1. Lee Camp 9/10 PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Lee Camp’s season needs no greater discussion than to point out that playing in a side that played attractive, attacking football he won the player of the season award. 20 clean sheets in 45 league games gives some indication of the level of performance he managed to sustain throughout the season.
2. James Perch 5/10
Perch missed the first half of the season with shin splints, and was in and out of the side when he was fit. He played in either full-back position, and wasn’t able to sustain a consistently good level either at right- or left-back. Some high-profile errors in both legs of the play-off semi-finals might spell the end of his career at Forest.
3. Nicky Shorey (loan) 7.5/10
It is no surprise that Forest’s best form in the whole season coincided with Shorey’s all-to-brief loan spell. He gave the defence – already a strong unit – greater balance and solidity, and even provided two assists. Many fans feel that had he stayed for the rest of the season, Forest may well have earned automatic promotion.
4. Luke Chambers 6.5/10
Chambers started the season badly, earning himself a red card on the opening day, but came back and did a very good job as a back-up squad member, scoring four goals in the process, with Forest going on to win each of the four matches in which he found the net. Unfortunately for him, Kelvin Wilson’s excellent form kept him on the bench for most of the second half of the season.
5. Wes Morgan 7.5/10
Another solid season from Big Wes, forming a rock-solid partership with Kelvin Wilson and proving any doubters wrong with his whole-hearted approach to defending. This was also his best season in front of goal, with the best of his three goals a 25-yard strike against Crystal Palace.
6. Kelvin Wilson 7.5/10
After last season there were many who thought Wilson had been exposed as nowhere near as good as he thought he was. How wrong they were. He has proved the perfect foil to Wes Morgan at the heart of Forest’s defence and cemented himself as a first-team regular, despite missing the first couple of months of the season with injury.
7. Paul Anderson 7/10
Anderson has enjoyed a good season, with a much more end product than last year. He even seems more able to stay on his feet this time around! His pace has proved a valuable asset, and that, combined with his willingness to run with the ball has become a key part of Forest’s success on the counter-attack.
8. Lewis McGugan 5/10
Lewis McGugan probably wishes November and December had lasted all season. He scored all four of his league goals in those two months and seemed to be establishing himself as an important part of the squad if not necessarily a first-team regular. However, quiet or poor performances when given the chance to start a game, particularly during the long run of consecutive away defeats, have called into question how much of a part he can play in a promotion-chasing side next season. Personally, I think the club would be foolish to sell him, but unfortunately, I think he has put himself in a position where a good offer might well see him on his way.
9. Dele Adebola 5/10
Dele was brought in for a specific purpose – as a battering ram when things weren’t going entirely to plan, or when the team needed more physical presence up front – and has performed that role with a certain amount of success. Unfortunately for him, a handful of glaring misses have detracted from his impact this year. His advancing years also mean he will probably be quietly phased out over the course of 2010/2011.
10. Robbie Earnshaw 8/10
The season didn’t start well for Robbie; he missed a penalty in the home defeat to West Brom, and started a lot of games on the bench before finally establishing himself around the end of November. After that, the goals flowed, and he finished as the club’s top goalscorer with 17 again.
11. Nathan Tyson 5/10
In some ways, the statistics say it all. Thirty-nine appearances in all competitions, and only two goals. In his defence, Tyson has spent most of the season playing on the left wing rather than up front, but those who see this as an excuse for his inconsistent and frustrating performances should bear in mind that he started his career at Reading as a left-winger. In my opinion – despite earning himself a place in the hearts of Forest fans everywhere with the winner against Derby back in August, and following that with some highly amusing but ill-judged flag-waving after the final whistle – Tyson has shown himself to be out of his depth at a club aiming for the Premiership. I think he has finally been exposed as someone with only one real attribute – pace – and not a lot else to threaten the opposition with. If I were in charge and a reasonable bid arrived from elsewhere, I would gladly accept and spend the money on a more talented replacement. This sounds harsher than I mean it to be, but I don’t think anyone could really argue with my assessment.
12. Garath McCleary 4/10
A disappointing season, especially given that he only made one start in the league – against Doncaster in December – though he did get plenty of opportunities from the bench. He’s still young and learning, but I’m sure he hoped to make more progress this season.
