Why always Nottingham Forest?

The morning after the night before.

And added to the games against Yeovil and Blackpool is one against Stoke City.

What is it about Forest that makes it happen?

It’s so difficult to work out, because clearly the shocking nights against the first two happened years ago – they didn’t affect what happened against Stoke.

But why is it that a club the size of Forest needs to be the underdog to achieve anything?

The only ‘success’ I saw in my two decades covering the club came when automatic promotion had seemingly drifted away from the grasp, and the pressure was off.

The pressure was on Doncaster that afternoon, and Forest had the freedom to play.

Credit to Colin Calderwood’s side, they won promotion on an afternoon that many will never forget.

I’ve seen lots on social media suggesting the players and management staff should all be axed – it’s a knee-jerk reaction to a night of capitulation, I get that. People need to lash out at someone.

But I actually think the opposite could be true in this case – perhaps the players care too much, and they’re so desperate to win promotion that they freeze at the crucial moment.

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If anyone thinks that the likes of Cash, Worrall, Ribeiro, Grabban, Figuereido, Lolley, Samba etc don’t want the best for the club, they’ve been watching a different season to me.

A lot has been made of the late goals in games – and rightly so. I wonder if that’s a microcosm of what happened in the last few weeks.

The players are within touching distance of achieving what they want to, and for some reason contrive to throw it away. 

Who can forget the drama at Reading? Forest going 1-0 up six minutes into stoppage time, only to concede a minute later. Isn’t that the story of the season?

Everything has been fine, a hard-working side about to chisel out a notable win to put pressure on the top two, and you can almost see the panic.

About to record a third successive win against Derby in the season, to put pressure on the top two, and you can almost see the panic.

About to gain the point at Barnsley to make sure of a play-off place, and you can almost see the panic.

I could go on.

When you think the players fell a single point short, these moments are of huge significance.

Plenty of opposition supporters are enjoying the moment, in the way that many enjoyed Leeds’ moment of embarrassment against Derby at Elland Road last season.

Leeds had that reputation of falling apart – most of the City Ground was singing about it earlier in the year!

But they stuck with a foreign Head Coach, who’d done a lot of the hard yards in his first season in the Championship, and have gained their reward this year.

I don’t know if you’d spotted, but Leeds won promotion this year – not that you’d have seen much about it in the media!

Does anyone think that Sabri Lamouchi won’t have learned an awful lot in this campaign, that could benefit Forest in the next one?

Whether he gets that chance remains to be seen – Forest is not a club that has erred on the side of patience when it comes to its managers over the last 20 years.

I hope that time is taken to analyse the season, and no snap judgments are made in the wake of the shock of last night.

Because Forest have the basis of something good – if Lamouchi’s side had finished seventh, but been out of the play-offs for much of the season, you’d probably say ‘there’s the basis there, we’ll re-build a little, and mount a challenge next season.’

You won’t want to hear this, but it’s the best campaign Forest have had for nine seasons. It feels like a failure though because of the way it ended.

I think there is reason to be optimistic though for next season – with a couple of additions (surely a striker and a bit more pace in midfield?), Forest will challenge – they’re not far short of being a very good squad. They just need a couple more options off the bench I would suggest.

The first 11, I would say, is a top four side – but there’s not enough depth behind it. The absence of a leading player is firmly noticed.

I would also say that the Championship, at this point, looks to me as though it won’t be as strong as this season either. And, if I’m honest, I wasn’t sure it was overly strong this time around. 

It made it exciting, because everything was so tight, but there didn’t seem as much flair from as many teams as in previous campaigns. And there weren’t the outstanding players that we’ve seen in years gone by.

The loss of Leeds and West Brom to the Premier League is good for Forest I think – because the sides coming down (Norwich, and probably Watford and Bournemouth) will all have issues on their return to the Championship. You wouldn’t, at this moment in time, see any of them running away with the division.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT ROGUES’ GALLERY GREAT FOREST PRODUCTS

And while Coventry, Rotherham and Wycombe come up from League One, you would not be surprised to see all three occupying a bottom-half position in the Championship next summer.

One thing’s for sure, it is never dull watching the conclusion of a Nottingham Forest campaign, and I know you’ll be glutton for more punishment next season – even if you don’t feel like it now.

Photo – Dan Westwell

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6 thoughts on “Why always Nottingham Forest?

