When the fixture list for the new season is announced it is usually accompanied with excitement and a sense of optimism about what the new season will hold.
However, for Forest fans this summer it has just reiterated the helplessness of the current situation.
With no new owners the club has been unable to offer existing players new contracts never mind go out and sign any new players and, if you believe Chief Executive Mark Arthur, the sale of club isn’t about to happen in the imminent future.
The club has already lost last season’s star man Garath McCleary to Premier League new boys Reading whilst Luke Chambers, Joel Lynch and Paul Anderson are all free to speak to other clubs following the expiration of their contracts. Should the club be unable to hang on to either Luke Chambers or Joel Lynch it would leave them with only Chris Gunter and Brendan Moloney as recognised defenders and they both play at right back.
The loss of McCleary and Anderson also leaves the club short of a right sided midfield player. Add to this the fact that the squad boasts 6 senior strikers in Dexter Blackstock, Marcus Tudgay, Ishmael Miller, Matt Derbyshire, Robbie Findley and David McGoldrick and it is clear that the squad is badly imbalanced.
The structure of the squad is something which badly needs addressing before the season begins but the club would appear to have their hands tied until the sale of the club can be confirmed.
However, the sale of the club is further complicated by the fact that nobody involved in the club is involved in the sale.
Following the sad passing of former owner Nigel Doughty in February the sale of the club was entrusted to investment bankers Seymour Pierce; effectively the club know little more than the fans and will be made aware when the deal is finalised. Until the sale is confirmed Forest are unable to compete with clubs around them for players and would appear to have their hands tied.
Hopefully the sale of the club will take place sooner rather than later and allows the manager, whether that continues to be Steve Cotterill or whoever the new owners choose to bring in, a chance to add to the squad before the season kicks off in August. However, if this doesn’t happen and Forest are forced to sell the players on high wages to bring in free transfers and season long loans, and rely on the inclusion of youngsters, it is difficult to predict how the side will fare next season.
If Cotterill is as successful in bringing in signings as he was in the loan market last season then it is possible that he could assemble a decent squad, not a squad which challenges for promotion but certainly a squad capable of a safe midtable finish.
However, if he is unable to alter the squad and the club performs as they did under his tenure before March then it could be a long season for the Forest faithful. As it stands Forest appear to have hit a stand-still and until it becomes clear whether a takeover is likely to occur with enough time to spend money before the start of the season, I would recommend that the fans either get down to Trent Bridge and watch the cricket or enjoy Andy Murray’s run to the semi-finals of Wimbledon.