Gosh, our new owners don’t mess around do they?
Since the Al Hasawi family have taken over at Forest, it would seem that the best thing to do is assume the opposite to the Nottingham Post speculates will come true. Long they had denied the takeover was close, boom, it happened, and more recently has been a lone voice trumpeting the case of incumbent manager Steve Cotterill – he’s now gone after a meeting with the new owners.
I must confess that my own lack of close-season Cotterill comment probably betrays my feelings on the matter. A nice man, given a tough job – one he was barely capable of delivering. Not a manager for an ambitious future, not a manager the fans are likely to unite behind – even after the takeover I know a number of fans who were withholding season ticket money based on his lingering malignant presence at the club.
Of course, on a human level it would not be nice at all to revel in somebody losing their job – then again, he came to Forest on a three and a half year deal and has three of those remaining. On a football level, I must confess that I’m really very pleased – even if we’re being charitable then the job ‘Survival Steve’ was brought in to do is now very different, many will argue passionately the job he was brought in to do wasn’t done very well, I think he delivered the bare minimum.
It would be uncharitable to not thank him for his efforts since being at the helm of Forest, though – so thank you, Steve, and all the best for the future. It would be a cold-hearted fan who can’t at least look back at that night at Elland Road and not smile. Now the crazy train departs rumour-station as we see the likes of Harry Redknapp, Mick McCarthy and Alex McLeish leading the bookmakers lists. Given the expedience of the Al Hasawi decison to give Cotterill the boot, I can’t help but consider they already have a name in the frame.
Giving a manager control of the chequebook without confidence in his ability to deliver would be folly, and Cotterill would’ve had a mountain to climb just to get sections of his own fanbase on side. Mr Popular in the stands, he was not. So this move, surgical, precise and not dragged out, is probably for the best for the club, and for Steve himself so he can move on to his own next challenge with dignity rather than enduring a Steve Kean like existence (I’d hope it wouldn’t come to that, but well, it might have).
The news of the manager being relieved of his position might otherwise threaten to overshadow another piece that appeared on the official website just before from the Doughty family, who have handled this whole situation with immense dignity. It’s wonderful to see that they plan to remain supporters of the club, in the regular sense of course, and the renaming of the academy to bear the name of Nigel Doughty is – in my opinion – an excellent tribute to contribution that Nigel made to the club.
As for the next manager of the club – well, clearly Cotterill doesn’t match the long term plans the Al Hasawi family have (which is somewhat of a relief, in truth) – but it remains to be seen whether they go for an older experienced manager or, as I hope they do, a younger ‘hungry’ manager with a track record of playing decent football. As Mark Arthur once said (he must be feeling twitchy in his office at the moment) you do have to be careful what you wish for…
… but I can’t help but feel pleased that we will have a properly fresh start including in the dug out next season. Saturday’s trip to the City Ground becomes a more fascinating proposition by the day. For now I’m simply thankful that we can properly draw a line under “The season of the two Steves” and look forward to hopefully a more bountiful future!
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