Clough is Derby’s chosen one..

Following his the footsteps of his father..

Following in the footsteps of his father..

Sometimes the ‘what might have been‘ question is never answered, and sometimes it is.  Certainly the ballad of the Clough family and the endless (and, in this author’s opinion, fairly tiresome) tug-of-warring over the right to their legacy took a very interesting twist tonight as Nigel Clough is set to be unveiled as the replacement of Paul Jewell at Pride Park.

Part of me really wanted Forest to take the plunge and go for Nige (assuming he wanted the role, of course).  It would have been wonderfully poetic and he did represent one of the few candidates who, whilst not fully accepted as a serious choice by a huge number of fans, would have earned both respect and patience from our fans.  However, mainly he represented a massive gamble which – given our precarious league placing this season – was a risk too far in my opinion.

Just as Derby fans got to see what might have been come true at their hated rivals, so it comes to pass that Forest fans can observe the same thing for the next generation.  Nigel Clough’s ten years at Burton Albion has constantly been seen as a first step on a road to league management – ironically, had he stuck it out ’til the end of this season he looked almost certain to attain league status for Burton in their own right.

I’ve got real mixed feelings.  Ultimately I’m happy to see Derby go through the experiment, because their league position isn’t much less precarious than ours – and I wouldn’t have been happy to gamble Forest’s future on somebody who has only managed at a much lower level at a practically part-time basis – but as with any gamble, the potential gains are huge – and certainly for a set of fans desperate to lay claim to the Clough name, they will see this appointment as a real opportunity for bragging rights.

So Derby’s chairman has half shown some real bollocks by doing this – but also has potentially been backed into a corner, unrest caused by poor recent form under Paul Jewell, followed by his departure and Forest’s attainment of Billy Davies – a man, loathe as many are to admit it, would have been welcomed back to Pride Park by a fair proportion of the crowd.  Perhaps Pearson felt that playing ‘the Clough card’ was the only option he had left, in so doing he has potentially undermined his own position should Clough Jnr fail to turn around Derby’s fortunes.

The tittle-tattle over the Clough name will intensify now, and frankly I can’t be arsed with it – Forest fans are bad enough with the obsession, but Rams fans do take it to another level; and psychologically it is understandable – what perfect poetic justice it would be for them to, as they would see it, nick the son of Clough who played to distinction for their rivals, their rivals who Clough Senior took to the highest of heights having fallen out with the then Derby board.

It is going to be a very interesting end to the season – just the fact we are in the same division made it interesting, bring in the Commons/Earnshaw factor and it made it positively tasty – well now, it’s verging on the bloody  incestuous!  When we head to the Sheep Dip on 23rd January for our now televised FA Cup clash it will be all the more eagerly anticipated, which makes it unsurprising that Setanta has immediately secured the game to show on TV.

For Nigel the role is a bit of a no brainer – a gargantuan step up from non-League to a decent sized club in an area he can get to easily from his home, a set of fans who will give him patience on account of his parentage – all in all, very little to lose.  For Derby, they appoint a man who probably wouldn’t even have been in the running for the role but for his surname, which whilst an evocative one, is just a name after all.

Pearson will either end up a hero down the A52, or a reactionary fool – history will tell us which, I for one will be watching with interest – and perhaps a touch of relief that it’s not my club who is gambling their future on somebody so untested – however, I of course reserve the right for that feeling to change to intense envy should he turn out to be any good!

I could never bring myself to dislike our Nige, as such a notable member of the Forest side I grew up watching it would take a lot to do that – but equally, I can’t really bring myself to wish him much success in this particular role.  It remains to be seen whether he can live up to his name or not, the very fact he is expected to – and that his Dad gets as much mention in the reports of his appointment as he does – is perhaps already an obstacle that he will immediately face.

We drew who in the cup?

A lip-lickingly good cup draw...

A lip-lickingly good cup draw...

T’was inevitable really, wasn’t it?  As soon as Derby’s number came out I was wondering whether we’d be next – and sure enough, we were.  Given our starvation of games against our dearest neighbours, they are a mouth-watering enough prospect at the best of times – but well, given that we’ve had one humdinger of a league encounter already, and since then have installed Billy Davies in charge, the tension is set to reach fever pitch.

Particularly given the rumours that they are courting Nigel Clough for their managerial vacancy since the fat porn star decided he wasn’t capable of lifting the gloom that seems to have engulfed Prideless Park of late.  Depending on the next couple of weeks it could be an incredibly fortuitous time to be visiting in an FA Cup tie.  Of course, as they say, the form book does go out of the window – but well, needless to say everybody is rather excited by the fixture.

Other interesting news is that the Sun are reporting that Nathan Tyson has agreed a new contract – which is good news.  He seems to have an unhealthy number of detractors in the stands and on the message boards, but I’m very pleased indeed.  Few players have worked harder for us or caused defenses so many headaches as Tys – it’s true I’d like him to be more prolific, but if Billy has talked him in to staying, then I for one am very chuffed indeed.

On the same page it is interesting to read that former Sheep loanee Lupoli is unhappy being sidelined on loan at Norwich – that could be an interesting move for Billy Davies to make, who I believe had him at Derby with some success.  The other name that caught my eye was Wes Hoolahan supposedly being available for around £300k.  Given that we’re almost a week into January, the transfer speculation has been refreshingly sensible so far!

And finally, should the post-Christmas blues be filling your life with boredom – see below for a top quality tip from Garath McCleary on how to entertain yourself with nowt so much as a piece of chewing gum! (Thanks Radgie for spotting the clip!)