Reds to pin their future on Davies?

Nottingham’s Paper Lace got to number one with ‘Billy don’t be a hero‘, and it seems like barring some heroic last minute reprieve by the former Derby manager, he will be Smoulderwood’s replacement.  He’s in talks, he’s spoken before of his desire for the Forest job due to his acrimonious split from our neighbours, and having had a chance to gather feedback from the various forums and Forest fans sites, Forest can feel confident now they’ve singled out the candidate nobody wanted.

So, I’ll get my bitterness out of the way – because like it or not, if the negotiations are completed – which I fully expect them to be – then we need to look forward, benefits of doubt need to be given and – more important than anything – we need to stay up.  Why Forest took quite so long to make this announcement when it’s abundantly clear they’ve been courting Davies prior to Smoulds’ dismissal, who knows.

Davies represents the ‘safe’ bet from the candidates that have been under discussion for me – on paper at least.  Once Curbishley said he wanted to be in the Premiership, if you had to put money on one of the available managers to prevent our relegation then I think you’d pick him.  That’s a pretty positive thing.  In fact, that’s a hugely positive thing.  Relegation again to League One would be an epic disaster, more so I think than any particular candidate being in charge.

The less positive side is that Davies has form with some of our squad – namely Robert Earnshaw, who must be gutted – he was signed for Derby by Davies and promptly ostracised for reasons unknown.  Earnie is a key figure for us this season, we could do without his head being messed with.  Lee Camp is almost certain not to extend his loan or sign permanently now as another person who had issues with Davies at Derby.

So in this supposedly ‘safe’ bet, Forest have put at risk two very key positions in the side.  Of course, the rumours and stories I hear from my tame Sheep friends could be way off the mark, but I think not.  Davies is reportedly a manager who rules by fear and discipline, which in itself isn’t a bad thing – unless the fear factor is a little bit too extreme.  Our squad is very young, after all.  How will they respond to such a radical change in approach?

I was going to finish by urging folks to get behind him, but I would have no credibility if I did so – I made no secret that this was amongst the last choices for me, and I would be lying if I said I was anything other than gutted.  I shall endeavour to have an open mind, however, and back the new man – but if we end up with dour 1-0 attrition football and the Sheep go and lure Clough from Burton then it won’t be good!

Once again Forest have managed to scour the list of managers they could acquire and find one that the fans will never back.  This is a weakness on our part as well as the boards, because it will take only a fractional issue to get the fans on the teams back – much as with Megson, and more recently Smoulders.  I wonder what makes them so overly cautious, and determined to pick managers the fans won’t unite behind?  

I suppose it stops the supporters turning on the board when there’s an easy target in the dugout, but should Davies be unveiled as I expect, then I don’t think it unreasonable to start to question the board’s recruitment policy.

For now, I still find myself practically praying that the negotiations that are taking place break down.  I think on balance I would rather have Smoulds back!

So, we had a Merry f**king Christmas thanks to a piss-poor performance against Doncaster Rovers, all that remains is for me and for Forest to wish you a Happy f**king New Year by appointing another cautious, dour and unwanted manager to the helm of our beloved club.  But seriously, Happy New Year to you all – let’s hope for a brighter 2009 portion of the 2008/2009 season, and if it is to be Billy, that he surprises us in a nice way!

Forest score five, but only win by one!

Norwich City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 3

Apologies for the delay in posting this, I returned to Nottingham this afternoon to a number of distractions!  Thanks for your concerns, Vasillis, but worry not, everything’s fine!

So, the drive to Norwich is always interesting – if you don’t go ‘cross country’ you end up in Suffolk before heading back upward into Norfolk which can unnerve the unwary traveller!  However, I got to my destination in time for a quick wander around East Anglia’s capital, and it was really rather nice.  In my parochial way, judging everywhere I go by football chants, I imagined a ‘frontier town’ type affair, but I was wrong!

