With the referee’s blow of the whistle signalling the end of Nottingham Forest’s final fixture against Milton Keynes Dons, which the Reds won 2-1, relief sank in to those from a Forest perspective. Relief that the season was finally over!
In what was meant to be a celebratory year for the club on their 150th anniversary, it soon turned into a campaign of terror. As is now seemingly customary under owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi; a manager was sacked, but problems also laid elsewhere.
The fans have started to vote with their feet, the club’s second highest goalscorer this season was a centre-back, the team as a whole was the fourth most profligate in front of goal in the division and generally pack as much threat in the final third as a dead mouse fighting the Hulk.
And to top it off, the club has no manager. Happy anniversary!
However; as with every situation in life, there is always something you can learn from these things, and as it so happens, we have to try and narrow it down to three. With gallows humour now the order of the day at The City Ground, let’s see what’s what:
1) Fawaz is still clueless
Well… nothing new here; but seriously, the bloke has no clue what he is doing! With Forest’s best player being sold in Michail Antonio to West Ham United for £7m, and all new arrivals either loan signings or free transfers on £10,000 per week, plus existing game changers like Andy Reid, Matty Fryatt, Chris Cohen and Britt Assombalonga being injured for most – in some cases all – of the season, Fawaz still expected a top-six challenge.
With severe restrictions – we signed Chris O’Grady on loan [for crying out loud] – then manager Dougie Freedman could only really achieve mid-table at best, and was on course to do that, despite some perhaps uninspiring football.
However, this wasn’t enough for the Kuwaiti Dictator, who then decided to take matters into his own hands and throw the club headfirst into a relegation battle of sorts by sacking Freedman.
Eventually, and we must offer sincere thanks to Charlton Athletic and MK Dons for being so horrendously bad, Forest pulled away and finished 16th – representing a decline every year since Fawaz became the club’s owner (8th, 11th, 14th and 16th).
In short, if Forest are ever to progress, he needs to leave or take a back seat. Fast!
2) Britt Assombalonga will never stop smiling
When Britt was laying on the ground against Wigan Athletic, we all feared the worst as fans. The worst was later confirmed as it was announced he’d be out for around a year.
Despite that setback, pretty much every picture we saw of Britt was one of him smiling as he worked hard to get back to fitness, and he got his just desserts against MK Dons when he sold the keeper with a brilliant finish into the bottom corner.
The following celebrations from both players and fans alike showed just how popular the ‘Smiling Assassin’ is on Trentside, as his 15-month wait for a goal was celebrated like a title win.
3) Did we mention Fawaz is clueless? Hmm… Ok. Well, the future is looking rather bleak
With no manager in place and with it looking like very little can be spent on transfers next season without re-entering the embargo the Kuwaiti Dictator got the club in, it’s fair to say things have looked rosier at The City Ground.
Prime target Gus Poyet has now taken the Real Betis job, and with other targets like Nigel Pearson and Martin O’Neill incredibly unrealistic, it seems certain that either a foreign nobody/yes-man, who will be happy for Fawaz to interfere, will be hired, or a failure in English football like Paul Ince will get the nod.
Even the only shining light that a possible takeover is nearly done has a huge flaw; as Fawaz will still be chairman and the figurehead for the club, even with a minority stake. Next season could bring yet more doom and gloom to Trentside.
Oh well! We all have the masterpiece that is ‘I Believe in Miracles’ on DVD to console ourselves with, I guess. Plus, there’s always the Euros to look forward to…