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Tricky leaks?

Being a seasoned user of the internet for football-related news, gossip and rumours it’s not really surprising that as the close season period comes around we endure a flurry of (mis)information to correspond to increasingly news-hungry supporters.  I tend to only really pay attention to Forest, naturally enough, but I’m sure it’s the same for most clubs.

This season seems to have seen an exponential growth in both impatience and this clamour from Reds fans, though. Or is it just me?  I’ve a number of places I check out for hints of news, a select few people I talk to on occasions to get news – but this season seems to have been a real explosion of outlandish rumours – or, rather, outlandish rumours that seem to be being discussed more widely.

Forest are notoriously closed-shoppish when it comes to giving out information, so we are a pretty difficult club to read – which is why on the average internet message board the typical resident “in the know” member has an unimpressive-at-best hit rate in breaking (or “calling” as seems to be the term for it) new signings or news.

Why people have this desire to be that person is a bit of a mystery to me – I guess we are all inherently nosy, so by being the ‘man in the know’ gives one a certain degree of popularity and attention.  Add into the mix the increasingly ubiquitous nature of Twitter and the fact that football related people are now using it and I think we have our explanation.

Even Nigel Doughty is supposedly Tweeting now (under Twitter name @nffc37 should you care to check him out).  Every Tweet from a Forest player or staff member, or supposed target (particularly Wayne Routledge!), is scrutinised and has more meaning driven out of it than should be possible for a block of text limited to 140 characters.

Rather than join the clamour it’s kinda turned me off Forest in the close season – you’ll have noticed a singular lack of internet activity from me compared to during the season.  I can kinda understand why people want to know stuff, but I’ve always been relatively content to just wait to see what happens and what gets confirmed.

Will my life really be different if I found out – for example – that Wayne Routledge were signing for us two days before it was confirmed on the Official Site. (For those of you trying to divine hidden meanings – that really is an example, not a prophecy or a prediction – although I’d certainly welcome Wayne signing for us!).

It was probably reading Mick McCarthy’s thoughts about ‘Twitter Twits’ that started me on this track.  He’s got a point, I reckon.  Twitter has already tripped up a few people – and I imagine there’ll be more.  Whether it’s compromising transfer deals or divulging tactics or just – well – displaying the stereotypical footballer level of intelligence when having a platform that is being scrutinised by fans, I can only see it ending in tears.

The explosion in Social Media (of which, of course, my own humble efforts are a symptom) is a brilliantly powerful way of people sharing thoughts and information – but in naive hands it’s a dangerous prospect.  Hopefully as football clubs and journalists become a little more savvy and responsible it will close some of the loopholes that drive this clamour for information.

I don’t suppose that the rampant demand to get the inside scoop in football will ever change – and as long as that demand is there, there will be people willing to service that demand.  Whether that servicing is based on real information, guesswork or even brazen mischief-making is down to the collective to determine – but personally I find it really rather tiresome!

What’s worse is the Reds will be even now preparing to kick off against PSV Eindhoven for our only home pre-season friendly – and I’m stuck in a hotel on a working trip and not able to take in the match!  I’ll be keeping an eye on Twitter though, so please do Tweet updates if you have them folks!!  Apologies for the long ponderings.  Off to the bar now!

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Praise the Lord! Forest sign Greening!

It’s been talked about for some time, but the blessed relief (okay, I might stop with the tenuous Jesus references before I get started…) of Forest actually completing the signing of Jonathan Greening from Fulham arrived today.  After the departure of Paul McKenna he very much looks like the ‘experienced head’ in midfield – and, of course, a potential captain.

He joins Andy Reid as Steve McClaren’s second signing.  Starting out at York, he ended up at Manchester United where of course the gaffer was Ferguson’s assistant, before following Schteve to Middlesbrough in 2001, before leaving for West Brom where he ended up skipper and a popular figure – latterly being loaned and then sold to Fulham.

A big welcome to Jonathan – he’s got himself a three year contract and has signed for an undisclosed fee thought to be around £600k.  I’m quite pleased with the move – and not just because it’s a signing, any signing – I do think he’ll add the kind of experience and guile we need in midfield, but perhaps with a little more quality than former skipper Paul McKenna offered.

