Politics and the Premier League..

Given it’s election week, and that we now have a charted path where the destination might lead us to the Premier League, I seem to have linked the two together in my head.  When the top flight seemed so far away, I had an attitude of ambivalence to it – so corrupt, so unfair – so imbalanced, so uncompetitive.  In some ways I was happier ‘out of it’ in the relatively level playing field that is the Football League.

In politics I remember having very idealistic values when I was a student – I believed society should be fair, that it was wrong the imbalance between rich and poor and the measures in place to maintain that inequality.  As you become older you become more cynical, you realise that ultimately mainstream politics is very limited – and it’s not uncommon for people to start considering voting for more selfish reasons.

That’s how I come around to thinking about the Premier League.  I still think it’s unfair and imbalanced – however, if that is the way that things are then I would rather Forest were a part of it and have a slice of that pie.  It hadn’t always been so – remember watching Frank Clark get us promoted to the top flight then take us to third the following season?  Now anything above third from bottom would be considered an achievement.

Of course – whilst all this talk of the Premier League is fair game for all four play-off bound teams – it wouldn’t do to count any chickens.  Not only have we not managed to beat Blackpool this season, we haven’t even managed to get so much as a point from them.  Ian Holloway is a canny manager with a talented squad – the semi-final will be a real challenge and make no mistake, before we even dare think about a trip to Wembley.

Having said all that – whilst I have eventually come around to desperately wanting promotion now – whatever happens this season now is a big win for Nottingham Forest and Billy Davies.  To elevate ourselves from a near-relegation scrap to third in the league is a marvellous turnaround, when you consider Derby, one point better than us last season, are probably pleased to haul themselves to fourteenth.

Failing at this final hurdle would of course be heart-wrenching as we well know from past experiences – but it felt like there was so much more at stake in those other play-off encounters.  Particularly against Yeovil, which of course is the perfect warning against complacency even if we manage to return from Blackpool with a positive result.  Something tells me Billy Davies will be rather better equipped to deal with these games compared to Smoulderwood – bless him.

Whilst our trials are yet to come over the next few weeks, it would be ungentlemanly to not congratulate Newcastle on smashing through 100 points to finish an impressive season.  West Brom too, deserving of their second place finish – and to commiserate with Wednesday who once again find themselves in the third tier.  Big congratulations to Paul Hart for overcoming administration with Palace and keeping the Eagles in the Championship.

I’m sure my feelings will change over the coming week, but currently I’m approaching next week’s commencement of the play-offs with a ‘nothing to lose, everything to gain’ mentality.  As we get closer and as the games are played out and we see how things start to turn out, I’m sure it will begin to feel a little more tense.  However, I’m confident the lads will do us proud regardless of the outcome.

If the worst comes to the worst, the Championship looks a lot less of a daunting prospect next season – with no Newcastle, no West Brom and with one of the play-off contenders removed.  Replace them with a skint Portsmouth, a skint Hull and a Burnley side not looking all that impressive and well, I would certainly hope we could compete with all of those – of course, Norwich and Leeds coming up could well ‘do a Leicester’.

Anyway, I digress (as usual!), to return to the initial parallel with politics, I’m much less confident in the would-be governments competing in the general election – again, regardless of the outcome!  Still, don’t forget to vote on Thursday – regardless of the ultimately ridiculous way we are proportionally ‘represented’ – many paid a high price for your right to have your say in this way!

Perhaps marginally more importantly (sic), give your backing to Billy Davies and the boys – who have restored a good degree of the pride we’ve struggled to muster over the last few seasons.  I started writing this blog hoping to chart Forest’s return from obscurity – then it was a modest ambition to establish us in the second tier… I didn’t dream in such a relatively short spell we’d be in with a shout of a crack at the top flight!

10 Responses

  1. Philosophical outpourings from the scribe eh ?

    Without sounding sycophantic, your thoughts are pretty much the same as mine.
    It’s easy to convince oneself the Prem is an elite of footballing skills where you need £ms to actually stay in the top flight. Yet a quick look at the ‘middle of the road’ teams therein such as Stoke, Bolton, Wigan, Wolves and I start to think Forest need not fear greatly of doing a West Brom year after year.

    If it weren’t for BD I’d not have much confidence in us getting there on May 22nd but there’s something about the guy, the inscrutable smile and the guile which makes me think that he can do it and he will convince the team likewise. In addition, his media manipulation re Celtic or Rangers managership is great to observe when he’s coming up to renewal of his contract at the CG !

