Travelling to Nottingham Forest games, walking along Trent Bridge, you can see people with earphones fixed into their ears; they could be listening to music – or they could be listening to Robin Chipperfield, Colin Fray and John McGovern on the radio airwaves.
They play a key role in the lives of a Forest fan, home and abroad.
Since Billy Davies returned in February, he’s been a noticeable absentee in the post-match interview sector on BBC Radio Nottingham. Many believe he holds grudges, but why, supporters can only speculate.
Under the stewardship of the previous board, Billy Davies often complained he wasn’t given enough funds to fulfil his job requirements at the club. He made it clear to the board and fans alike, via the platform of the radio and newspapers. Nothing twisted by those who questioned, but simply taking the passionate words he spoke, and discussing to great length.
Because Fawaz Al-Hasawi was in a position of vulnerability when re-appointing Billy Davies, it seems the fiery Scotsman has all the power he craved. With backing from the board, he’s now able to fulfil his job requirements. But rather than brush the past under the carpet, it’s apparent Billy seeks revenge.
Billy, once the man who complained about not being given the tools to complete his job, is now halting others around him from doing their job to an acceptable level. In an era where great levels of communication were promised, the club could be cutting off a vital weekly source for fans across the world.
With Fawaz openly admitting he’s attempting to agree a deal with Al Jazeera to broadcast all of Forest’s home games, it looks as if the club are targeting a new bulk of fans in the Middle East. Whilst this may be important in terms of profit, Forest can’t be allowed to lose sight of the most integral part of a football club – the real fans.
The ones that have ploughed money into the club for many years, and may still be attending. Or alternatively due to financial reasons, aren’t able to attend.
Following months of positive headlines surrounding the club, the decision to avoid the local media may come back to bite them. When the national headlines quieten down, and the Wayne Rooney saga comes to an end, there will be a point when those in high authority at the national newspapers are seeking stories. With this move, Forest could make themselves an easy target.
Billy Davies may thrive on the attention of his enemies, driving him to success. Fawaz Al-Hasawi however, in the dark January month that saw him wave goodbye to two managers, gave the impression that the headlines were tough for him to take. Fawaz is often quoted discussing the “pride and honour” he has being in charge of such a great club. That must take a dent you would imagine, if a cloud of negative headlines surrounded the club again.
It could be the case that Forest are slow getting around to signing a contract with Radio Nottingham. Whatever the situation, it needs to be resolved very soon.
Nottingham Forest need to ensure they don’t become the North Korea of football, or the lottery winner that’s forgotten their roots. Billy Davies needs to learn that the spontaneity in his answers are what connects him to the fans, not the scripted and predictable nature currently being served up.
Listening to the radio is often the first stage to becoming a weekly supporter. The connection through the airwaves soon becomes an addiction, and before they know it, they’re walking over Trent Bridge going to their first game. If that disappears, so could a new generation of fans.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/nffcbbcradionottingham/ – Sign the petition to keep Radio Nottingham
@will_forest to get in touch via Twitter.