  1. I don’t for a second believe that the players don’t care. You only had to see how Joe Lolley was affected. What is so frustrating is all the times this season we threw away games…..I’d just seen us get what I thought was the winning goal at Millwall and left to catch my train home and I heard the roar from the home fans when I was walking to the station. I knew what had happened. The same at Reading, we’d got the goal and then they equalised….then there’s Sheffield Wednesday and Derby….we had games won and threw them away. Just like last night when we were comfortable at 1-1 and not in any danger. God knows how the Club recovers from this. It’ll take time for us fans to get over it but I know I’ll be there next season supporting them. Forest you’ve broken my heart so many times….I should hate you but I don’t.

  2. One positive Robin is that no-one can now accuse you of being the jinx!

    As the dust settles I’m quite serene about last night. It was for the best, and here’s why. When we beat Leeds in Feb we’d 51 points from 31 games, and were 1 point behind them and the automatic promotion places. In the 15 games since? 3 wins. 16 points. In 8 of our last 11 games (and 5 of our last 6) we conceded goals late on in halfs of football. It’s hard to get away from it, we’re out on our feet. If we’d scraped in last night we’d not have got promoted. A long season with a thin squad, and the way we play, caught up with us.

    You need quality to keep beating the top teams (5 of the 6 play-off sides) with a fraction of possession, but it’s hard, hard work chasing the ball and keeping shape for 60/70/80% of games. Against the teams where we’re expected to take the game to them? Not so good. We’ve either been beaten by, or failed to beat both home and away, 9 of the bottom 10. Nine. Of the bottom ten.

    So that needs to be fixed. The squad needs tweaking so some of those 40+ appearance players don’t need to be run off their feet next season, and who fit a way of playing that gets us more points from weaker teams when needed. It isn’t a major rebuild we’re after. But pre-season will be short. Our players need to rest for as long as they can, and we need to get on with those plans ASAP. Making the play-offs would have given us a 10% chance of going up at the cost of a 90% certainty it would have buggered up building for next season. I don’t like those odds. Better to continue the progress we’re making till we get good enough rather than risk stalling that progress with a side that isn’t quite good enough yet. And that’s what we’ve been this season, good, but not quite good enough.

  3. IF, and it was always a big IF, IF we had gone up, this squad would have required a lot of big money additions to keep them in the Premier League. IF we had made the play offs and lost then people would have been happy and look forward to next season but with mostly the same squad, which isn’t quite good enough. By losing this way will magnify the problems we have to make them more self evident, and this will force management to move to fix them which will only benefit us for the future. Disaster is the perfect result to see the problems. From the ashes a phoenix will rise!! COYR!

  4. Now we are all landed safely back on earth…. We stick with the Manager we make some additions And we go again!

  5. Keeping it short & sweet. Obviously the amount of games we’ve thrown away in injury time this season is unbelievable. We’ve made stupid unprofessional challenges, at crucial times, to give the opposition the opportunity to claw there way back. Pen at home to Boro, own goal at Reading, Freekick at Derby, Ribeiro on weds night, for there 2nd crucial goal that shook us! The list goes on.
    If we’d managed to sign a class forward and creative midfielder in jan, we may have been 2 or 3 goals up, when these late goals were conceded, or maybe you don’t make these errors when the games comfortable.
    I agree that Lam the Man should be given another season, & backed better on the recruitment side of things. Next season could then make us a better prospect, to go up & stay there!

  6. I’ve seen some of the comments blaming tiredness and a small squad for conceding last minute goals and running out of steam in the last 5 games of the season. I’m not sure I 100% agree, for example we have a £13 millino pound player sat on the bench for most games. If legs are tired why wasn’t Carvalho used more often along with Bostock? If the rumours are true about Carvalho’s attitude in training, isn’t it the managers job to get him onside and find out what’s wrong? Simply abandoning him to the sidelines isn’t very constructive management. This is why I have doubts over Lamouchi, he doesn’t seem to have any flexibility or a plan B. The counter attacking style has worked well for us, especially away from home and against the better sides in the league but we need a different approach when playing teams in the bottom half and at the City Ground. We should be dominating these teams and they should fear coming to a packed out City Ground. I’d give the manager another season as I don’t agree in chopping and changing but he must learn from his mistakes and be more open in his approach.

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