    If he doesn’t do it, it’ll be no consolation to try and convince myself “well we’ve had a good season anyway”. We’ll all be VERY disappointed. That’s the trouble with success. Look at the Scousers – “sack the manager because we’re only 7th and haven’t won anything”. (Not that I’ve any sympathy for them; my memories of Cloughie’s attitude to L’pool are too strong !)

    As for your recommendation to vote in the general’s erection, agreed – a high price was paid for the priviledge. But I’m for the policy of “don’t vote – it only encourages them”. Write something like “none of above” on the ballot paper. It might bring them down to earth a bit if they found 50% of the votes were spoiled papers.

    Whatever, thanks again for your work in maintaining the website. It’s still first choice for reading on THE team.

  2. nffc, or indeed any reader of this excellent ‘blog’: having only been to 6 away games this season (even though every home game is a 120-mile round trip), I am unlikely to get a tkt for the away leg by the seaside – if anyone knows of a one becoming ‘spare’, plse let me know – the answer will be Yes!

    Cheers. U Reds!

  3. I don’t know why we can’t look towards similar-sized clubs like Birmingham or Stoke who are looking like established Prem teams and do the same. That’s before you even get to smaller clubs like Wigan, Blackburn and Fulham (and look what they’ve achieved, albeit with deep pockets).

    I wonder if all this Davies-to-Celtic talk isn’t just him pulling The God Clough’s old trick of making these kind of noises as a way of renegotiating his contract..?

    Mark Arthur was on the radio this morning telling us it’s too early to go up. But even if we go up and embarrass ourselves at least the finances will be sorted for years, that’s if they don’t get carried away on transfer fees and wages, like Hull.

  4. It may only be me, after reading this post and the post-match scunny report, but I am nervous as hell. The last few weeks pointed to Blackpool (the team I least fancied the reds to face) making the playoffs and us finishing 3rd.

    This season has been fantastic, absolutely unbelievable, but I don’t want the party to finish. And I think any Tricky with any sense would say that after finishing 17th last year after a gruelling relegation dog fight for most of the season, 3rd place followed by an unlucky run in the play offs would be an excellent step in the right direction.

    BUT…the one thing that we have had for most if not all of this season, the one thing that Forest haven’t really had since Cloughie was boss, is belief that we are a really good team (that’s all king Billy’s doing). In comparison with other sides, Forest have a slightly above average bunch of players with a very average defence, other than Gunter. But the reds are a great team and I think, if Forest miss out this time, I’d be more disappointed than if we finished 12th. Also, we don’t know how good we will be next year. After all, pre-season betting was all for Reading to go up with West Brom and maybe Sheffield United. Who says Forest will match this season’s achievements?

    I like your philosophizing, NFFC, but can’t add to it. All I know is that the boys have 270 minutes of football left in which I hope they run and kick and tackle and pass and shoot like they have never done before! The premiership awaits, it’s the least this Nottingham Forest of 2009-2010 deserve. We better bloody get there!

    U reeeeds!

    • I don’t think Lee Camp is average. Is he not part of the defense? What about Wes Morgan as well. These are above average players for the Championship and with Lee Camp I reckon we have a goalie that could play for half the premier league. So with the 3 players mentioned out of the 5 births available and the fact we don’t have a proper left back I reckon we have an above average defense.

      • Don’t get me wrong, AC_BC, when I say average I don’t mean crap. I think Camp is a good goalkeeper though I dare say, should the Reds get promoted, he may not look quite so good in the Prem, contrary to your beliefs. And when you look at last season, the back 4 have not really changed. And how many goals did Forest conceed last season in comparison with this season? The point I was trying to make is that for the first time since Cloughie, I believe (my opinion only, I may be wrong), that Forest have a manager who can get the best out of their players. I love Forest, don’t get me wrong. I just think the statistics suggest that Forest have achieved more than any other team in the whole country, when you consider that most of these boys were plying their trade in the league below not so long ago and not looking that good, to be fair. I think Forest collectively as a team have been amazing, but player for player, they’re no world beaters. However I can’t wait to go to Wembley on May 22nd. And I can’t wait for the chance to visit some of the away grounds next year and see Forest compete in the best league in the world. U reeeds!

  5. I much prefer League football too, but if getting promoted is the only way of saving me another season of Manish Bhasin and Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes then I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

  6. LTLF are ‘reporting’ that Raddy is now a Red!! 🙂

  7. I will consider this the best month of my life if Forest get promoted and we see a Liberal Government elected. Admittedly, the latter isn’t very likely.

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