Supporting Nottingham Forest has never been a dull experience, especially since the summer of 2012 when the Al-Hasawi family took over the club, with Fawaz at the head of it.
Since then, roughly £21m has been spent on transfer fees, five managers have been sacked, countless off the field fiascos have been reported, the club have been placed under a transfer embargo and at present, Forest seem further away now more than ever of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.
Now the stories doing the rounds are that the players have been repeatedly paid late – especially the injured ones who have had to wait over a week extra to pick up their pay packet – and that Fawaz is lining up Nigel Clough to replace Dougie Freedman should Forest’s fortunes not improve.
It speaks volumes that not only did Freedman have to field questions about pay in the first place, but that he had to deny it is farcical. Whenever a major newspaper prints a story on Forest these days, they have no reason to lie.
We are not a Premier League side, we do not have to deal with transfer rumours seemingly made up via an internet generator – we barely get in the newspaper columns nationwide anymore, so if a story comes out, especially one of such magnitude, it is highly likely to be true.
This is extremely worrying, as a highly reputable journalist who has reported on Forest well down the years – nearly always being correct and a trusted source by both BBC Nottingham and the Nottingham Post – made both claims.
If Freedman is to be sacked for Nigel Clough – a man who insisted on hoofball at Derby, then failed at Sheffield United in League One despite having the biggest budget in the league by the distance of Sheffield to Australia – then that will be the final straw for many fans, son of God or not.
No-one has claimed Freedman is Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola. Everyone thinks the team should be doing better, and a run of three wins in 21 – the same Stuart Pearce was sacked for – is highly alarming.
But to sack him for Clough would be the footballing equivalent of the Titanic – a complete disaster, and in this case, would almost certainly see the Reds drop back into League One with Clough being the iceberg that sends the ship down.
Whereas under Pearce there was no hope, and impending doom was becoming an inevitability week after week, you can see signs of progress with Freedman, and genuine bad luck.
One issue is the amount of late goals which are being conceded, especially when Forest are protecting a one-goal lead. It’s nearly always a stupid mistake of statue-eqsue defending that causes it as well, which is incredibly frustrating for us fans – let alone the manager.
This season under Freedman, Forest have created the most chances in the entire Championship. They have also been the most wasteful, hence why they are now six games without a win.
One slice of luck, one composed finish in amongst a flurry of fire aimed at the opposition goal is all that Freedman needs – especially as the club aren’t the easiest to waltz through and break down.
Take the 1-1 draw with Ipswich last Saturday – Dean Gerken had to make four saves to Dorus de Vries’ two. The score, as mentioned, was 1-1. What difference can a new manager make if the chances simply aren’t being taken?
If Forest were creating absolutely nothing, as was the case under Pearce, then I would be drastically concerned. However, that is not so, and as such – for now at least – a sacking seems pointless.
One reporter mentioned that sacking Freedman and hiring Clough though would be a brilliant ploy to take the bad news away from the back pages and replace them with another new manager – but this manager being the son of Forest legend Brian, making Fawaz the man to bring a Clough back in charge at The City Ground.
This doesn’t wash with me however, and now I think the majority fans are finally starting to take their heads out of the sand.
Players apparently being bought behind the manager’s back, bills not being paid on time, credit cards being declined, players not being paid on time, the club entering an embargo, ex-players claiming the chairman influences player selection, turning The City Ground into a managerial revolving door, the complete farce of George Boyd’s medical, manager clauses with ‘no chairman interference’ written in, the club sinking further and further down the table every year, and with attendances on average now lower than when Forest were in League One, to say the Al-Hasawi reign has been abysmal would be putting it mildly.
Sacking and hiring a new manager won’t change that, instead it will make it worse. If anyone is to leave The City Ground in a higher position, it should be Fawaz – not Freedman.