Forest Needed Stability – We Got Stupidity
As Nottingham Forest fans walked away from the City Ground on Boxing Day afternoon, with beaming smiles after a 4-2 thumping of Leeds United, nothing could surely ruin their day. Surely nothing could put a dampener on their Christmas?
Following recent disappointing performances, Forest needed to bounce back, to keep in touch with the playoff places. It was a lot more than a performance that flouted their bouncebackability. It was a display that showed the players wanted to play for the manager, and believed in his ways, and the direction he was taking the club.
Hours later, when supporters were reveling in the delight of victory, the news came through. Fawaz Al-Hasawi had sacked Sean O’Driscoll.
Personally, it was deflating. The Al-Hasawis were supposed to be different to the usual foreign owners, that use their club as a toy. Talk of long-term plans in their introductory press conference, and their desire to produce players from the academy. All of that feels irrelevant now they’ve sacked O’Driscoll, sitting in 8th position, one point from the playoffs.
What looked like was going to be the perfect Boxing Day, had turned into a disaster. The club had gone from putting on a show on national television, to becoming the laughing stock of English football. Only Forest could achieve such a feat.
Whilst Sean O’Driscoll had his faults, he was learning. Undoubtedly one of the cleverest men in football, rid of 24 games in. Building a squad capable of challenging, forming the backbone that would ensure its long term success. Figures in the game such as Roberto Martinez, lauding O’Driscoll, commenting he was creating something special.
The Al-Hasawi’s seemed intent early in the season, on creating a family atmosphere around the club, meaning the players felt comfortable approaching him, and likewise. A major part of O’Driscoll’s arrival to the club, the players may feel a little deflated themselves.
It will take a certain type of manager to fire up the players, and make the squad believe in a philosophy. With O’Driscoll being a popular figure amongst the dressing room, the new manager will have to hit the ground running, because anything else, thanks to the Al-Hasawi’s precedent set, is frankly unacceptable.
The next managerial appointment the Al-Hasawi’s is massive. Make a shrewd one, and a good run could see eventual promotion. Make a bad one, and it could set the club back two to three years, something the owners don’t appear overly keen on now.
A year consisting of the death of the former owner, financial troubles, a relegation battle and the elongated search for new owners – What the club needed was a period of stability. Someone with a clear way of thinking, who knew the processes required. Many interpreted his calmness, and his ability to not get carried away as having a “lack of ambition”.
Of all Nottingham Forest managers in recent years, he spoke the most sense. Almost too much sense, for some to fathom. He could explain every decision he made, and to those who bothered to listen, he was starting to educate people like he’d hoped.
Despite his vast knowledge, he never patronised. He got on with the job in hand, and everything was starting to come together. For someone so wise, it would’ve been easy to diverge himself, but he did the opposite, appearing on local radio programmes to discuss and elaborate on some questionable decisions.
The club that gets him next, should look forward to progress and stability. A major contributor in our survival, and starting the ball rolling this season, Nottingham Forest fans should be forever grateful towards him.
As for Forest, the Al-Hasawi’s have got some explaining to do. We knew it was going to be a rollercoaster ride. We knew there was going to be some drama. But get this key decision wrong, and Forest could become an embarrassment.
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