After another long week of speculation and various names linked to the vacant manager’s job at Nottingham Forest, the Al-Hasawi family have appointed Sean O’Driscoll who returns after just two months at Crawley Town.
While many were hung up on the use of the word ‘iconic’ – no, I’m not sure what it was supposed to mean either – the decision has proved to be a very popular one with players and fans alike.
Since Saturday’s press conference both Mick McCarthy and Glenn Hoddle were odds-on favourites for the job while the likes of Roy Keane, Alan Curbishley, Gordon Strachan, Darren Ferguson and Harry Redknapp were all linked.
O’Driscoll’s appointment is important because not only does it provide some continuity with last season but it shows the new owners’ commitment to a sensible, long-term plan and football played ‘the Forest way’.
The club’s majority shareholder Fawaz Al-Hasawi said: “We interviewed many well-known and high profile figures but we truly believe Sean O’Driscoll is the best man for the job.
“Sean’s passion for Nottingham Forest, knowledge of the game and the Championship in particular, plus his work ethic, shone through in our conversations.
“He is hugely respected, not only by members of our current squad and staff at the Club for his work in helping transform our fortunes last season, but also within the wider football community.”
O’Driscoll added: “I enjoyed my time working with the players last season, and even in sometimes difficult circumstances the fans gave the kind of support you don’t often see in football today.
“The Al Hawasi family’s ownership opens exciting prospects for this Club and I look forward to rebuilding the squad and playing the kind of attractive football The City Ground deserves to see.”
His arrival in January as Steve Cotterill’s first-team coach, effectively assistant manager, was heralded with a transformation in the way Forest were playing. The long barren spell — 648 minutes without a goal if you’d forgotten — was replaced with a fluid, attacking style that not only pulled us clear of the relegation zone but brought some of the best displays at the City Ground for, well, at least a season or two.
Instrumental in bringing fans’ favourite Adlene Guedioura to the club on loan from Wolves, O’Driscoll’s training methods hit a chord with the players who are believed to have urged the Al-Hasawis to speak to him about the job.
Despite comments on Saturday that a traditional set-up would be installed, a director of football is believed to next with Steve Coppell’s name very much in the frame despite covering the manager’s role at Crawley.
And with just four weeks until the start of the new season, no senior defenders and only three friendlies to play after the cancellation of the US tour, there’s an awful lot to do.
But, as the Al-Hasawis have already stated, this is a three to five-year plan, so let’s not expect miracles. Just yet.