14. Joe Garner 4/10
Another who will be unhappy with the way the season turned out. He started the season in the first XI, but was played out of position on the right of midfield, and seemed to vent his frustration on the opposition, earning five bookings in his first seven appearances and therefore earning himself a very early suspension. After that, he faded from the first team, and in fact didn’t make the matchday squad between the 28th of November and the 9th of February except for a brief substitute appearance in the FA Cup replay against Birmingham. Two goals in the last three games put a gloss on the season, but after making a moderate success of his first year, this won’t have been what he wanted. Perhaps 2010/2011 will see him get more opportunities.
15. Chris Cohen 8/10
Another fantastic season from Cohen. He started off as Forest’s fill-in left-back, and nearly made the position his own. Then, with the signing of Nicky Shorey, he moved back into midfield, but was played wide on the right, and still impressed. When moved into his preferred central role he maintained his good form, and a stunning goal against Blackpool in the play-offs did his reputation no harm at all. A really valuable asset to the club, and possibly the most important player in the squad.
16. Chris Gunter 7/10
Chris Gunter had a very good first full season as a Forest player. He scored his first senior goal (and the winner) against Plymouth Argyle live on Sky, and would have played every minute of every league game if Billy Davies hadn’t rested him for the final two away games once play-off status had been secured. He secured himself a place in the PFA Championship Team Of The Year and enhanced his reputation as one of the best full-backs outside the Premier League.
17. David McGoldrick 5/10
McGoldrick’s season was very like Garner’s only slightly better. He started the season in the first team, and seemed a key part of the side which went unbeaten away from home for so long. However, Robbie Earnshaw’s return to form restricted his chances, and he had to settle for a place on the bench for most of the second half of the season. Given that he cost more than Blackstock and Camp, he has looked, on paper, like an expensive mistake, but his goals secured some vital points, and he is still one for the future even if his immediate impact wasn’t as great as many hoped.
18. Paul McKenna 7.5/10
McKenna’s impact is difficult to judge, but the general consensus of opinion is that it was somewhere between great and enormous. He gave the midfield a touch of steel and used his experience to marshall his younger colleagues. His injury against Swansea was very unfortunate, and it is telling that he was brought back into the starting line-up for the play-offs, even if hindsight tells us it was a little premature.
19. Guy Moussi 6.5/10
Moussi’s season was once again interrupted by injury, but definite progress was made in comparison to last year. He netted his first goals for the club, earning the Reds four points in the process, and didn’t look out of place when filling in for Paul McKenna at the end of the season.
20. George Boyd 4/10
Things didn’t quite work out for George Boyd during his loan spell, and it is doubtful that Forest will make the move permanent. He was signed prior to the game against Swansea in early March, but Billy Davies seemed to claim that he wasn’t one of his first choices, which can’t have been a particularly encouraging welcome. With rumours that he was carrying an injury doing the rounds, it wasn’t a massive surprise that he only made five appearances, though he did score a very good goal in the final game of the season.
21. Paul Smith 4/10
After a season which went from bad to worse last time out, it was something of a surprise when Smith signed a new contract this season – both surprising that it had been offered, and surprising that it had been accepted. He only made one league appearance all season, but played in all three League Cup matches, and seemed to do himself no real harm. A decent back-up, but perhaps not someone who could/should be considered as genuine competition for Lee Camp.
23. Dexter Blackstock 7.5/10
Dexter finished the season as the second highest goalscorer by quite some distance. He had also forged a very good partnership with Robbie Earnshaw and was making a mockery of his (reportedly) small transfer fee. His finishing still needs a little work, and he seemed to tire towards the end of the season, only scoring once after the middle of March, but all in all a very strong season.
28. Radoslaw Majewski 8/10
‘Raddy’ was arguably the find of the season for all the clubs in the Championship, and it was no surprise when Forest made his loan move permanent for a bargain £1m. Some spectacular goals against Derby and West Brom, and more assists than any other player in the Forest squad have cemented his place in the first team and also in the hearts of Forest fans everywhere.
33. Joel Lynch 4/10
Lynch had another season disrupted by injury, and there are genuine question marks over his long-term future at the club. Even when he was fit, Billy Davies seemed to prefer James Perch or Chris Gunter at left-back, despite neither of them being left-footed as Joel Lynch is. A handful of solid performances at centre-back at the beginning of the season boded well for the season, but the return of Chambers and Wilson pushed him down the pecking order, and it wasn’t until the end of the season that he really made any impression on the first team.