The travels of Phil no. 27: Blackpool & some thoughts on Forest

As I suggested a few days ago, I have decided to write about the play-off semi-final second leg against Blackpool. However, I’m not as interested in writing about the match itself as I am in writing about my personal feelings regarding the whole situation. 

When Forest originally qualified for the play-offs, I booked the week off work and also persuaded my better half to invest in a Forest Membership so that we could buy tickets before they all went on general sale and guarantee ourselves a seat at the game. I was very eager, not to say desperate, to go. With Forest trailing 2-1 from the first leg three days before, it should have been a tense and exciting night. However, despite this, I can honestly say that at no point was I nervous. I can’t say for definite why, but I can make a few guesses at what was perhaps going on in my subconscious.
Throughout the season, Billy Davies had insisted that Forest weren’t ready for promotion. As the season wore on and the points piled up, this looked like mind-games as Billy attempted to relieve the pressure on his young squad. In the end, he was proved right. I think that I agreed with him, to an extent, and that while the massive increase in income would have benefitted the club, I think I was slightly dreading the year of misery that I felt would almost certainly ensue should Forest win the play-offs and make it to the Premiership. Even if Forest had achieved promotion and then managed to stay up, I don’t think I would have enjoyed supporting them as much as I have over the last three or four seasons. 
I think the reason behind this is that I don’t want promotion at any price, unconditionally. When Forest were relegated to League One back in 2005 the club was in something of a mess. One of the things that those in charge decided to focus on was rebuilding the club’s identity, and as they described it,  "putting the ‘Nottingham’ back into Nottingham Forest". This policy involved the recruitment of young, English or British players, preferably born in Nottingham or the local area, and led to the acquisition of players like Kelvin Wilson, Julian Bennett, Will Hoskins (for a rather unsuccessful loan spell) and more recently David McGoldrick, along with the less local Luke Chambers, Nathan Tyson, Joe Garner, Chris Cohen, Chris Gunter, Lee Camp, Dexter Blackstock… in fact, pretty much every member of the squad bar Guy Moussi and Radi Majewski, though these two still tick the ‘young’ and ‘talented’ boxes. 
My fear is that, despite the chairman’s insistence that whatever had happened last night, and whatever had happened at Wembley had Forest beaten Blackpool, this policy might have been abandoned, at least partially, in the name of Premiership survival. I have no wish to sound xenophobic, but I would hate to see the club undo all the hard work out in over the last four or five years by padding the squad with cheap and mediocre foreign imports. 
Finally, I don’t want to see the club I love turn into a side like Bolton. What enjoyment can there possibly be in supporting a team who, every summer, spend around £8m just to tread water? Where is the fun in watching your team win only a quarter of their matches every season, and lose more than they win? If Forest were to be promoted, I would want the impossible: an assurance that they would eventually be challenging for the title, even if it took ten or fifteen years. The idea that 12th place is all the club could ever aim for without selling its soul to some faceless Arabian/Asian/American billionaire would be enough to break my heart. 
In the face of all that, another season in the Championship, another season which should (fingers crossed) involve Forest competing at the upper end of the table, isn’t such a bad thing.

One thought on “The travels of Phil no. 27: Blackpool & some thoughts on Forest

  1. Firstly, I’m sorry the club hasn’t played to its best and I hope you aren’t too disappointed in the result. I know you will concentrate on how far they have come this season, and I’m sure they will work just as hard next season.I was having a read back through your predictions at the beginning of the season and I found it quite interesting how some things you got spot on and others were totally different!! I’d like to share these findings with you!:Spot on!:You correctly identified the impact Camp and McKenna would have on the team from being signed this year.I was surprised that Camp and Billy were rumoured to not get on, but as they both seem headstrong men and Campy was probably upset thinking he may not get a signing, I can understand. What an impact he has had on the season! I hope his err in the playoffs hasn’t damaged your opinion of his abilities too much.You also had a feeling Cardiff would aim for promotion, and to be honest I hope they make it.Not just because of bitterness against Blackpool, but more from the feeling that they finished higher in the table, and to be honest (not just because Forest lost out in the playoffs), but I honestly believe the playoff system is unfair.I know you say it is to keep interest in the slightly lower down teams, but for the sake of 9 points or so, I guess it isn’t much, but it’s the principle that a team that has played consistently well all season can be shoved aside by a team that was pretty lucky to even get into the playoffs. I just don’t think it should be all about the moment, more about the whole season. Anything can happen in a couple of games as we have seen, and this isn’t necessarily a fair representation of the season as pressure gets to the players.Sheffield Utd and Bristol City were not far off the playoffs where you predicted they could end up, although Preston were less successful! You also were correct in predicting West Brom would be promoted!Dele and Gareth McCleary have not played such a big part in the season as you thought they might.Why was Dele free?! Bless himI was shocked at how much David McGoldrick cost too! Is Forest getting their money’s worth?…You also indicated Newcastle might struggle this season, and that turned out to be untrue, but overall a pretty fair assessment of the team and its situation. In particular, I quote the following from your blog (nuff said):’I honestly feel that Forest could well make the play-offs this season.'(I also found another quote about Billy planning to aim for playoffs but lost it again!)I would be interested in hearing a season end review of all the players, and look forward to the new season already!xxx

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