14 June ~ The departure of Billy Davies from Nottingham Forest earlier this week was not a great surprise to watchers of the club. His relationship with the board had been tempestuous with his constant claims of a lack of financial backing and a need for greater freedom in the transfer market, despite owner Nigel Doughty putting £25 million into Forest in the last two years. Davies had an indisputable impact at Forest during his tenure re-establishing the club at the top end of England's second tier following a decade-long slide that was finally arrested in League One by his predecessor Colin Calderwood.

Despite this, his relationships at board level always seemed shaky and many fans found his confrontational style and some of his more "professional" tactics difficult to accept. Reports that he turned down opportunities to sign Scott Sinclair and Henri Lansbury because he felt his squad was already too young also cast doubt over his ability to develop for the future, at a time when Forest are keen to capitalise on a promising crop of academy players.

The trigger for his swift removal on Sunday, though, was the availability of Steve McClaren, a man with substantial experience of top-flight management in England and abroad, but with a reputation that remains tarnished by his international record. Indeed, without the spectre of England's failure to qualify for Euro 2008 it is unimaginable that Forest could attract a manager with such a high profile and record of achievement.

McClaren was being considered for the vacant Aston Villa post until their fans made it clear they did not want him and this encouraged Forest to move quickly to secure their man. While some Forest fans have been quick to write McClaren off, much of the football world seems to have been impressed that the club have managed to secure such a well-respected manager. FC Twente reportedly offered a much more lucrative deal to try to entice their former manager back but McClaren is keen to re-establish himself at home and sees Forest as a good opportunity to do that in more manageable steps than with an established Premier League side.

It seems like an ideal match, McClaren has a reputation for bringing through young players and Forest are keen to revamp an academy that has been neglected under the buying focus of Davies. Forest are also a club that McClaren will feel have the potential to step up to a higher level, especially with the continued backing of a benevolent chairman. Stephen Wright

Comments (7)
Comment by caleyi 2011-06-14 12:07:45

McClaren is undoubtedly unfortunate to have a poor reputation as a result of his England players playing like, well like they always seem to do for England. He also came up against a Croatia side who were both good and motivated - unlike our opponents in nearly every other qualification campaign since USA94. He was excellent at Twente and hamstrung by a Wolfsburg team on the slide with players obsessed with themselves not the team, and a Board unwilling to support him turn this round.
He was (until Mogga came home)the only Boro Manager appointed by Steve Gibson who had even read a tactics manual, and was able to change his side to meet the demands of the game as it unfolded before him - a very underrated skill. He's the only Boro Manager to have ever won anything, and he got us into Europe twice, indeed got us to the UEFA Cup Final via some of the best comeback games ever witnessed in the sport. He is also a very nice bloke who loves the game and thinks very deeply about it.
Having said all that, his Boro sides played awful safety-first football most of the time, despite fielding very good players such as Southgate, Downing, Yakubu, Hasselbaink, Viduka, Mendieta et al, alienating huge numbers of supporters many of whom haven't gone back yet. I hope he doesn't do this to Forest!

Comment by mistrollingin 2011-06-14 13:18:09

Thanks for your comments. The Independent is running a piece by Sam Wallace that suggests that with experience McClaren has developed his tactics to be more attacking, specifically referencing Norwich and Swansea as inspiration for his ambitions for Forest's playing style. Both of those clubs are entertaining and attack minded as well as successful, so hopefully this will be borne out at the City Ground.

Comment by Adam Wilson 2011-06-14 15:22:09

It is interesting that Forest have sacked a manager who has produced our 2 best finishes for 11 years - clearly not good enough, producing extra pressure on a manager that obviously has a lot to prove in England. Perception obviously can matter more than facts - Croatia may have been good, but that brolly has been a more obvious problem. He did well at Boro but his media grin and dull football obviously matters more. The fear is that he does, as the author suggests, see Forest as a "stepping stone". The last Forest manager to do that was David Platt.

Comment by mistrollingin 2011-06-14 15:33:44

I wasn't suggesting a stepping stone but rather that Forest have the potential to grow with McClaren's hopefully rehabilitated reputation, at least for a while yet.
As for the achievements of Billy Davies these are undeniable. but some will think he has peaked, especially with his unhealthy relationship with the board and the looming expiry of his contract, which would be a huge distraction.

Comment by jameswba 2011-06-14 17:36:11

I think it was on this site that someone once commented along the lines that few have paid a higher price for sheltering under an umbrella in the rain than Steve McClaren.

I wish him and Forest well, partly because Forest are a club I'd like to see take that next step, partly because, as with Bobby Robson and Graham Taylor, no'one deserves to undergo the ridicule McClaren has been subjected to.

Just a theory on Billy Davies's time with you ; would you say the 3-1 win at the Hawthorns in Jan last year (when Forest played simply fantastic football and blew Albion away) was as good as it got/was going to get? Strange anyway how Albion just got better after that, never really looking back until 10 months later, whereas Forest went into a tailspin and, from a distance at least, were never so impressive again, including last season.

Comment by UncleTupelo 2011-06-14 20:00:50

Re: JamesWBA

That WBA was easily the best I've seen Forest play for the past few seasons. I'm not sure what clicked, but they definitely played a slick confident attacking game. The key word there is "confidence", something our team always seems to severely lack. No confidence and no killer edge, but they looked really hungry in that particular game.

Another reason that game went so well was because the Polish midfielder Raddy Majewski was on fire that game, acting as the creative spark in the midfield and scoring that beautiful volley. He's the most technically gifted midfielder I've seen at Forest since Lars Bohinen, but he really struggled this season and fell out of favour with Billy Davies after his red card against QPR (he was a ticking timebomb up till then with his continual reckless tackling). I'm hoping McClaren can coax out the best of him.

Comment by Dalef65 2011-06-16 17:37:36

Villas loss will be Forests gain by the looks of it.....

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