In 2011, Billy Davies did something that epitomised his relationship with Nottingham Forest fans at that time. Following the Swansea City play-off semi-final defeat, he immediately traveled the four hours back to thank, and shake the hands of Reds supporters’ who had stuck with the side through thick and thin in that campaign.
The reasons behind that particular act can be debated. But at least in his first spell, he had his paying customers on the agenda in a positive manner.
A simple clench of the fist or appraisal of the away support was all that was required to be hailed a King.
Fast forward to 2014, and you see a very different Billy Davies. The hero that the majority loved, is no longer.
A point-blank refusal to be interviewed by certain sections of the media have alienated many. Davies has built up a clown-like public figure, probably unintentionally, due to his meaningless and repetitive catchphrases.
The fiery Scot is known to look for a battle – a section of people to prove wrong, and come out on top against. What you could never see him doing though, was take on the fans.
Walking past a 2,000 strong away following at Turf Moor without a show of appreciation has sparked anger. His lack of sense of humour led to a long, enduring glare towards the Reds’ support after they chanted, “We’re Nottingham Forest, it is what it is”, referring to his tiring press conferences.
His eagerness to point out the actions of the small minority, when expressing his displeasure at Twitter messages sent to owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi. Very quick to point out the bad, and yet to value the thousands that travel far and wide every week.
Heading into the business end of the season, the club needed a leader. One that would stand up, take the flak and take it on the chin, ploughing on through the rest of the season.
What we got was a man that abused a referee and got a five-game touchline ban. The man who has repeatedly emphasised the “season starts in January” and now disappears for a chunk of that period. Not only that, but has refused to do all media interviews until his ban is completed, due to apparent legal advice.
It would’ve been a pleasant surprise to see him scrap the legal advice and apologise for the abysmal showing at Barnsley on Saturday afternoon. Something that didn’t enter his thinking, obviously.
Can he expect the players to go over and beyond their call of duty for him, when he can easily hide away?
He’s always been known to get the best out of his teams, but he is struggling to get the best out of squad when he needs them most. But who can blame them, when all he’s gone on about for months is how they’re not good enough?
It’s time for Davies to mellow, or it won’t be long before he’s unemployed.
Controversy follows him everywhere, but it can no longer. ‘Billy’ is believed to be penning an autobiography on his managerial career, and everything around it. To write an autobiography, you either need to be famous, or continually create controversy to create the next chapter.
If you’re going to act like Sir Alex Ferguson or Jose Mourinho, you’ve got to have a bit more to your C.V than a Championship Play-Off Final victory.
When Sol Campbell’s recent revelations about the England captaincy emerged, cynics pointed out that he needed to sell his new book.
With Davies, you feel his fall-outs could have that exact motive – if you were Fawaz Al-Hasawi, you’d want to watch your step, because you could quite easily become the next chapter.
Billy Davies needs to appreciate it’s the power of the internet that got him his current role. The football normally does the talking, but not this time.
The tide is quickly turning among the Nottingham Forest contingent, and many are wondering if the hassle his personality brings, is ultimately worth it.
Once upon a time, his ways united everyone. Now though, he’s bringing the reputation of the club down and he’s picking a war with the people that matter – the fans.
Disregard their importance at your peril – just don’t be surprised when everyone really does turn on you, including Fawaz Al-Hasawi.
@will_forest to get in touch via Twitter.