Rumours are also abounding that we have or are about to agree a three year contract with Guy Moussi, presumably after his agent failed to pimp him around all and sundry and had to resort to us (forgive my cynicism, the Moose will be a welcome sight in a Forest shirt again next season, but the delay naturally rankles a little bit!).

So with the midfield bolstered by potentially three now (admittedly with one rumoured re-signing) all eyes revert to that troublesome left-back position, and, well, the six or so more signings that Steve McClaren claimed he needed not so long ago.  It will be interesting to see how many of them he gets…!  As Kenny Burns says, Greening is a start, but it’s only a start…

Watch a Forest side that actually has a full squad..

I’ve been resisting joining the ranks of panicked fans fretting about the lack of transfer activity, here are details of a game you can see that not only raises money for a fantastic cause, but Forest will almost certainly be able to find a whole squad!

Nottingham Forest v Leicester City veterans game on Sunday 24th July

The game is taking place at The Ron Steele Sports Ground, Lenton Lane (next to Clifton Bridge) at the home of Dunkirk FC. It is in aid of ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ Charity which was the favoured charity of Jack Riley, chairman of Dunkirk FC and life long Forest fan who tragically died last year aged 52.

Kick off 3pm – Gates open at 1.00pm. Ticket price: £4 adult £2 child & OAP – Programmes £1.

Advanced tickets can be purchased from The Southbank Bar, Trent Bridge (Adult tickets only).

After the game, anybody who has bought a ticket for the game is welcome to come back to The Monkey Tree, and mingle with the players from both teams and take part in a Q&A session with the players hosted by Mark Crossley.

Confirmed big names for Forest are, Mark Crossley, Neil Webb, Bryan Roy (flying over from Holland especially for it) Steve Chettle, David Johnson, and numerous others.

Should be a great family fun day out and offer great opportunities to fill up the autograph book!

Reidy returns, Skipper and Dele depart..

It’s always exciting when we make a signing, and the return of Andy Reid to Forest is a great coup I think.  Those people making jibes about his fluctuating weight overlook his undoubted talent on the ball, delivery and passing ability – not to mention the fact that he appears to be in good shape too.

Whether McClaren sees him as the left winger that most Forest fans will remember him as or a more central playmaker remains to be seen – certainly we have had a long-standing vacancy on the left wing, most recently filled by the departed Nathan Tyson who – whilst full of endeavour – lacked a certain amount of guile in that role, just as he lacked the ability to finish when in his preferred position up front.

So a huge welcome aboard to Reidy – a free transfer and a two year deal signed.  Obviously if that’s the full extent of our incoming activity then it will be disappointing, but it’s a good start.  Rumours persist that Giles Barnes has also agreed a deal in principle but is undergoing an extended fitness test – he’s certainly a player that could be a snip if he fulfils his potential.  Big if, of course.

McKenna celebrates his goal of the season contender (sic) against Leicester City last season..

As well as an incoming we’ve had confirmation of the worst-kept two outgoings – last season’s skipper Paul McKenna and Dele Adebola both head to Hull on free transfers.  McKenna has been a good pro for us, and – as is usually the case with defensive midfielders and Forest fans – not always as valued as he deserves to be, having said that, he was starting to show signs of wear and tear, and a move was probably right.

Dele too should go with good wishes – personally I never quite got the affection and belief some fans seemed to have in him, but I don’t doubt he was a decent pro who was good to have around our younger players – even if his contribution on the pitch was, in my opinion, less than overwhelming.  That said, he played his part in some late cameos and caused a degree of havoc in opponent defences.

Best of luck to both of them in their future careers – I’m sure each of them can look forward to a decent reception from Forest fans when we next encounter them.

The lack of news around Earnshaw and Moussi would suggest to me that neither are likely to be with us next season – which is a pity in both cases, particularly Moussi.  Que sera sera though – we really should have looked to get these players on a longer term contract if we had intended to keep them.  It does rather mean that McClaren needs to be thinking about holding midfielders, though.

As for whether Smoulderwood deigns to return or not – that too remains in the balance.  I do hope so though, not just because I want to childishly pick up with the silly nickname again, but clearly he’s the choice that the club want to bring in.  I’m (possibly over-optimistically) looking forward to further news over the next week or so…