As is the case with anyone, if you lie enough times, people will clock onto it and realise.
For Nottingham Forest owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi, the day people realised he was nothing but a liar who doesn’t care for the club’s long-term interests was yesterday at around 4:30pm, when it was revealed by journalists that no more deadline day incomings would happen.
Now, on the outset this might not sound so bad at all. However, the story runs a lot deeper.
On August 10, Fawaz told the local press that if an offer for one of Forest’s key players would negatively affect the club, they wouldn’t be sold.
On August 28, a day after telling manager Philippe Montanier that he wouldn’t be sold, Fawaz sells the best Forest academy prospect this century in Oliver Burke to Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig for a £13m fee.
To highlight how good 19-year-old Burke is, the day before being sold behind the backs of the manager, director of football and prospective new owners – all of whom were against the sale – he had scored his fourth league goal of the season from the wing and had shown Forest that recent England call-up Michail Antonio didn’t need to be replaced, as we could simply play to Burke’s strengths instead.
The term ‘wonderkid’ doesn’t do Burke justice. This kid will go very far, to the point where he could even stretch beyond playing for an English top four team and maybe break into Europe’s elite.
Burke had been at Forest since he was eight, and in a statement to the fans after being sold, indicated that he was more than happy to remain at The City Ground.
Thirteen million pounds for a player of that calibre and potential is peanuts. He will go for £50m or more one day. And to make matters better, Fawaz failed to negotiate a sell-on clause, so when Burke is inevitably sold to a European giant, Forest will receive £0!
It gets better, though. Fawaz then said that, much like the Jamaal Lascelles/Karl Darlow sales (also behind the manager’s back), the money from Burke would be reinvested in the squad. Indeed Forest got a lump sum of £13m for Burke, all up front.
Deadline day comes, and £300k of that is spent. This is otherwise known as asset stripping. To make things better, Fawaz had openly said that we would be looking to bring in an attacking player who would make Forest a “top six side”.
The only forward classed as a striker we brought in was Nicolao Dumitru, who has scored a grand total of 21 goals in his eight-year career.
Please note this isn’t to kick Dumitru into the gutter before he’s kicked a ball, and the fact that Montanier and director of football Pedro Pereira worked together to bring him in gives me hope, but no-one can deny that it is all rather underwhelming.
Fawaz’s actions in the last few days are replicant of the iceberg that sunk the Titanic. Whereas before there were some fans defending him, now there are none. His mentions on Twitter are filled with hatred and fans demanding he leave, and franky, I can’t blame the ones angry enough to do so. We as fans have been lied to one time too many.
The appalling way the Burke transfer happened sealed his fate amongst supporters, but could also have further implications. The takeover is now apparently in jeopardy as the Greeks interested in buying the club didn’t want Burke sold, only for Fawaz to completely disobey their wishes.
It’s little wonder the last CEO to work with Fawaz resigned as he felt he was being undermined. We were also promised another one, but clearly no CEO worth his salt is willing to work with him.
The egotistical Kuwaiti Dictator has simply gone too far now. He already made the club a laughing stock before this, with stories of unpaid bills, yet more lies to fans and first-team meddling, but this is leaping over the line in the sand.
We are not a train set for a rich man. We deserve better. All we want from an owner is honesty, someone who won’t interfere with first-team affairs, and someone who cares about the club’s future – short-term and long.
Fawaz can’t offer any of that, as his selfish needs require him to steal the limelight, no matter how bad the ramifications are for Forest.
The protests are inevitable, as are the banners at matches. Enough is enough. Arguably the worst period in the club’s history – yes, debatably even worse than relegations, Yeovil and the Platt era – needs to come to an end, and fast.
Fawaz gets no sympathy from me. He’s not just killing my club, but the club of thousands and thousands more.
Bottom line – he needs to go!