Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Enough is Enough

As the rest of the footballing world went into a Sky-induced tizzy over Transfer Deadline Day, Nottingham Forest fans were watching the proceedings from between their fingers, horror film behind the sofa style, while simultaneously trying to make some sense of the happenings of the previous day. Indeed, from a Forest perspective, the best thing about Deadline Day was making it through without selling any of our better players. Unfortunately, we also didn't sell any of those who, quite frankly, need selling. But hey - be thankful for small mercies.

Where to start picking apart this madness? Loved and revered as Stuart Pearce was (and still is), results and performances had got to the point where, when Forest issued the statement saying he had left the club, it was almost a merciful release. No sooner had the virtual ink dried on this before the club made a further proclamation, announcing Dougie Freedman as the new manager. We were without a boss for somewhere around 45 minutes. Hmm. So THAT hadn't been arranged in advance then...

The fallout of this questionable process was felt early Monday morning, when news broke that CEO Paul Faulkner - who had been in the role barely months - had tendered his resignation and been put on gardening leave. It's a bit frosty for tending the petunias at the moment, so one can only assume his decision was based on how the sacking and hiring had been carried out.

Then, to round things off nicely, the Monday evening saw a Twitter-based rant from Darragh MacAnthony - the owner and chairman of Peterborough United - aimed at an unnamed Championship club. The gist of it was that the Posh couldn't make any late signings because said club had left Peterborough waiting for payments due for the purchase of a player, and not, allegedly, for the first time. Though no names were mentioned, it doesn't take a genius to guess who the target of MacAnthony's ire probably is: Nottingham Forest and Fawaz al Hasawi.

The sacking of Pearce, though heart-rending, was probably justified. Results and performances just weren't good enough. If one were being generous, one could just about paint the hasty appointment of Freedman in a positive light. No long wait; no period of uncertainty; quick transition; Freedman started well at Palace; used to working within financial constraints; yada yada yada. But the resignation of Faulkner and - if true - the issues with Peterborough...? Both are unforgivable.

I've been 100% behind Fawaz since he acquired the club nearly three years ago. But, after yesterday, as the title of this post says: enough is enough. The club cannot go on being run like this. I'm not for one second questioning Fawaz's financial contribution, nor his commitment and desire to make Forest successful. I'm questioning his ability to do it.

No plan; no strategy; late payments; winding up orders; inexperienced advisors in senior roles; not standing back and letting those who ARE experienced get on with their jobs. All of these things are avoidable. Mistakes like the shambolic appointments of McLeish and Davies are forgiveable for someone finding their feet in English football. But the other issues are not.

If I was pumping massive amounts of money into a business would I want to be close to it, to know what was going on? Of course I would. But I'd want it to be successful and respected a hell of a lot more. And if I was aware that I needed help to make it successful and respected then I'd get that help - the best help I could afford and attract. Yes, MacAnthony's diatribe may not have been professional. Yes, he himself might have behaved questionably in the past. That's not the point though. Episodes like this not only damage the club's reputation, but they could quite conceivably make other clubs not want to deal with us. And as we're now stuck in the stinking bog of FFP we need all the allies we can get.

Yet, having said all this, I don't really want Fawaz to leave the club. I've seen his passion, his reactions in good times and bad. Getting Forest promoted would make him as happy as it would make us all. What I want is for him to put aside his pride, admit that he needs experienced help in running the club, get that help, then let them get on with it. Keep his friends as just that, rather than, as it appears, giving them key positions in the club. If used properly, his financial backing could do amazing things for Nottingham Forest. The problem is though, none of this looks likely. If it hasn't happened in the two-and-a-half years he's been here, it's not likely to happen any time soon.

Anyway, back on the field the season continues on Saturday with Dougie Freedman's first game in charge, away at Brighton and Hove Albion. He's inherited a squad brimming with potential and talent. Can he get the best out of it? We'll have to wait and see. Either way, I wish him all the very best of luck. Recent history suggests he's going to need it.

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