There’s been a few things playing on my mind as a Forest fan recently that I’ve decided to just brain-dump here and see what my fellow fans are thinking and feeling too.. apologies for the necessarily self-indulgent nature of this post – but here are a few things playing on my mind at the moment and causing me to worry a bit…
I don’t allow myself to be drawn into taking sides, I try to look at facts – unfortunately, we aren’t privy to many of those. However, Billy kicking off in the local media repeatedly, often contradicting himself and – when grilled – bottling out of his initial desire for conflict gets a bit repetitive and a bit boring, for me.
If I apply logic to it then he is either supremely confident in his relationship with his employers, or he is angling for them to terminate his employment and move on. A pity, as like most other Forest fans I’ve a lot of time for the wee fella – but that doesn’t make his willfully vague and profoundly unprofessional outbursts anything other than a little galling.
Of course, there are plenty of muck-spreaders out there who claim to be privy to all manner of the workings at our club, but more often than not it is simply a case of a lot of hot air garnered from listening to one or two rumour mongers who should really know better. I – like most of us – have no idea how our transfer acquisition panel operates. I know there’s something wrong with it!
Billy himself claimed to have recommended 60 odd players at his last ‘Evening with’, others claim Billy habitually rejects players he didn’t want – his recent outburst saw him claim Bertrand was nothing more than an act of desperation – firstly, great man-management there, Bill. Secondly, players of his calibre are fine by me – so resort to desperation more often!
Because I don’t let myself get drawn to either ‘side’ as many do it makes it very difficult to rationalise this obvious unrest behind the scenes at the club. As a natural conflict-avoider it’s very jarring – and the information vacuum is filled with nothing more than people desperate to appear ‘in the know’ or mischief-making Derby fans… annoying!
Of course, the January transfer window looms large and this is where I think this situation will come to a head. Mind you, I thought the same in the summer as it became increasingly apparent that it was going to prove a disappointing time in which we really should have been signing players. Is anyone else struggling with this, or are people generally choosing a side in the Billy vs the Board battle?
Most of all I’m worried about the fact I don’t really know whether or not I have anything to worry about. Having read that sentence back I’m also worried that I might be losing some of my mental faculties!
Ultimately Billy needs to quit excuse-making. I have some sympathy with the constraints he works within, but no idea how much of those constraints are self-imposed. Either way, he has a squad – and I’m not entirely convinced he gets the best out of what he already has. Other managers in our league would love our squad, some of who are already higher than us in the league…
Players out of contract..
Whilst it’s great news that Chris Gunter has extended his contract (by a mere year), it’s clear after the initial “Oh, good!” moment that this was simply a built-in opportunity from his existing contract. Great that he wants to enact it, but hardly the most pressing of our contract concerns when you think about it.
Robbie Earnshaw’s contract has at least been mentioned by him in the press – and hopefully discussions are going on to get the striker signed up to a longer term deal. Whilst it’s been a tricky season for him with injury problems, he’s a key player in our squad and a real talent at this level.
So it’s great we’ve heard about these two – now what about some of the other players out of contract in the summer. Kelvin Wilson, openly courted by Celtic in the summer, hasn’t been mentioned in terms of contracts. He’s 25, in January he can talk to other clubs, and we won’t see a penny for him if he chooses to go elsewhere.
Lewis McGugan, the man of the moment – the man without whose dramatic return to first team prominence we would be in the relegation zone on the same points as Palace – is out of contract in the summer. He’s been obviously unhappy for some time before his recent renaissance – so probably has half an eye on a move away in January.
In Lewis’ case he is still young enough to command compensation should he elect to go on a free, but we’ve seen how these panels take the piss with regard to valuations of young players. I would be amazed if his goals haven’t caught the eye of Championship and maybe even Premier League teams alike – sad to say, I’ll be surprised if he’s still with us come February.
Combine a poor transfer window in terms of incomings with losing these two potentially and we’re looking at something of a disaster. Should that happen it might well focus the mind sufficiently to start kicking off at something specific rather than being the perpetual fence-sitter that I seem to find myself operating as.
It is very difficult to judge from a snapshot of grumblings at the ground, or the odd browse around Internet forums or Facebook pages – but, and I’m not sure how else to describe this, we do seem to have a bunch of over-reactionary (in words at least, if not deeds) people operating purely on a near-religious belief of nothing more than rumours.
As with any group of people that size there are polarity positions and every shade of grey in between – but the ferocity of opinions I read (and of course, everyone is entitled to an opinion) being expressed based on nothing more than the flimsiest of rumours and hearsay is staggering. This is my favourite recent example from the Billy Davies fan page on Facebook, a veritable den of bile and ill-thought-out rants.
David Pleat is a favourite target for vitriol – people will forcefully state he’s paid too much, he meddles too much and basically everything that goes wrong is his fault. The small problem being they don’t know how much he is paid, how he operates nor – indeed – what his actual role is. It’s fair game to criticise the powers-that-be for not making this clear (wages aside perhaps).
It beggars belief, and I get frustrated as being part of the same pool of people who gets constantly exposed to this either online or – increasingly – in the stands. Mercifully it’s proven pretty limited in the comments I attract from readers – which helps to keep me a bit more sane! Or maybe it’s just me… I’m not sure…
I’m not sure how to conclude really, but more than things on the pitch things like these spoil my enjoyment of Forest and make me increasingly question why I spend so much time and money following the Reds (and writing about them!). It’s not about on-the-pitch stuff, I endured our time in League One with good grace and actually perversely enjoyed a lot of it!
It’s the uncertainty and unprofessionalism that irks me – it’s the utter lack of clarity of where things might be awry higher up in the club, and – given that information vacuum – it’s the ready willingness of my fellow fans to either fill it with vacuous nonsense, or believe the vacuous nonsense of others so readily…
Of course, I’m not quite ready to retire my season ticket just yet – but I’m finding the more ‘optional’ element of away games increasingly tempting to miss – which is a pity. And so ends my brain-dump, I’d be fascinated to hear where fellow fans are at on these things – because as ever with football fans on the internet I’m not sure it’s majority voices that come to prominence, just the loudest.. (self-included, possibly!).