Who is telling fibs at Forest?

David Pleat: Superfluous consultant or sacrificial lamb?

Mark Arthur says that David Pleat has been relieved of his part-time consultancy role at Forest.  A couple of weeks ago John Pelling said that he was no longer in such a role at Forest on BBC Radio Nottingham’s Matchtalk programme.

I’m not one to point fingers when I’m not privy information to substantiate – but it seems to me that one of these two versions of the truth has to be incorrect.  Maybe it’s because in some quarters is was previewed with the billing of ‘big news’ coming from NFFC – maybe it’s just delayed confirmation of what Pelling said.

Or, if I’m being more cynical, perhaps – in the face of increasing unrest from the fanbase – it’s a fairly shoddy attention-deflector.  It’s true that David Pleat has always been targeted by some sections of our fans as a kind of malign influence on our club’s doings – maybe the club thought they could leverage this groundswell of ill-feeling an make Pleat into a sacrificial lamb.

For what though? It’s not likely to provide a sufficient lightning conductor to detract the rage many are feeling towards both Steve McClaren and/or the board at the club in the wake of a spectacularly disappointing start to the season under a new manager.

On the flipside, it was pretty well known that as well as a section of fans our former manager Billy Davies wasn’t exactly fond of the arrangement with David Pleat in place – so maybe we can intuit the removal of Pleat from his role as being a show of support in the manager.  If that’s true, of course, it means that John Pelling is a liar.

Plus is the board giving full backing to a manager who has been so demonstrably bad at tactics, selections and motivation necessarily a good thing?  Man, I’m grumpy.  I don’t like not being able to find a positive way of thinking about something, but whichever way you look at this story somebody on the Forest board is telling big fat porkies.

Maybe I’m a bit naive to find that unsettling.

Forest find the bottom of the barrel, and keep digging..

McClaren is running out of ideas, if you make the charitable assumption he had any in the first place!

Burnley – 5
Nottingham Forest – 1

You’ll understand I’m sure my reluctance to get around to writing this, what a disastrous development in the spectacularly underwhelming reign of Steve McClaren.  If I were a betting man then I’d certainly be starting to think about looking at what odds he were to be next in the sack race (as well as the usual “shall I just have a think about betting against Forest” ponder).

Five goals against, five defensive errors – certainly credit to Burnley for punishing, but well, we didn’t exactly make life difficult for them did we?  The most disappointing thing is listening to how absolutely clueless the manager sounds in his post-match comments about how to go about resolving our problems – cluelessness that perhaps is hinted at in the team selection:

Gunter  Chambers  Morgan  Hill  Lynch
Greening  Moussi  Reid
Derbyshire  Miller

I’m not going to dwell too much on the game.  The early signs weren’t good.  Even before the early concession a clearance from Hill got in the way of Burnley’s first chance.  Shortly after a cross came in, Charlie Austin put it back across goal and Rodriguez put it in.

Another chance, another defensive fuck-up – another cross, a header by Rodriguez, a goal.  A rare Reds chance created by Lynch was missed by Miller, meanwhile the home side continued to threaten – a cross by Wallace caused consternation in defence, but Rodriguez this time missed the target when the ball fell to him.

Realising how inept we were, Burnley – who’d been struggling at home – piled pressure on, Austin got a good chance from a corner which Camp saved well.  McClaren obviously spotted things weren’t quite going right on the pitch and made an early tactical switch, taking off Gunter and putting on Findley to try to shift the emphasis from defence to attack for us.

It didn’t really work – we were soon three down, this time a corner wasn’t cleared leaving McCann free to fire in from close range.  At the other end Miller tried to create an opportunity for Derbyshire who couldn’t get on the end of the cross.  Shortly after this Reid and Derbyshire combined to create a chance that resultied in a corner.  Miller missed from close range from a Findley cross too.

A brief respite for the long-suffering Reds fans, though – it was four just before half time, a poor pass from Wes to Lynch let Wallace nip in and take the ball into the D and put a curling shot into the bottom corner past Camp just to compound our misery.

Half time was odd, the team were out early, McClaren just sat there looking bereft of inspiration or ideas.  One idea he did have was to take off Andy Reid and replace him with Majewski.  The early signs were more positive, a more energetic start from the Reds, and this paid back with a goal for Miller – he got away from Edgar and Grant perhaps should’ve done better in the Burnley goal – he was probably shocked we had a shot on target!

It didn’t last for Forest though, Burnley got back into their stride – Bartley strolled away from Majewski and missed the target from the edge of the area, at the other end Findley hit a decent effort but he struck the outside of the post.  With 20 minutes left it was Greening who gave the ball away, Burnley broke quickly and crossed to give Austin the chance to put a looped header past Camp, Morgan almost cleared it off the line but it was ruled in.

A disgraceful performance.  McClaren had no excuses after the game, but still alas does his best to justify the hapless/useless figure that the media paint of him.

I’m not one for knee-jerking but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there are serious issues at Forest.  You only have to read the message boards (if you can bare it) to see the disharmony amongst the fans, indeed, I’ve been texted to alert me to non-specific protests about “the way things are being run” that will take place before the Birmingham game.

It isn’t that surprising, there’s a disconnect between the promise of pre-season, the disappointment in the transfer market at the end of pre-season followed by the hapless performances as the season begins.  The idea of appointing a coach like McClaren then not quite delivering the squad he needs or talking about financial fair play a lot seems at odds.

Whether the traditionally slow-acting Forest board have a plan remains to be seen, but for peace-loving folk who just like to go and support their team, times like this are both demotivating and quite stressful.