Pembo’s first game in charge saw him ring the changes, five of them no less.  And he changed the formation!  Lining up with Camp in goal, a back four right to left of Chambers, Morgan, Breckin and Heath, a midfield five of Cohen, Thornhill, Perch, McGugan and Anderson, with Tyson operating as a lone striker.  On the bench were added firepower of Earnie and Garner, along with Moloney, McCleary and Smith.

The game started positively, and some interplay between Lewis and Thornhill culminated in a chance for Chambers which was blocked at source, then passed back to the keeper – not that the referee noticed!  Marshall was in action again, coming out smartly to smother a chance before Cohen could pounce.  The Norwich fans started the game in good voice, but very reminiscent of us at home, very quickly got on their team’s back.

Croft on the right wing was looking dangerous for the home side, and was taking advantage perhaps of Heath’s inexperience as he often got around the youngster to pump crosses in.  One reached the giant Gary Doherty who brought a decent save from Lee Camp, conceding a corner.

Less than half way into the second half Forest had the lead, Tyson did all the work in getting the ball back for Thornhill who hit it from the edge of the area, smacking the post and ending up in the net – much to the shock of the travelling Reds fans!  It must have slightly confused the players too, who started letting Norwich back into the game, but not for long.

Lewis evaded both Clingan and Omozusi to give him a direct run at Marshall; the keeper came out quickly but McGugan kept his cool and calmly slotted the ball through his legs and into the waiting goal.  Now if the first goal came as a bit of a surprise, the second one certainly did!  Any pretense of contentment from the home fans disappeared and the vitriol started coming from them – either that or sullen silence.  Which made a nice change from such things afflicting us.

The Canaries heads hadn’t dropped though, and Croft again provided the danger with a break forward and a decent shot which Camp stopped comfortably in the end.  Pattison must’ve been asking himself why he headed the ball to Lita when six yards out rather than going for goal, but that’s what he did – and it gave Camp the opportunity to intervene and prevent a goal.

The save of the game came from Camp – although he was out of position in the first place – the loanee was off his line, and Pattison looked to have done enough to lob it over him and into the goal, but somehow he got back to get a strong hand to tip it over the bar for a corner.  Cue the inevitably-going-to-be-ignored chants of ‘SIGN HIM UP!’ from the travelling Reds fans.

Despite ending the half strongly, Forest did have the last say – McGugan hassled the ball from Omozusi and found Tyson whose shot was dragged wide which probably would’ve wrapped up the game at half time.  As it was, 2-0 is never a particularly comfortable lead to defend – in fairness, given the number of times we’ve had one, I don’t suppose any lead for us is comfortable to defend!

The second half started more evenly; Forest were just a bit more urgent but Norwich were containing them from creating any further chances.  Tyson managed to make a monkey out of Omozusi and get a shot away, but Doherty was on hand (tell you what, he’s a quick bugger than Doherty!) to get a block in to prevent the danger.

With the Reds looking increasingly comfortable the Reds fans mischievously started ‘You will be sacked in the morning’ chanting again, this time directed at the weasel-faced Glenn Roeder – amusingly this chant was gleefully taken up by the home fans!  Anderson was unlucky with a curling effort that almost wrong-footed Marshall, but Forest were predictably starting to sit deeper and deeper in defence.

Heath blocked a cross from Croft, but from corner a flick-on bounced of the bar out to Russell, whose shot looked pretty poor until it took a rather decisive looking deflection off Ian Breckin to evade Camp and find its way in the goal.  This got the home sides tails well and truly up, and they did start to pile on the pressure, and we certainly showed some signs of cracking, with Lita having a chance narrowly over.

Doherty nearly made a serious faux pas, passing back without looking which got Earnshaw almost clean through.  The substitute almost got around Marshall to claim a goal but the ‘keeper managed to just get a touch to take it out for a corner.  The bloke infront of me started saying “He doesn’t want to score against them, look!” – referring to Earnshaw’s prematch and half-time interactions with the Norwich fans.

