent a relatively cheap acquisition; but few of us would deny that to elevate us into serious cash-making territory (which is basically latter Champions League stages) would take a whopping amount of cash.

So I think that probably means this story is a big steaming pile of you-know-what.  Although of course Mark Arthur making strenuous denials about it does lend it a bit of strength… and it’s in the Evening Post too!

Andrew Cole is a whingeing old soul…

It seems odd for Andrew “Andy” Cole to have taken so long to make comments to the press; but perhaps it involved him getting off his proverbial behind and making his own way there – which would explain a lot.  Some of the comments which have been attributed to him in the media make quite interesting reading – if a tad predictable.  It’s unsurprising that Mark Arthur apparently said at the supporters club AGM that the policy of purchasing has-beens is one that Forest will no longer be pursuing!

“I told them from the outset that I didn’t want to go there to sit on the bench because I didn’t want to be perceived as sitting back and making easy money”
Well, we didn’t want you to be doing that either, Andrew – we wanted you to show an interest, bang some goals in – that didn’t happen.  From your clear disinterest during warm ups to your purposeful ambling around the pitch, unfortunately you didn’t merit anything more than the role of bench warmer, and frankly once injuries allowed, you didn’t even merit a place in the squad.

“I wanted to go there and offer something, but it was a strange one from the start.  I never knew what my role was.  Was it to lend a hand, use my experience or was it a PR thing, to sell a few more season tickets.”
I imagine the cynical PR suggestion has more than a grain of truth; however, your role was a football player – a role you should be eminently fucking familiar with, as it’s been your job for the last few years!  This requires effort on your part, otherwise you get dropped!

“I wanted it to work out, but I was playing for 60 minutes and then getting taken off.  Or sometimes I wasn’t getting picked at all.”
Aside from some neat link up play, Cole clearly didn’t have the legs for it any more – culminating in him being outran by Lee Camp in one game according to rumours of leaked Prozone statistics.

It’s a real pity, as I was quite excited when we signed him, but clearly he came with expectations of special treatment over his less illustrious teammates – which frankly, we don’t need in our dressing room.  He should take a look at the attitude Ian Breckin displays; club captain, but not guaranteed a game – but when he does get a game he performs well.  When he doesn’t, he doesn’t moan about it.

It’s a sad end to an illustrious career for Cole; made all the sadder by his mouthing off and making himself look like a bit of an idiot.  Whether Smoulds was really ‘intimidated’ by him or not (I suspect not), I think he did the right thing in getting shot of him – because clearly whether he wanted to be guaranteed a place in the team or not, his performances didn’t warrant one.