Unfinished business takes time

December 5, 2013 2 Comments »

The season might not be going as well as some hoped, but there’s no reason to panic. Paul Severn says unfinished business takes time to complete – just ask Leicester City

ID 10085793 Unfinished business takes time

“Out foxed: Nigel Pearson set for the sack after Leicester’s promotion bid hits the skids” read the Daily Mirror headline on 1 April 2013. City manager Nigel Pearson had seen his team slip from second to seventh after one win in 11 games and found himself under massive pressure.

This type of run in the Championship causes a club to go into meltdown. There were emergency meetings at Leicester and their promotion bid eventually collapsed in dramatic fashion against Watford in the play-offs. The Premier League millions had eluded the Foxes again.

Crisis is nothing new to fans of Nottingham Forest. Life is never dull with changes in management or owners. We know all about disastrous play-off defeats and injuries. It is an addictive roller-coaster season after season. However, it can also make you weary because every mini-crisis seems to be blown out of all proportion.

There can be no doubt that after such a fine start to the season Forest could, and perhaps should, be higher up the table and bigger favourites with the likes of Betway than they are currently. Injuries have decimated the defence. Some signings have not quite worked out (so far), and while Forest tend to score in most games, the front line lack a truly clinical touch that can turn draws into wins and good performances into three points. Some criticism is self-inflicted. It is easy to mock the bravado of ‘advisor’ Jim Price after a humiliating defeat at Yeovil.

Some weaknesses could have been addressed better by Billy Davies in the summer. He was given decent funds to spend in an era of approaching Financial Fair Play. However, he did lose his two top goalscorers (Billy Sharp and Lewis McGugan) at the end of last season without receiving a penny in return. Just because we are behind the points tally we need, we are not reaching Armageddon just yet. Forest are still in a building phase and this needs to continue for another transfer window at least to get players in – and out – of the club. That seems frustrating after what we have spent in the last few years, but each time you change the manager, you reset the process back significantly.

Many of Forest’s problems have been created by instability in the managerial position. The squad is too large chiefly because every single manager has been given money to make changes only to move on weeks or months later. There are highly-paid remnants of previous regimes – some of which are playing for other clubs, possibly still at Forest’s expense. Players of all styles, sizes and ages exist in an incoherent and inconsistent squad. This is the polar opposite of Swansea, who built a club based on a single, clear philosophy, with managers of the same mentality building on the achievements of their predecessors.

Davies is not the perfect manager. He is an abrasive, Marmite character. But he did inherit a mess which is getting in the way of the ‘unfinished business’ he promised to complete. You cannot ‘sell’ someone like Ishmael Miller who earns a five-figure salary each week and does little to justify it. And that reminds me of what faced another manager – Pearson at Leicester City. Sven-Goran Eriksson had wasted cash on expensive duds and Pearson had to sort through this wreckage while under severe pressure to get promotion. Forest are frustratingly at the same stage Leicester were last season. We have good players – Jack Hobbs compares well to Wes Morgan, Karl Darlow to Kasper Schmeichel and so on. But Pearson has had time to work with players through the ups and downs. Who can say that Davies will not revitalise Simon Cox in the same way Pearson has done with Jamie Vardy? He has certainly given youth a chance in a way that many said he would not.

The Championship is very competitive and so many clubs want promotion yesterday. Few teams are good enough to win every game and setbacks and bizarre results happen frequently. It might even get worse for Forest and Davies, as it did for Pearson at Vicarage Road.

There are reasons to criticise what is happening on and off the field, but any major change would simply compound our problems. Davies, like Pearson, has his critics, but he must be allowed time to complete the job – even if ‘unfinished business’ takes longer to complete than we hoped.

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Image: Courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Pete Gibbins

    Yeh, I’m all for giving a manager time – it’s just in that time Billy & Jim are going to continue making ridiculous statements & starting nonsensical feuds with people & organisations who aren’t looking for one, dragging the name of the club through the muck.
    Quite frankly – I’m bored of it. If this is whats required to reach the ‘Promised Land’ ™ (r) BSkyB broadcasting empire, then I’m not sure its a price worth paying.

    • Paul Scranage

      Spot on comment from you Pete – my thoughts precisely. I too am sick
      and tired of Billy’s antics – they are embarrassing the club, fans and
      probably the players too.

      Billy thinks he is bigger than the
      club. He is not. Time to re-engage with “all” of the press/media and
      build some bridges – the majority are not out to get you Billy; it’s
      just your crazy paranoid mind! Like most fans, I miss the post match
      interviews, on Radio Nottingham, when I am driving home.

      We know
      the team will lose and draw games, maybe some that they shouldn’t, but
      that is just football and fans can accept that. What we can’t accept is
      one individual (two if you include Jim Price) trying to control what
      everyone else can say or think – we don’t live in a USSR-like
      dictatorship!

      You are a decent Championship-level manager Billy,
      so just focus on the football and start doing what your paid for.
      Enough of your political machinations (and your pathetic excuses) –
      heard it all before and had enough, so STOP NOW!

      You might have
      fooled Fawaz (i.e. unnecessary contract extension for you – yet nothing
      for Andy Reid?!?!?!?) but many fans have not forgotten, or forgiven,
      your behaviour last time round. Seems you are reverting to type!

      We want unity but Billy seems dead set on creating the antithesis of
      this. Interesting to see that, slowly but surely, he is losing the fans

      too (see comments to Fawaz on Twitter) – even some of the blinkered,
      die-hard Billy lovers have lifted their rose-tinted glasses, lol!

      I’m
      100% behind Forest no matter what. This support extends to Billy, or
      indeed any manager, but only on the proviso that they act in the best
      interests of the the club; as opposed to their own self fulfilling
      agenda/interests!

      COYR! :o)

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