Forest lost a lot of shape after this, Camp made an outstanding save from a Lita header that had goal written all over it.  However, Forest got the next goal somewhat against the run of play – substitute Joe Garner played a great ball through to Earnshaw who did well to evade Doherty in the penalty area before deftly chipping the ball over Marshall and into the goal.  He flipped infront of the Forest fans before making ‘peace’ gestures to the four stands of Norwich fans, a nice touch.

The referee – who was increasingly giving every decision to the home side unless his linesmen intervened (he even booked Chambers for being shoved by Lita!) – dredged five minutes of stoppage time from somewhere, which set a few sphincters a twitching – particularly when Joe Garner, for reasons he alone will know – decided to plant a spectacular diving header onto Wes Hoolahan’s cross to gift Norwich their second own goal of the day.

Fortunately for us, there wasn’t much time left and the whistle did indeed go to give us a much needed win to take us out of the relegation zone.  The celebrations were more muted than we might have expected, but it was such a relief to get the points!  Camp running to the fans, doing the ‘I’m not worthy’ bow and lobbing his shirt to the fans is a sign to me he’s not sticking around – which is a crying shame.

And so, having been out of the internet loop for a period of time I have no idea of the latest rumours – except that Paul ‘sex pest’ Jewell has quit on Derby, which is amusing.  Although of course it is only fair to admit that the vacancy down the road does give us some competition in filling ours – assuming we don’t already have somebody lined up.  I imagine it will be a competition between Forest and Derby fans to see who can come up with the most enduring Nigel Clough related rumours.

I am worried that there don’t seem to be any moves to get Camp to sign permanently, and it’s a little worrying that we have immediately gone ahead to extend Lynch’s loan spell despite him being, well, a bit rubbish for the most part.  We shall see, I suppose!

Damn that felt good!

It was a nervy second half, but a relieving and deserved win. Pemberton’s army starts its march on a win, a win that marches us out the relegation zone! Well done lads!

Definitely think that is Campy’s last game for us judging by his post-match reaction. A pity as he had another cracker. More later when I’m not on the mobile.


On the march for Pembo’s army?..

Yawn!  I’m not a morning person, I’m just about to set off to the wilds of East Anglia on the trail of John Pembertons Red and White army.

We will definitely be without Bennett, likely to be without Lynch and Wilson, and of course are without a manager and assistant manager – so it should prove an interesting afternoon in Norwich.  With the Canaries struggling too, the game of course represents a real opportunity to make up ground in the league, perhaps a seasonal delay in appointments might give us two shots at the ‘new manager gets inevitable result‘ event.

I’ll put some kind of update online post match, but I’m unlikely to get anything online with any degree of detail until some point on Monday.  It will of course be sods law that Forest will announce either the depressingly inevitable appointment of Billy Davies, or some kind of crazed curve-ball that none of us anticipated and the internet will melt.

Who do you want?

Sod the pundits, let’s get a gauge of Forest fans opinions as the next manager of Nottingham Forest. Not who do you think we’ll get – who do you want.  I’ve tried to include the candidates that have been doing the rounds, however there is an ‘Other’ option for those I’ve missed out, which will invite you to add your own candidates.  So make sure you have a good look at the list first so we don’t end up with multiple entries.

Thanks for voting!

The next Forest manager.. what the bookies think..

Sorry Mark, I didnt quite catch that, was that a ten year contract on £2m a year?

"Sorry Mark, I didn't quite catch that, was that a ten year contract on £2m a year?"

When the future needs predicting, football fans will look not much further than the bookmakers to provide them with a list of likely events.  Of course, those of us who enjoy a trip to Ladbroke’s before a game will know that betting on the favourite in terms of odds isn’t a failsafe method in making cash – and I’m hoping the early indications for the odds on the next Forest manager are supportive of this comment.

