Guess who? Sean O’Driscoll returns to Nottingham Forest

July 20, 2012 4 Comments »
Guess who? Sean O’Driscoll returns to Nottingham Forest

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.

For insight into O’Driscoll’s footballing philosophy, this Goalfood interview is essential reading as is The Two Unfortunates’ primer.

  • Dale Shaynter

    Overall I think that this is the best appointment that the new owners could have made given the appalling list of `big names` we were expecting to suffer. Despite my initial bewilderment, I actually feel quite relieved this morning. As you say, continuity is important. My hope is that the new owners made this decision for the right reasons and not because the other candidates that were interviewed were put off by something they were told. We may never know the reasons Mick Mcarthy turned us down, but I am curious. I’ve checked my expectations this week, and maybe that’s a good thing, but I still believe the Al Hasawi’s need to make a big statement of intent because without serious investment the team is going to struggle next year. I hope they haven’t just plumped for the cheap option.

  • I am absolutely delighted with this appointment. Already knows and has the trust of the squad and knows what needs to be done. That is vital considering that he is starting weeks behind all the other managers.

    The only thing that bothers me is the more moronic element of the NFFC support. I am sure the “spend some money” brigade will soon be out in force.

    They need to remember that financial fair play is STILL COMING. The squad might have been decimated but so has the wage bill. It makes no sense to rush straight back into the situation we have suffered from for the last few years. It won’t be allowed anyway.

    I think that Sean O’Driscoll is exactly the right man to build a competitive squad without excessive spending and give us a chance for a bit of financial stability.

    Personally, I would be happy to see us stay up comfortably this season and build from there next year.

    But I am dreading the “O’Driscoll out” chants when we aren’t in the top two in November.

  • Patrick Gallagher

    Given that SOD is 55 and we have 5 year plan it would be useful to have younger coach alongside him – Ian Woan – to take up legacy.

    • It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the backroom staff, presumably O’Driscoll will be allowed to bring in who he wants…