Pondering the play-offs..

Billy: Few in the game are as well versed as he is when it comes to the end of season play-offs!

I’ve not had an expansive ramble about nothing in particular, well, I suppose the play-offs are rather a hot topic amongst Forest fans.  A sub-tournament enough to bring a Forest fan out in hives, isn’t it?  Sheffield United, Des Walker own goal, Yeovil Town, an embarrassing collapse.. there’d be no surprise if Reds fans were looking on our bonus mini-extension-of-a-season with abject fear and dread.

I’m not, though.

Of course, if any of the above scenarios are repeated against our eventual opponents it will be gut-wrenching and heart-breaking, but with the knowledge that this season has shown us dramatic progression in the right direction.  Unlike in League One, where promotion was – frankly – something we desperately felt we needed (if not necessarily expected), this season it is most definitely a bonus.

Whilst I may have jumped at the chance to get a free season ticket from Victor Chandler in exchange for the Reds winning the league, I had some empathy with the West Brom fans who laughed when the announcement was made over the City Ground public address system at the start of the season.  Even though we’ve come some way short of that achievement, I’d have laughed almost as much at seriously considering a top six finish.

The hard work that Billy and his team have put in, and the work of the maligned transfer panel (in the summer at least) can’t – for me – be over-praised.  The players too deserve enormous credit for applying themselves to their new training and instructions – a real team effort from top to bottom.  I’m sure even Terry the Kitman has had his part of play in our dramatic change in fortunes too.

There have been moments this season when I’ve almost fallen into that fickle trap of thinking “Argh, we’ve thrown away automatic“, and I imagine as the season draws to a close and we enter the play-offs the mood will switch to what we have to lose.  But I’m going to try and be more positive – we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain – because surely nobody really expected to be right here, right now?

It’s brilliant, and as such I’m going to set out to enjoy it.  As I’m sure Billy is telling the team, we have nobody to fear in this league on our day – if anyone, maybe West Brom – who we comprehensively dismantled at their place, and were unlucky to lose to at home, and Newcastle – who we beat at least once!  Well we don’t need to worry about those, both ascend automatically.

So I’m going to try to keep a positive attitude about it all, and hope that the mood around the City Ground both in the stands and in the dressing room match.  If we get through them then hell, we’re in the money – if we don’t succeed, then my God we’re in a lot better place than we were this time last year!

19 Responses

  1. Very, very, very well said. You have Mr Positive’s compliments! 🙂

    Can’t wait to embark on this one. For one, the team has shown me this season that we can get through it on top. Just jealous I won’t be at Wembley on May 22nd – because I’m sure as hell we will overtake the first obstacle, no matter which team we face!

    Back the team as much as you can, fellow Tricky Trees, and who knows? Next season we may even swim in the same pond with the big fish!

  2. Couldn’t agree more NFFC. If we lose then we’ve still won, and if we win then we’ve hit the jackpot. Of course, beating Leicester in the final would leave me enough happiness in the tank to keep smiling through the next two relegations at least.

  3. Its only natural to want great things if, all of a sudden, its attainable. (To paraphrase James: If we hadn’t seen such riches we could live with being poor.) That’s why many of us did feel disappointment when we started to fall away from the top 2. And that is why we will all be absolutely gutted when we get slapped in the face yet again. The play-offs for 3 out of the 4 teams involved is one of life’s sick jokes. It’s like putting the right numbers on the wrong week for the lottery. ‘Here’s what you could of won’ as Jim Bowen would say.

    They’re a rotten business and I hate them. I still don’t see the merit in a team finishing 6th, 5th or 4th getting in to the premier league. You don’t have a play off for 4th spot to get in to the Champions League. We all know the reason why we have them… money. So for all our efforts, endeavour and hard work, the culmination of consistent good performances over 46 LEAGUE games is boiled down to a poxy 4 way ‘cup’ competition. The fact that the richest football game in the world is now the result of a cup competition is an affront to the league system and everything it represents. If there are 3 promotion places then the three best teams in the league should go up. Its as simple as that.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t think we’re going up and I don’t think we’re going to Wembley but it still doesn’t stop me from getting excited right now at the prospect that we could be a premier league team come next season. And that’s the cruel twist of the playoffs for you. Its allowing me to steal a glimpse into what might be only for it crank out one of the foulest smelling turds all over my hopes and dreams.

    • The “richest one-off game” is pretty much bound to be a cup game of some kind, by definition, isn’t it? Unless it’s a last-day of the season game that just happens to determine champions-with-no-apostrophe-league qualification, which is probably worth more than getting into the prem anyway.

      But playoffs in this format are fairly silly, yeah (except as a cash cow, of course). A play-off system only really makes any sense if it involves teams from both divisions like it does in Scotland.

  4. I’m very optimistic. I actually do think Forest are the strongest team on their day out the 4 in the play offs, regardless of who we get, these lads have proved they are more then capable.
    Yes, if we make it, there are a few questions over the depth of the squad, but it’s only the depth of the squad isn;t it? the players we have are capable of holding it in the prem if they are allowed to mature, that means bringing in some more players to allow that to happen.
    Take nothing away from these players, they have been cracking this season, it would be an absolute insult to state they wont be up to the task in the prem.
    I think we will all be in for a surprise if they do go up.

    • Martin – as much as I am pessimistic on the basis of bitter recent experience, I cannot help feeling that other teams will be more scared of us than we of them 🙂

    • Really? I had an interesting discussion with a friend the other day regarding how Forest would cope in the Prem to which the gist of his argument revolved around us not being as good as Burnley were last season and look how poor they are.