The list is as follows, in order of the odds from Sky Bet:

  1. Billy Davies – evens
  2. Aidy Boothroyd – 4/1
  3. Nigel Clough – 6/1
  4. Alan Curbishley – 8/1
  5. Laurie Sanchez – 12/1
  6. Iain Dowie – 12/1
  7. David O’Leary – 12/1
  8. Alan Pardew – 12/1
  9. Alan Shearer – 14/1
  10. Gary McAllister – 16/1
  11. Roy Keane – 16/1
  12. Bryan Robson – 16/1
  13. Trevor Francis – 33/1
  14. Garry Birtles – 50/1

Most of that list is downright scary.  I hadn’t even considered the horrors of Bryan Robson being our next manager.  The runaway favourite type positioning of Billy Davies is awful, in my opinion, and the accuracy is hopefully weakened by the ever-unreliable Nottingham Evening Post also opining that Davies is as good as lined up as the replacement for Smoulderwood.  Ready to instantly alienate Earnshaw and Camp ready for our crucial game with Norwich.  Joy!

Birtles makes it on to the list, bizarrely, although the unshaven madman himself champions number three on the list, Nigel Clough.  Now, I have huge huge huge affection for Nige, as do we all.  Would I want him as manager?  I’m not sure – certainly more so than Davies or Boothroyd, but well, I have few Forest heroes and I’d like to preserve those I do have in heroic mode.  Plus would he want the job?  I’m not so sure.

Shearer is a surprise entry, and he’s above Keane who so many people seem to want, and then we come to the utterly terrifying prospect of Bryan Robson.  Thankfully Trevor Francis and Birtles are clearly there to make up the numbers given the long odds.  At least I hope so.  Let’s hope it doesn’t give Doughty and Arthur ideas for new lows to reach in their Forest manager selection policy..

.. with the local media reporting a quick appointment is desired, that would suggest that the manager-to-be has already been sounded out.  It will be an interesting day tomorrow.  Or not.  I wonder if we can drag out the appointment as long as Swindon managed, who actually appointed Danny Wilson today – only to find one of their top candidates, Smoulderwood, would’ve been available on a free if they’d dragged it out one more day!

Colin: You’re fired!

Colin, youre fired!

Colin, you're fired!

It’s true.  Check it out.

Regrettably, it’s about bloody time Forest – it has become increasingly clear that he isn’t going to get us out of it.  Smoulders has never really won the hearts or minds of Forest fans, so would always be afforded little leeway in times such as these.

The new gaffer has to be able to operate in the January transfer window as it becomes abundantly clear we don’t have a squad good enough for consolidation in this league; and the squad was largely assembled by Smoulderwood.  So it would be difficult to trust him to strengthen effectively.

Whether this was a ‘final straw’ move by the board in the wake of a truly shameful performance or whether it was planned – it’s hard to know.  I suppose the speed with which a replacement is announced will give us that answer – there are some truly terrifying names out of work at the moment, so it leaves me feeling very much out of the frying pan and into the fire.

However, something did have to change – and whilst I always quite liked Smoulderwood the man (and indeed, the ‘Smoulderwood’ character), he’s never quite cut the mustard as a manager.

So best wishes to you, Colin.  And well done Forest board, I was thinking on the way home listening to his post match interview that those two late goals might have saved him, thankfully not.  It’s not the nicest Christmas for the Calderwood or Kerslake households, but frankly, needs must.

Disgrace vs Donny costs Smoulds his job…

Gone in the wake of a shameful performance against Doncaster..

Smoulders: Gone in the wake of a shameful performance against Doncaster..

Nottingham Forest – 2
Doncaster Rovers – 4

Those two lateish goals make this scoreline, whilst not respectable, appear not as bad as this game actually was.  Without being disrespectful to our visitors, to be three-nil down – and deservedly so – at half time against the bottom of the league team is generally a pretty unacceptable state of affairs.  To do so whilst being so hopeless and without any fight doubly so.

