“Everyone makes mistakes. That’s why pencils have erasers.”
No, not the words of a philosopher, but words spoken by Lenny from The Simpsons. It’s a quote that’s easily attributable to Nottingham Forest as well, with the hope the club isn’t stupid enough to make the same mistake twice.
It’s been over four years since Forest hired Sean O’Driscoll – a manager who had keen ideas to instil a philosophy on Trentside, which we all knew would take time. Granted, there were several suicidal tactical decisions which ultimately sealed his fate, but he was halted from fulfilling a plan that looked like it could have worked in time.
The beauty of hindsight has told us that given his spells at Bristol City and Walsall, things would have probably gone pear-shaped sooner rather than later – indeed hindsight has also allowed me to form the opinion that it certainly would have done – but even if they had, a plan for the incoming manager would have been there to follow.
Instead, Forest hired several managers with short-term intentions – and indeed a short-term remit – but ultimately no long-term plan. A new manager (there have been several) would have to essentially start from scratch.
And here we are four years later, back at square one, almost in a time warp as the club have hired a manager by the name of Philippe Montanier, who wants to instil a long-term philosophy that will take time. A man with international pedigree in two of Europe’s top leagues who will need time, but whether he gets that is another story.
There are many issues with Forest – the appalling current excuse of ownership (set to change, but more on that when things are set in stone and officially announced) making up the majority of the iceberg that ship NFFC always seems to hit, but that’s not all.
Several ice shards however are made up by over-expectant fans. Yes, the club has a rich, proud history that will always remain – no-one can ever take that away from Forest. But by no means mistake that for a guaranteed place in the league above.
Already fans are claiming that Montanier won’t work out, that his new signings aren’t good enough, that current players with huge potential won’t cut it.
It’s like watching a group of people restart the match on Football Manager when you lose, only they’re trying to apply it to real life and hit the reset button every time Forest falter.
Players will take time to gel. Young talents will be inconsistent, as is expected at such a young age, but they do produce quality. Montanier’s tactics will take time to fully bed in, but you can already see huge signs of improvement. And as for the new signings – every single one has shown signs of promise and individual quality.
It took Sheffield Wednesday two months to hit their stride under Carlos Carvahal last season – it’s taken Fulham nine months to get going under Slavisa Jokanovic.
These things take time, but they’re worth the wait, and I’ve seen enough from Montanier’s Forest so far to see that we’re genuinely onto something here… If he’s given time!