No season of Goodwill at Nottingham Forest
The refrain ‘Against Modern Football’ has rarely felt more relevant today following the sacking of Sean O’Driscoll by Nottingham Forest. Here, Steve Wright of the Mist Rolling in from the Trent blog provides his reaction to the decision. You can follow Steve on twitter here.
When the Al-Hasawi family appointed Sean O’Driscoll as manager and announced a long term plan to re-build Nottingham Forest I was more excited than I have been for a long time. There would be money to kick start the process but the focus would be on developing strong foundations that with patience and hard work could give us a club to be proud of.
The goal was still to achieve Premier League football as it should be for a club of Forest’s size and status but it would be done the right way. Money would support the development rather than be thrown around like a metaphorical willy waved in the faces of our opponents.
Just five months later, with the team sat in 8th place a point outside of the playoffs, that plan has been cast aside and O’Driscoll has been shown the door. When shareholder Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi landed back in the country customs should have been looking for a scythe in his luggage, he has made two trips to Nottingham so far and a manager has been sacked on both occasions. The writing was clearly on the wall some time before the side demolished Leeds United yesterday.
In one move, everything that had seemed good about our new owners suddenly looked like a sham. The rhetoric has changed from building for the future to promotion or bust. The role model is no longer Swansea but QPR. It feels like just as I was falling back in love with Forest it has been snatched away.
This won’t be the case for all fans. Some will agree with the owners and want to be promoted whatever the cost. They value being in the Premier League above any sense of what type of club Nottingham Forest is. That’s fine, it is another way of following football, but for me it is empty. My enjoyment of football is found in the build; the win satisfies because it has been earned.
When there is talk about ground development in Nottingham it often revolves around wanting to stay with the history of the City Ground and not swap that for a flat-pack arena that could be any club in any city. However, on the pitch we seem to be going for the identikit cheque book approach that robs a club of its personality and its values.
I want to support my distinct local club with its own DNA, Sean O’Driscoll struck that chord for me and I was enjoying watching him set about defining that DNA at Forest. I believe that in time he would have delivered something special whatever league we were playing in and begun a process that other managers could continue.
Now it seems rather than work to produce our own identity we are going to see if we can buy a clone. The problem is that even though a clone might look the part it doesn’t have a soul.