After a wait of almost five months, Nottingham Forest have finally appointed a new full-time manager at the City Ground. Adding to the long list of new championship managers this summer, Philippe Montanier has signed a two-year deal at Forest succeeding former interim manager Paul Williams.
Montanier is a surprise addition to the East Midlands club as it was heavily rumoured over this past month that Neil Warnock or even Ryan Giggs, both of which prominent names in English football, may be the ones to lead Forest forward. Instead, Nottingham Forest Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi opted to have every reds fan searching the internet to find out just who is Philippe Montanier?
Montanier made over 300 appearances in France as a goalkeeper for the likes of Toulouse, Nantes and Saint-Etienne. In 2003 at just 37 years of age, Montanier was appointed to his first managerial job at French side Boulogne where he would go on in 2004 to guide them into to the top flight of French football for the first time in the club’s history.
This achievement propelled the now 51-year-old into the French managerial spectrum where he went on to spend a short stint at Valenciennes before moving on to Real Sociedad in Spain. At Sociedad, Montanier would again achieve an impressive feat by getting Real into the Champions League by finishing fourth in La Liga, in 2011. This then led Montanier back to France in 2013 to Rennes where he again achieved success by reaching the Coupe de France 2014.
In just over a decade of management Philippe Montanier has achieved some football stripes in France and Spain, but is he the right man to stem the Nottingham Forest decline?
In recent years, Nottingham Forest have been in a steady but consistent downward spiral down the Sky Bet Championship. After tempting the thought of Premier League football by finishing in playoff positions under Billy Davies in the 09/10 and 10/11 championship seasons, Forest have become a pretty irrelevant team in the Championship.
This can be illustrated by their league standings over the past four seasons. Forest have fallen at least two positions each year in the league standings since the 12/13 season, leading them to 16th in the league last season and nervously looking over their shoulders.
Many are quick to point the finger at controversial Chairman and part shareholder Fawaz Al-Hasawi for his lack of faith or patience shown to some managers such as Dougie Freeman and his inability to attract blockbuster names to such a historically relevant club. There has been speculation recently throughout the club that the Fawaz era is starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It had been reported back in May by the Mirror that Greek investors were rumoured to be interested in a financial takeover at Forest, but these are only rumours, and the facts are, at this point Fawaz is still the chairman and thus is responsible for this appointment. With that being said, in my view, this appointment is another example of Forests failings under the Fawaz era.
Philippe Montanier may very well be a highly acclaimed player and manager in French football, but this is the first impact he has ever had on the English game. When you consider the list of established managers in the English game, this appears another bad bit of business once more from Fawaz.
Neil Warnock guided Rotherham United from the obis to the hill of safety last season and has been successful at the likes of, Crystal Palace, QPR and Sheffield United in recent memory. Neil Warnock is a man that knows the Sky Bet Championship, Neil Warnock is a man that for some reason rejected Fawaz or Fawaz rejected him.
Uwe Rosler is a man that was unfairly sacked by Leeds United, a man that guided Wigan into the playoffs in recent memory, a man that knows how to defeat arch rivals Derby County, Uwe Rosler is a man that was never linked with Forest. The list of available managers that know the English game goes on from the likes of Tim Sherwood, Nigel Adkins, Paul Lambert, Malky Mackay, Harry Redknapp, Ryan Giggs, Ian Holloway, Roberto Martinez, Brian McDermott, or one could even make an argument for the son of club legend Sir Brian Clough, Nigel, to be tempted from Forests opening day opponents Burton Albion. However, instead of many of these safer bet options, Forest have opted to gamble on an inexperienced (in English football terms) French national to stop the slide.
The SkyBet Championship looks set to be one of the toughest in years this coming season. Aston Villa and Newcastle United are backed by many to return immediately to the top flight. Many also look to Derby County to again have a say at the top of the table.
Some also argue that if Celino stays out of the footballing affairs at Elland Road, Leeds United may also be a dark horse for the coming season. What do all of these teams have in common? They have all appointed proven managers in English football, in particular, Derby County with Nigel Pearson. Forest have however opted for a different route and one that appears risky at best.
It is difficult to fully assess how successful Montanier will be at the City Ground, but it is undoubtedly a bold move by the club when you consider the other proven managerial names that were out there. Only time will tell but if the recent past has taught us anything about Nottingham Forest under the Fawaz era, results will have to come quick and fast in a competitive Championship league or Montanier may be forgotten as quickly as he is discovered.
Featured Image – All Rights Reserved by Michael Hulf.
As Tim Erlandsson joins Salford City on loan is his Nottingham Forest career over?
The Swedish stopper is out of contract at Nottingham Forest this summer.
Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Tim Erlandsson has found himself heading out on loan once again this week.