      Its a good point. Even at our best, we’re still some way off some of the stuff Burnley produced last term. So why should we “hold our own” when they can’t?

      Of course, I have more faith in Billy than either Coyle or Laws but without major surgery, we’ll struggle like hell.

      Camp, Wes and Gunter will probably do OK, Raddy will shine against the footballing sides and Cohen will do OK too. But the rest will be out of their depth with the exception maybe of Dex – but he really needs to cut out the petty fouling.

      • Hi Radgie,

        I agree with you about our chances in the Prem but think you are being a little harsh on Dex – I am a big fan because no matter what, he keeps plugging away.

        I also think he may have unfairly been a marked man by refs, which could be due to the fact that opponents have realised that fouling him is a good way to stop Forest (as Dex creates so much space for the wingers, Earnie and Raddy), and he has understandably got a bit frustrated.

  5. So do you think Billy will get the team practicing penalties after the plymouth game? if not the whole team then maybe just Earnie….!

  6. As ever nffc – another great article and commentary.

    I was talking about this season with my son recently and reminding him that at the beginning of the season I had said; “As long as we can finish in the top half I’ll be happy – perhaps even sneak into the play-offs, but then lose”.

    He replied; “that’s fine, but don’t tell me that if we get to Wembley, you will still want to lose” – and he has a point.

    I have and am really enjoying this season – we look competitive, organised, talented and as though ‘we’ are enjoying the whole experience. Like you, nffc, I took advantage of the Victor Chandler offer and placed an ‘each-way’ bet at 30/1 for promotion. Unlike AD_BC, I DO think that we will get to Wembley (I’ve bought the family train tkts for the day) and I am pretty optimistic about us ending the season with a glorious promotion. Why? Billy Davies – that’s why.

    He and his staff have done a remarkable job and his experience and ‘wily ways’ more than compensate for this “young team”.

    As for next season – who cares? If Burnley can win away and Portsmouth can get to the FA Cup Final, then perhaps we really can dream of a few years in the Premiership. I, for one, wouldn’t give up the opportunity now!!

  7. I went to St James Park and felt were lacked a cutting edge. I felt we hadnt showed the same kind of form we have been thats got us in this position until we played Ipswich at weekend.

    The most important thing is that our strikers it form at the right moments. Our defence is immense but we need earnie and blackstock to be sharp come the playoffs.

    Im good friends with Julian Darby who is coach at Forest and he said that Billy is so good at finding every detail about each club and is working so hard to make every Forest Fan’s dreams come true, a return to the big time.

    I hope we get over the semi finals hurdle then leave the rest for us Forest Fans to get behind the boys at Wembley. Take note of the fantastic backing and belief of the Pompey fans at the weekend that can push a team to that next level.

    And just maybe me might do it. With a lil help from Clough from above im sure.

    Well done Billy, Ned Kelly, Nigel Doughty and the board for a fantastic season. YOU REDS!

  8. It is amazing that we went so long unbeaten away and yet now have one of the poorest away records in the division now. Looking forward, Leicester at Wembley would be fantastic – but only if we won!

    It’s time to unleash McGugan. The lad must be as fresh as a daisy and chomping at the bit to prove his worth!

  9. Marvellous achievement from all at Forest.
    Like sb(steve) I had a similar chat with my lads and told them I’d be happy with top half. They thought I’d set my sights too low. Years of hurt and broken promises, I told them!
    But now even I have started to believe. We have true class in Earnie, Radi and Camp. Pace galore down the wings. Work ethic and talent in Cohen and Moussi. One of the strongest defences in the league. And on the bench the likes of clever players (Goldie and Boyd), strong strikers, (and who else thinks Lewis McGugan may just come on with 10 to go and score a magical winner at Wembley?!)….
    Plus, I believe we will see Bennett and Kenno back too. They may not be match fit, but what a buzz for the crowd, which in turn lifts the players.

    In the play-offs, playing away on the Saturday will help us, though I suppose we’d sell out anyway. But this is crucial, please please please Nottingham Forest RESTRICT the number of tickets available to away fans in the second leg.
    Stop being so nice, and assuming the opp will sell out and earn you a few quid. Earn your pennies from the dads who will bring their kids, sit behind that goal and sing their little hearts out!!

    I’m on holiday on the 22nd. So it is VITAL that we get to Wembley so that my flights back for the day are not wasted ha ha. Wonder if the wife will notice we’re gone!

    • was thinking the same regarding ticket allocation’s matty – cant remember how many leicester gave us, but it was well short of the amount we gave them at the city ground….good time to shaft them back i say

  10. in all honesty, i see us getting through the 1st hurdle and bottling it at wembley, i’d be gutted but ever so proud of the whole team’s acheivments under king billy’s guidance.

  11. We’re going up. Simples 🙂

  12. All we need is for Marthur to make sure the pies are hot and we will be tickety boo…Billy and the boys can do the rest

  13. Whatever happens its gonna be one hell of a ride always is with the reds .

    A raddy curler to win at wembley.

    U reds

  14. All this Wembley talk is making me nervous. I’m as cautiously optimistic as anyone, but the painful memories of counting chickens before the Yeovil match still lingers. Let’s just concentrate on the small issue of the semi-finals, and start thinking about Wembley if we get there! I’m sure that Billy is taking the same attitude with the team… One step at a time, stay focused only on the next game.

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