It has been a very intriguing past few months at the City Ground for a variety of reasons. Philippe Montanier is the new manager of Nottingham Forest, ending many months of speculation. Adding to the saga, the City Ground itself was ruled unfit for use last week by Nottingham City council. Reminiscent of a Sunday league side, Forest effectively, had no ground. Of course we all know they will open their championship season at the City Ground to newly promoted Burton Albion when the staffing problem is resolved but the fact that this was even allowed to happen to a club such as Forest is nothing short of embarrassing. It begs the question, what is really going on at Nottingham Forest?
Forest, historically, are one of the biggest clubs in English football. In a championship division which is now full of sleeping or underperforming giants, Forest are still up there as one of the biggest clubs in the division, perhaps top 6 in calibre. So why are they forced in to such mockery at times?
In these days of football, controversial owners are unfortunately a regularity and Fawaz is no exception. Despite all of the news over the past few months, one of the most exciting headlines for Forest fans was that of a potential financial takeover from Greek Investors. That, unfortunately for Forest, has led to nothing more than disappointment again with interest withdrawn. As a result, Forest are again left with Fawaz, a man who in his time at the City Ground seems almost incapable of making a correct decision in the best interest of the club. Forest have collapsed down the table over recent seasons and there comes a time when questions can no longer be asked of the squad, the manager, the academy, the backroom staff or even the fans but instead, questions should be asked of the owner and board. What is Fawaz trying to do?
Obviously the goal for him, for any owner/chairman in the championship is to find a way to get their side in to the promised land of the Premier League, however Fawaz has a very unorthodox way of trying to achieve this. He persists on sacking coaches and failing to attract big name coaches to such a historic club. Montanier, his latest acquisition may be a success, he may not, but he is a risk and in terms of English football is not a big name. Why is it that Forest’s biggest rivals, a club of similar stature, is able to attract one of the biggest names in Championship football in Nigel Pearson, but Fawaz can only attract someone English football has never heard of? It is unacceptable.
The latest incident at the City Ground just adds more salt to some bitter red wounds. How is it possible for a club that is in the second tier of English football, and not only that, a club which considers itself one of the biggest clubs outside of the top flight, to have its own ground closed due to safety fears over a lack of personnel? It is, at best, shambolic. Also, according to local press in Norfolk, Norwich City are interested in signing one of Forests most valuable assets up front; Britt Assombalonga. Should that happen, should Fawaz allow arguably Forests most important attacking option to go to a championship rival that, in my opinion should condemn Fawaz to a point of no return.
I fully respect the fact that whilst in a transfer embargo it is incredibly difficult to compete with the big spending clubs in the division such as Derby County and Newcastle United, but selling key players such as Assombalonga is in my view, a big mistake. Assombalonga may have spent a long period over the last seasons on the injury table but he should still be considered a key player to Forest.
After the arrival of a new manager, there should be hope, expectation and excitement surrounding a football club. However, with the on goings at Nottingham Forest over the last few weeks, many Forest fans seem more anxious than excited. The best thing to happen to Forest now, in my opinion, would be a financial takeover and a complete clean of the board room. Fawaz has lost his way, and in return has lost the support of the fans with season ticket numbers dwindling in the low teen thousands, again, unacceptable for a club of Forests size. Under the Fawaz era embarrassment after embarrassment is all that has happened to Nottingham Forest. The occasional East Midlands derby win is sometimes enough to dilute the anger and distract the Forest fans from what is really happening; a rapid decline of a terrific club.
So, the football season is fast approaching, a win against Millwall and a defeat against Tottenham is how Forest’s preseason has begun. Intriguing away encounters against Braga, Port Vale and Notts County will swiftly follow before a final home friendly against newly promoted Hull City. Forest fans eagerly anticipate how they will perform under their new manager who has set a target of two seasons to get Forest back in to the top flight. The only thing standing in Montaniers way is the threat of an early exit if Fawaz’s track record is anything to go by.
I would like to think that by Christmas, Montanier may have achieved many great things at Forest, maybe achieving a top half position, but the reality is, if he has not, Montanier may become the ninth Forest managerial casualty in 6 years. If Fawaz would just stay off of social media, out of the papers and actually run a football club rather than be inclined to get involved with everything else then Forest might succeed, but unfortunately I do not see it.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Heather.
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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