Describing a football club’s season as a “rollercoaster ride” is beyond cliché. And yet, it seems somehow, to be the best – only – way of describing the last seven months of being a Nottingham Forest supporter.
I was a massive fan of Sean O’Driscoll (as my previous post on the subject probably made clear). I wasn’t a fan of Alex McLeish, and was (probably unfairly) very much against his appointment. I didn’t like his reputation for dull, unattractive football; I didn’t like the implications of his appointment (a twelve-month rolling contract doesn’t sound like a chairman thinking too far into the future) and there was a certain amount of resentment I directed towards him for the fact that he wasn’t Sean O’Driscoll. He came to be a lightning rod for all my concerns about where Forest are heading and so I wasn’t exactly upset when he decided to bring his tenure to an end less than six weeks after his appointment.
Once the dust had settled, I began to feel a pang of regret for the fact that someone who had conducted themselves with quiet dignity and integrity had felt obliged to resign so soon. His actions also succeeded in wiping the slate clean as far as Forest and I were concerned; clearly he wasn’t a shameless Al-Hasawi puppet, brought in to field their players and shield them from direct criticism as I had suspected in my more paranoid moments.
And now we have the return of Billy Davies. I can’t begin to describe how pleased I was by this appointment – I surprised myself in fact. When he was originally given the boot by Nigel Doughty in May 2011, I was a little tired of his incessant gripes about lack of investment etc. and felt that he got what he deserved having backed himself and the board into corners and left only one possible solution available.
However, his appointment has reassured me in a number of ways. Firstly, I know he’s capable of success at Forest and on a tighter budget than exists now. Secondly, I don’t think he’d return unless he felt confident that he could succeed. Thirdly, I know he won’t take any interference from the chairman (if that is the chairman’s intention). Fourth, he seems to have a genuine passion for the club and wants to be here and to be a success. Finally, the players seem to like him almost as much as the fans.
It seems like the mood at the City Ground has changed significantly within the space of a week, and with Billy taking over in a much better position than he did last time, things are really looking up.