Forest have taken just one point from their last six league games and have gone backwards every season under the ownership of Fawaz Al-Hasawi
13 January ~ Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Wigan should have been a chance for Nottingham Forest to find some form after gaining a solitary point from the last six league matches. These days Forest fans are well used to FA Cup campaigns lasting no more than 90 minutes, but almost a third of the crowd at the DW Stadium were Reds, encouraged by the prospect of playing a team whose recent form was even worse than ours.
In a match destined for the bulging folder of pitiful Forest displays of recent years, we conceded twice (as usual), while managing just two attempts on goal. And, for all the pre-match optimism, nobody was in the least surprised. We just don’t “do” cups these days, while our league position has got worse in each of Fawaz Al-Hasawi’s four-and-a-half years as owner. Meanwhile, the club have endured a series of embarrassments off the field, coupled with a lack of leadership and increasing ill-discipline (seven red cards already this season) on it.
Fans are hoping the imminent 80 per cent takeover by American John Jay Moores’ consortium will see things start to improve. Where Al-Hasawi, who will retain a 20 per cent stake, has seemed well-intentioned but out of his depth, Moores has made encouraging noises about putting the right people in key positions and letting them get on with the job in hand.
Philippe Montanier, the seventh “permanent” manager of the Al-Hasawi years, has reacted to the chaos around him with commendable dignity and sang-froid, but his days look numbered. With the ridiculous injury record of recent years showing no sign of improving, Montanier will feel he has not been able to field (or even identify) his best team. Many fans wanted to see what he could do with money to spend and a more professional structure in place, but the recent nosedive in form makes his departure look inevitable, with Gary Rowett reportedly having been approached to replace him.
On Saturday, Forest make the short trip to St Andrew’s to take on another team that know a thing or two about protracted takeovers. As chance would have it, Birmingham City recently ditched Rowett in favour of Gianfranco Zola, previously understood to be the target of Forest’s prospective owners. Blues are yet to win after five games under Zola, though Forest tend to be quite good at ending that sort of run.
Forest fans have been remarkably patient given what we have had to put up with over the last 20 years or so, but frustration is turning to anger and it won’t be easy to tempt back those who have found other ways to spend their time and money.
When Moores and co take charge we don’t expect to suddenly find ourselves supporting a club challenging for the play-offs. Right now we’d settle for a club that pay their bills on time, make prices at the City Ground better reflect the fare on offer (and give it a lick of paint), continue the great work of the academy, put a proper scouting system in place and, who knows, perhaps keep a clean sheet every now and then. Richard Harrison