Of course, Donny are no strangers to us of late – we know they’re a passing side, and today they showed that – passing rings around us at will.  They typically don’t score many, nor do they let many in, today our clown defending allowed one of those statistics to be emphatically shattered before half time, and some Nathan Tyson-inspired resurgence saw Rovers ship a couple too later on in the game.

Oddly Smoulds opted to change the side that performed well at Southampton, dropping Thornhill and Davies in favour of Perch returning from suspension, and McGugan recovering from injury.  Now, on paper that’s understandable, I’m a big admirer of the role of both players, but I’m also a big believer of not changing something that works.  Tough call, really, I suppose – and had the result been better we probably wouldn’t have questioned it.

Having moved seats to the Upper Brian Clough stand to accommodate some seasonal familial visitors, it was interesting to listen the fans in Capital One corner, who graduated from chants of ‘Calderwood’s red n white army’, and berating some fellow fans who presumably had some kind of banner (and were eventually ejected to jeers of ‘You should’ve sat with the Donny!’.

In the midst of this Rovers scored their second, and of course it wasn’t long before vitriol was being spat in whatever direction fans were facing.  Understandable, as we were awful – but it really shows up Forest fans as so fickle that they can’t make their mind up over 90 minutes – because within an hour they’d be singing ‘You will be sacked in the morning!’  Silly or what?  Perhaps, but well, if that were 11 men playing for a manager they like, then they don’t like him very much.

Smoulds got it pretty much spot on post-match, he said we were awful with the ball – but even worse without it.  We were hopeless.  Lynch was horrifically bad-mouthed by sections of the crowd, and he was pretty awful, no, he was terrible.  Smoulderwood suggested that he was injured rather than subbed at half time just before being rubbish, which perhaps might mitigate some of the terribleness.

So anyway, the game – it was woeful, turgid and poor – you don’t need to hear any more than that.  Nathan Tyson really made a difference when he came on as a substitute; and that’s about all there is to smile about.  Except breaking news that this result has cost Smoulderwood his job.

Thanks for your efforts, Colin – but you really had to go.  Kerslake has gone too.

Merry f**king Christmas..

Barring a second half miracle, we are set to lose in fairly emphatic fashion at home to Doncaster Rovers.

Assuming that miracle doesn’t occur, then I can’t imagine what more Smoulderwood could serve up to justify him being relieved of his duties.

That said, sad to see and hear “fans” spitting hateful comments at Lynch in particular. It’s true he’s had an awful game, but he’s by no means the only one.

This is the kind of game that we could use a bit of Breckin-inspired composure at the back… Oh. Never mind. Losing to Rovers isn’t exactly shocking, but to be three nil down at half time is shameful.

Still, I shall brave the second half in the vain hope of something miraculous; tis the season after all. If we carry on as we were then this could get (even more) embarrassing, and full time boos will be justified. As will full time booze.

The players are out, greeted by more boos, Bennett and Tyson on for Lynch and Anderson.. My money is on this finishing three nil…

Let’s see that sublime Garner strike again!

Okay, so I said I wouldn’t be online now ’til Christmas, but I just had to fire up the computer before I disappear for a few days to post a link to the goals from the Southampton game.

The first goal – great delivery into the box, and if Big Wes hadn’t got his bonce on it, it looks like Lynch would’ve done!  And well, the grand finale was of course Garner’s wonderfully struck lob.  Moloney does really well – after Anderson initially lost the ball he wins it back, takes it forward and finds Garner.  You’ll then notice that he continues his run, and with Earnie lurking up front too, Garner had two much less selfish options.

I’m certainly very glad, in this instance, he chose to be a selfish wee bleeder!  A top finish and a perfect way to begin the festivities!  What ever things you celebrate (or don’t celebrate!) over the next few days, let’s hope we can all unite for three points against Doncaster.  You Reds!

For those of you outside of the UK, the quality isn’t as good – but you can at least see Garner’s goal here. (Until YouTube get wind of it, at least!).  And failing that, you can check it out with a glorious soundtrack on Stress and Pie.  There, don’t say I never do anything for you!