April 4, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread
“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.“
Oh, how the Mighty have fallen. Except we haven’t been Mighty for a number of years now. But that’s the funny thing about football fans – in our hearts we always have been and always will be Mighty. Various people – most more knowledgeable than me about previous Forest games – have likened Saturday’s performance to Coventry away or Plymouth at home during that fateful relegation season of 2004/2005. They’re right, of course. I wasn’t there to experience the heartache of seeing us stumble and fall into the third tier of English football. I was a fan, but seeing it with your own eyes, experiencing it at first hand is a whole other ball-game. I understand that now. And back when we thought we were scraping the bottom of the barrel with Gary Megson in charge, we could still muster a home crowd of 28,887, a cool 9,443 more supporters than this Brentford game – in a season when we were relegated to League One. Oh, how the Mighty have fallen.
There’s so much stuff going on in my head, but it’s all the wrong stuff! I don’t want to be thinking about whether we’ll be relegated this season – it was all going so solidly. We were kind-of heading in the right direction, our unbeaten run had papered over the cracks somewhat, but who cares? We were looking at being safe in the division and setting ourselves up for a (perhaps) more successful campaign come August. It wasn’t the greatest football to watch, but I wouldn’t describe it as boring, like a lot of the Dougie haters. He was doing as good a job as could be expected under the circumstances and in this current environment, that’s all we could wish for. We seemed to be moving in the right direction.
Then the current custodian of this great club decided to meddle. Again.
Listening to the vocal, Social Media minority. Again.
The hope that a change in the coaching staff would give us a “new manager bounce” towards 6th spot was entirely deluded. I hope he realises that now.
But it’s too late of course.
I’m not going to write a match report, there’s little point. Three errors created three chances for Brentford and they duly took all three. I bet they couldn’t believe their luck. A friend of mine, who’s a Brentford supporter, wasn’t looking forward to this one. Before the International Break he was pretty convinced Brentford were in free-fall and would be relegated in May. They’d won 1 and lost 7 of their previous 8 games, scoring 6 and conceding 18 goals. Just let that sink in for a minute…
…yep, they’ve been that bad. But, do you know what? While, in fairness, both teams were pretty poor on Saturday, at least Brentford looked like they were trying to play some semblance of football. I told my friend that too; he just shook his head and smiled, not quite believing what I was telling him. We could point to Mancienne’s injury being the turning point, or Macheda in the lone striker role who may as well not have been on the pitch, or Gary Gardner being half the player we saw last season, but there seems little point and therein lies the problem. There’s an air of resignation about The City Ground, pervading the “masses”.
We’re as far away from a return to the Premier League as we have been since our relegation in 1999 and yes, I am taking into consideration our spell in League One. Our current average attendance for the season sits at 19,808. The last time it was that low was 2007/2008 – the year we were promoted from League One – and even then it was slightly higher at 19,956. Our average attendance is down 3,684 compared with last season. Yet…
…in a season when the third oldest club in English football history celebrates its 150th Anniversary – amidst a time of turmoil within and without the club – there are still fans who wish to celebrate and what better place to start than where it all started? J.S. Scrimshaw arranged a meeting at the Clinton Arms (now known as the Orange Tree) on Shakespeare Street in 1865 and the rest is history. Around 200 supporters listened to Club Historian Don Wright wax lyrical for a while before singing their hearts out when Colin Barrett took to the stage. With flags waving and banners aloft, they marched through the streets of Nottingham – stopping off to recognise the achievements of a legendary former manager – before making their way over the Trent Bridge towards The City Ground. Hearts swelled with pride, they chanted and sang their way through the city, buoyed by the punctuation of vehicle horns as those that had to be elsewhere acknowledged this throng of Garibaldi clad supporters. It was a far cry from the atmosphere within our stadium, but was a true reflection of their feelings towards this great club.
“For this relief much thanks; ’tis bitter cold and I am sick at heart.“
We’re fed platitudes and hollow rhetoric every time we see a new manager take his seat in front of a dwindling press pack. It’s happened so many times now, even that’s old news. If our owner was there on Saturday – and I didn’t see him with my own eyes, so I can’t confirm he was – he certainly wasn’t there after the third goal was scored. We played for a further 15 minutes (including added time) after the goal went in, but our owner couldn’t bear witness. Why is that?
And just another thought. That unofficial fan get-together and march to The City Ground was entirely free – aside the cost of a pint or two. Please don’t tell me a gala dinner costing a minimum of £75 + VAT (that’s £90 really and it doesn’t include drinks) is something for the fans. We don’t live in a world where we look at +VAT prices. We don’t think about our business and whether we can claim the VAT back. We live in an altogether different world. A world where the Garibaldi is worn with pride, in the understanding that Nottingham Forest existed before we were born and will exist after we leave this mortal coil.
David Marples over at In The Top One has suggested our football club is broken. He isn’t wrong. Please read his piece on Saturday’s match – as always, it’s a good read. He knows what he’s writing about. I had the pleasure of meeting up with him on Saturday at the Orange Tree and was introduced to Phil Juggins, yet another talented writer who can be found at The Loving Feeling. Phil’s lovely wife Melissa took some fantastic photos of the fan event, so please check those out too at Melissa Maloo Photography – you won’t be disappointed when you see them.
It’s Reading away next. There’s not a lot I can say about it really, other than I hope our team find some pride and spirit and I’m hoping for a draw…
COME ON YOU REDS!!!