It has been confirmed that the Swedish stopper has made a move to join the Northern League side, famous for being part-owned by several former Manchester United players.
He arrives as the club’s current number one is heading away on international duty with New Zealand. Max Crocombe will be unavailable for two matches this month and Erlandsson will provide cover.
But does the Swede have a chance of making it at Forest in the long-run?
The 21-year-old joined Forest in 2014 from Halmstads in his homeland. The Swedish under-21 international looked a hot prospect when he arrived at the City Ground. However, it is looking increasingly likely that he will not be making it at Forest.
This season he spent time on loan at Swedish side AFC Eskilstuna. The newly promoted Allsvenskan side did not thrive in his command. They finished bottom of the Swedish league, conceding a grand total of 55 goals in 30 games.
For Erlandsson it was a brutal learning curve.
Now he is back at Forest but finds himself in a long queue of goalkeepers. Jordan Smith started the season as the club’s number one.
Forest, however, snapped up both Costel Pantilimon and Stefanos Kapino in January. If Pantilimon’s deal is made permanent in the summer, it would leave Erlandsson way down the pecking order at the City Ground.
With his contract expiring in the summer the Swedish star will not be short of offers come July. As an under-21 international, who also attended the Olympics with Sweden in the summer, his name will be on the radar for plenty of interested parties.
The move to Salford City may be the last big news regarding Erlandsson whilst he is still a Nottingham Forest owned player.
Nottingham Forest must trim the fat to move on this summer
Nottingham Forest must move on their older players this summer.
Nottingham Forest appear to be safe in the Championship but once again it has been a season mostly defined by mediocrity. Aitor Karanka replaced Mark Warburton earlier in the campaign but dramatic change has not happened.
Whilst Nottingham Forest are seemingly pleased with the changes made under Karanka, this summer an overhaul is needed.
One way Nottingham Forest should start this change is to trim the dead weight from the club.
This summer the likes of Danny Fox, David Vaughan, Chris Cohen and Jack Hobbs are all out of contract at the City Ground.
These four players should also be joined by two others.
Michael Mancienne and Eric Lichaj are players who define the mid-table Nottingham Forest side who have failed to achieve over the past five years.
Lichaj and Fox are currently both still regulars in the first-team set-up, while Vaughan has barely place since the turn of the year.
Nottingham Forest need to start building from scratch and this summer they should be allowed to leave.
Just like Cohen and Hobbs, the three players in question linger around at Nottingham Forest, like ghosts of an unwanted past tainted by failure and misadventure.
Cohen and Hobbs, whose injury records have defined their recent careers, will not be missed on the pitch.
If Nottingham Forest are to escape the shackles of their mediocre past they need to do so from afresh.
Most of these six players are still more than capable of doing a job at Nottingham Forest. It is not necessarily a decision based on footballing talent, but it is a signifier.
Forest are moving on to something new and to do so, the past has to be left in the past.
Getting rid of this sextet of players would be the first step toward building a brighter Nottingham Forest under Karanka’s guidance.
Nottingham Forest must do whatever necessary to secure Tobias Figueiredo stay
The Portuguese talent has been superb since completing a loan move to the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest completed an interesting signing in January, with the recruitment of Portuguese defender Tobias Figueiredo from Sporting Lisbon. The 24-year-old, who featured for Portugal at the Olympics last summer, is obviously talented.
But could he cut it in the physical world of Championship football?
So far the answer is a resounding yes.
Figueiredo has been in fine form for Nottingham Forest lately. The Portugal star played a pivotal role in Aitor Karanka’s men keeping clean sheets against Derby County and Norwich in their last two outings.
Now, it is being reported that Nottingham Forest have a deal in place to sign Figueiredo permanently. According to A Bola the defender cost Forest a loan fee of €200,000 (£177,000) in January. The deal which saw him join Nottingham Forest also included a buying clause of €2.3 million (£2 million). A Bola now reports that the clause is a mandatory one, should Figueiredo play a certain amount of games for Forest this season.
The report does not disclose how many games it is the 24-year-old needs to play for Nottingham Forest’s obligation to be activated. It is safe to assume the number is likely to be a round figure. Usually such agreements involve 10 or 15 games being played before a deal becomes permanent in the summer.
So far Figueiredo has played just six times for Nottingham Forest. Based on the evidence of those displays Forest must hope that he reaches the amount necessary to earn the permanent move.
At just £2 million the Portuguese defender looks an absolute steal based on his current form. First of all he is versatile, capable at both centre-back and left-back. At just 24-years-old Figueiredo could easily become the long-term centre-back partner for homegrown defender Joe Worrall.
Nottingham Forest and Karanka must ensure they do what is necessary to tie down Figueiredo to a long-term stay at the City Ground. If they do not, then plenty of other Championship teams will be sniffing around to punish their mistake.
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