A Nottingham Forest exit from a Derby County perspective
He’s been shown the door at Nottingham Forest, but just what is it about Billy Davies that infuriates those around him? Derby County supporter Joel Clyne explains…
When Billy Davies was appointed manager of Nottingham Forest back in January 2009, a chuckle or two was shared between Derby fans. Welcome to the Billy Davies show.
There can be no question of the Scot’s calibre as a manager. In the full seasons he has taken charge of second tier clubs, Davies has never failed to finish in the play-off places. His sides, on average, have scored over 64 goals per season and conceded less than 45 to produce a win percentage of 46.9%. With performances as such, you would expect him to have obtained close to hero status at his previous clubs. But this has not been the case.
Upon his move from Preston to Derby in the summer of 2006 he was deemed a money-grabber by the North End faithful. He is held in similar regard at Derby, where it is he who shoulders the majority of the blame for the club’s disastrous season in the Premier League despite being in charge for only 14 games. It remains to be seen how he is remembered at Nottingham Forest.
The problem fans have with Davies is this: he gives the impression he is bigger than the club, everything revolves around him, and everybody else can take a supporting role.
It does not help that the Scot continually refers to himself in third person, while the repetitive post match interviews became tedious and the fights he picks, usually in the public domain, seemed to the detriment of his past clubs.
For instance, during his first season at Derby, the club was sitting in an automatic promotion position at the beginning of January and at the time strolling towards the Premier League. Davies insisted to the board of directors that the squad needed additions to ensure promotion. In the January window, Davies spent close to £4million on five players, dislodging the balance of the squad – subsequently, previously excellent form went out of the window.
If you were to split that season into thirds, the evidence is there for all to see. After Davies was appointed in the summer, he signed seven players permanently and sold four. In the first 15 games, the Rams got off to an average start and won 40% of their games. Considering there had been major changes at the club both on and off the field, the patchy results were understandable. In the following 15 games up until the January transfer window, Derby won 80% of their matches, however. After the new additions had arrived, the team went back to their sub-standard 40% win ratio.
A similar pattern arose when he was at Forest. In his first full season in charge at the City Ground, the team’s win percentage in the opening third of the season stood at 40%, exactly the same as his record at Derby. His record in the final third of the season stands at 43.75%, again almost identical as his spell while at Pride Park.
Billy Davies sides peak during the middle period of the season and drop off towards the business end. This perhaps explains why, five out of six times, he has failed in the play-offs.
Back to the original point, though – there is, and always will be, baggage with Davies. He engineered his way out of Pride Park by making his position untenable shortly after securing himself a bumper new contract. Whilst at Forest there were the constant ramblings about the acquisition panel and the need for “stellar signings” to gain promotion. Had Davies forgotten that he had acquired a significant transfer budget when he was appointed as manager?
And surely these tiresome pre-match comments and post-match interviews for Monday’s back page did no favours for team morale?
Then, even before seeing his side knocked out by Swansea in the play-off semi-final, the Scot released a bizarre pre-match statement about his future and asked reporters to first consult his lawyer before heading to the City Ground.
Davies has previous for this, though. He used the same trick when he guided Derby to the Premier League. Instead of letting the fans bask in the glory of victory at Wembley, he made sure that everyone would sing along to his hymn sheet.
And that is what you’ll get with Billy Davies – an outstanding Championship manager, but one that lacks class and grace. Which set of fans will next be tuning in for another re-run of the Billy Davies Show?