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Nottingham Forest Fan’s Eye View of Brentford Match. “I Want Martin O’Neill To Prove Me Wrong”

Nottingham Forest Fan’s Eye View of Brentford Match. “I Want Martin O’Neill To Prove Me Wrong”
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Sean Hockett (@G_T_Spectaclesfrom Bandy And Shinty fanzine gives Billy Grant the lowdown on Forest’s Season so far

Forest have been on a manager merry-go round the last few years. 16 managers in 8 years. You’re due a new manager soon. 

Well, this particular Forest fan is expecting another change come January 2020. It’s an annual event that you could set the date on your watch by.

We haven’t had a manager for a full season since Billy Davies in the 2010/11 season.

Sacking Warburton was a gut punch, as was Karanka walking. Our club may be far better run by our current owner – Evangelos Marinakis (owner of Olympiacos) – than the previous incumbent, but the club still seems to feel that a constant manager churn is the way forward.

Being out of the Premier League since 1999 will tell a different story. It hasn’t worked and it’s tiring.

I think the consternation post-Karanka walking is more to do with the exasperation of zero continuity rather than the actual manager. The subsequent underwhelming response to Martin O’Neill is a part of that also. It’s not necessarily the man. It’s the change.


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We were assured that Warburton was our man. Backed with money. Buying younger players. Utilising the Academy. All the sorts of things a lot of Forest fans want to see.

The persistence in playing from the back – sometimes to the detriment of the confidence of the goalkeeper and centre backs in particular – frustrated some. But we had a plan.

It wasn’t all rosy of course. Playing Brereton on the wing was something the fans couldn’t understand and the idea there “was no Plan B” when things were going wrong was also pointed to.

But Warburton did just as well points-wise as Karanka. And he was the best possible manager we could have hoped for at the time.

A very good appointment as far as I’m concerned.

Karanka was the anti-Warbs so-to-speak. Throw out the youth policy. Buy experienced (read older) professionals who had been there before. Backed with a lot of money and clearly given the remit of needing to make the play-offs at the very least.

But the club got cold feet.

They made life difficult for reasons known only to them and so Karanka walked.

It’s all very disappointing.

Martin O’Neill has returned to Forest like the prodigal son. Bringing with him his right hand man Roy Keane. Are you happy with the appointment?

You can point to him being out of the day-to-day management of a club for some time.

You can point to him having not managed at this level since 1996.

I wasn’t happy with the appointment of Karanka and was turned around pretty quickly by what he did within the first few weeks.

I’m not happy with the appointment of Martin O’Neill for the reasons I’ve mentioned. But I’ll support him and I’ll support the team.

I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say I was wrong.

I bloody hope I am.

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I like that Roy Keane has come along for the ride. I don’t buy into the nostalgia bullsh!t that surrounds appointments like these. Keane has more recent experience of working at this level and he clearly has a good working relationship with O’Neill.

So let’s see what they can do for a club they (hopefully) love – because Forest and its fans were good for both of them.

Saying that, we had a great feel-good factor for Karanka and a real sense that this was the season to push for the play-offs or even automatic promotion.

The appointment of a European Cup winning former player as our new manager has seen those gates continue to swell, But if the football (and the results) continue in its current vein, that may not last much longer.

Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. But the lustre may dull.

Like I’ve said already, I bloody hope not.

You have well equipped army- having bought Carvalho (£13.5m), Grabban (£6m). Soudani (£2.7m). Figueirdo (£2m).  Hefele (300k). A load of free transfers including Michael Dawson (Hull) and Jack Robinson (QPR). Yet you don’t seem to be firing on all cylinders. What has gone wrong this season?

Well, Hefele seems to be out for the season and we won’t see Dawson until March if we’re lucky. Figueirdo has a dead leg, but it’s clearly a very bad one as we haven’t seen him for a fair number of weeks also.

The Dawson/Figs axis was working well for us; ripped asunder by injury. And I think that precipitated our decline in form somewhat.

Soudani pops up from time-to-time of social media saying how he working hard to get back to fitness. Please don’t ask me what the injury is. I have no clue.

He was a bit-part player until picking up a knock. But in fairness to him he looked bright when he was used. I think Karanka knew he needed to get up to speed with the English game, but once again injury put paid to that.

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Robinson has been generally good for us since his arrival. The best (only) left back we have, but quality none-the-less. He had an outstanding game at Elland Road and will give you at least a 7/10 every game.

Carvalho is a different player. I don’t think there’s anyone else with his footballing brain in the squad (shout out to Benny Osborn for being a close second). He had started gaining an understanding with Grabban but neither Grabban nor he seem to figure in O’Neill’s plans at the moment.

I think this does coincide with a dip in form for both players. But there are only so many games we can start with Murphy up top before something has to give.

Grabban is our top scorer and Carvalho has the most assists for the club.

Go figure…

Brentford have a good record against Forest – having lost only once in nine games – and a tremendous record at The City Ground – having last lost there in 2007 (don’t want to jinx it). Do you have a positive feeling about this game? Give a score prediction

I’m sorry to say no I don’t.

We played well against Wigan but we should have. They’ve only won one game away from home (So have we … but don’t tell anyone – Ed). The performances against Bristol City at home and Birmingham away were a far cry from what we’ve seen this season.

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We’re struggling for form right now. We have no momentum and a visit from The Bees has come at precisely the wrong time (for us)

But hey, QPR had never won at the City Ground until this season. So maybe these sorts of runs are due to change. Maybe it’s our turn to win.

I’ll go with 2-2.

I’ll be happy with that.

Sean Hockett






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About The Author

BillytheBee Grant

Following Brentford for 30 years plus now .. write .. blog .. videoblog .. podcast ... photograph .. sleep .. Brentford .. am known to attend the occasional England match too (12 tournaments now) so am hardened to failure ... On the board and national council of the Football Supporters Federation. ... organised husky dog racing for a living back in the day ... as you do .. You don't wanna go up!!

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