If Fawaz stays, we know how this ends

January 17, 2017 5 Comments »

The collapse of the takeover by John Jay Moores leaves Fawaz Al Hasawi in sole charge of Nottingham Forest — with a looming sense of dread amongst supporters. Michael Evans thinks he knows what happens next

And so we’re here again. The club struggling in the league, another manager dismissed with a light sense of gratitude and a heavy pay-off. Any chance of progression on the pitch postponed for another season, traded in for surviving at any cost.

The club hasn’t fallen into its current malaise overnight, and the chronic mismanagement of the club for almost two decades cannot be written off. However, it feels different this time. The attempted takeover by John Jay Moores felt like one last opportunity to arrest the decline overseen by Fawaz. Whilst none of us can predict how the club would’ve been run by Moores (beyond a couple of rumours), we all know how Fawaz plays this tune.

First come the apologies. The sincere pleas for fan backing, and calls for unity to help the team dig their way out of this self-created hole. Maybe this time Fawaz will again admit to mistakes on his part. His humility in recognising his mistakes, surely this time he’ll learn. He won’t make them again, he tells the local news.

And following all the right words come all the right noises. Rumours of appointing a CEO, spending time investing in the staff and structure a good Championship club needs. A decent manager’s name will crop up, someone with good experience at this level, possibly even higher. Of course, the inevitable rumours of the third-coming of Billy Davies are never too far away, but surely even Fawaz wouldn’t do that again. Surely.

Any early optimism starts to wear a little thin after a while though. The good managers we were linked with disappear. No manager wanting a fair chance at a competently run Championship club will touch us. So we end up with someone either not up to the task, or someone unaware of what a mess we are. We’ll sign a few players, some of which may look decent. Most of them though, won’t look up to the task, certainly not if promotion is the aim. The key to finding good, affordable players is an organised scouting network. Forest barely have any scouts, let alone a network.

Then, just before the transfer window closes, we’ll probably sell our best player.

As sure as night follows day, it all goes wrong. If a CEO has been appointed (and there’s no guarantee that one can be found who will work at Forest), they inevitably realise what the role entails. Which is not a lot. There’s seemingly no room for a CEO in Fawaz’s Forest. They resign. On the pitch, it’s generally worse. The results reflect the incoherent way the club is run. Managers’ flaws are increasingly exposed. For every player giving it their all, there’s another phoning it in. Fans turn on the manager. On the players. On Fawaz.

Then the whole charade repeats itself. Out goes the manager. Out go the players. Fawaz stays on. Every season, everything changes; and yet nothing does.

It is almost impossible to see the club ever going forward under Fawaz. He’s demonstrated previously that he cannot and will not change. This is before considering the uncertainty surrounding the financial health of the club. We need wholesale change and renewed investment in order simply to compete with other clubs in the Championship. Currently the only part of the club fit for purpose is the academy. A club cannot prosper whilst its direction is set by the ever-changing whim of a single man.

Maybe Fawaz will actually do it differently next time. Stick to his words. Build the club. I really hope so. Call me cynical, but I doubt it. My fear is he may do it differently this time, but not in the way anyone wants. It’s clear he wants a return on his investment much higher than the current market value of the club. If the value of the club continues to drop, where else to recoup that money but from selling players and assets?

At the time of writing this, the deal with John Jay Moores is dead. I really hope it is resurrected somehow, or some other consortium steps into the breach. Because if not, I fear for what another year in the Fawaz cycle will do to our club.

  • Mike proctor

    Great article, and entirely accurate. I’ve been a forest fan since 1970 and this is a shambles never seen before to this degree. There is only one way to wake this guy up, and that is to boycott season ticket purchases to ring alarm bells. If we get to the end of July with no guaranteed income he will wake up finally.

    • Chris Meakin

      Unfortunaley Fawaz is solely responsible for the money he has lost.
      How many millions have been paid to managers? they must be rubbing their hands together!
      I can’t forget the circus on local tv, where his wife stated he could buy Barca & real Madrid put together, and Fawaz said it was not about the money!
      Why i wonder, has this all changed?
      Telling porkies at the start or business disasters since. If he runs his other companies the same as Forest, it’s highly likely.
      But why oh why hasn’t he learnt his lesson after making the same constant mistakes?
      Get the right foundations in place sit back & watch it bloom!
      His interference is the only obstacle.
      being a regular for over 40yrs, it’s hard to stay away, but i won’t renew my ticket next year, if no changes are made.
      i’m afraid it is the only way to affect the changes required.
      Constant support, just gives him a ticket to carry on wrecking our beloved Reds.

      • Nik

        And the tragedy in all of this is that Moores could genuinely have taken us forward on and off the pitch, pretty sure we would have seen premier football and probaby even a new stadium. If Fawaz ever does sell who will it be to? Probably a bunch of faceless Chinese investors buying a club as a stutus symbol but little ambition as long as they can install Ryan Giggs as manger and get a photo taken with him. I just think we’ve missed the best opportunity we may ever have.

  • Billy

    Fawaz will keep looking for a mug prepared to pay him what he has put in and he will keep being held to ransom by more realistic outsiders who see the terribly poor state the club is in, a state Fawaz himself has had more than a hand in creating. I’m afraid this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. If it EVER gets better. I don’t think that last statement is too strong a statement. The only way I can see out of this is if Fawaz gives up his ridiculous claims for stupid amounts of money for a club that is currently not worth what he asks. I hope that he gets fed up and just decides to cut loose. Because the longer he stays the lower we will sink and the more he does serious long term damage to NFFC.

  • Sooner or later he’s going to have to accept that he won’t be able to get what he wants with regards to selling the club. If we’re relegated then there is no way he will recoup his losses in the form of a sell on price. At this point if he hasn’t already he will start to asset strip and then pull out and declare the club bankrupt so he can at least use the losses as a tax right off. Then he’ll dump the club on someone for a quid without a care of what kind of mess he’s made. Meanwhile Forest will be probably be going through something similar to what Portsmouth and Blackpool have. I wish I could see a better way, its so depressing but unless something drastic happens I can only see this happening.