August 18, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread
It’s a bit of a double-header this time, what with the summer holidays being here and family “stuff” taking a bit of a priority.
I was lucky enough to get to both games – but lucky in the sense of my family not minding me going to away games, not lucky in the sense that they were “unmissable” games.
I have to admit to hoping for at least a draw at the Amex – even (deludedly) thinking we might take all 3 points. But I’m still in that hopeless fan mode of thinking we’ll gain automatic promotion and win a Cup! Those Spectacles are certainly firmly in place!
Instead, what we were treated to was something entirely different. And my overriding feeling at the end of the Brighton game was one of disappointment. Not just at the result though.
And it wasn’t fully clear to me until I attended the Brentford game.
Sure, there are issues with the change in personnel from game to game – M. Montanier continues to tinker to find his best 11. The whole “Leicester played this many and we’ve already played this many…” rubbish just gets on my nerves by the way.
That Britt was not in the squad for the Brighton game immediately rang alarm bells with a number of fans – but a quick explanation via Social Media would have quelled those fears. Instead, we had to wait until the end of the game to find out he had a bit of a muscle “thing” and that his partner was very close to giving birth to their first child.
What also didn’t help was the last minute change of Iacovitti for Lam due to the latter suffering a migraine, causing various views of consternation. Now, migraines can be a debilitating thing – I know from personal experience – but they’re just a “headache” to most people, and that just won’t do. Just stay he’s got a niggle of some sort, rather than have the player now labelled as a bit of a lightweight for not being able to play because of a “headache“. It’s not rocket science, but it does make a difference.
And then there’s Lars. Quite frankly, I felt sorry for him by the end of the game. He may have been at Forest since the summer Stuart Pearce took over, but that was his first league start for us. The coaching staff aren’t going to “throw someone in” just for fits and giggles. They’d clearly seen something on the training ground to warrant a start. That he’s not up to the job is now pretty clear, but on the evidence of the Brentford game, neither is Vellios.
But here’s where the mood is changing. It didn’t take long for some of the away support to make their feelings clear to those in the Garibaldi. Having met up with the Forza Garibaldi lads before the Brentford game, it’s become apparent that patience is at an all-time low; and vocalising that frustration is becoming the norm. I’m not going to say whether you can or cannot do that. We’re all adults, we’re all capable of making adult decisions. But aren’t we supposed to be going to these games to enjoy ourselves?
Yes the result was unpleasant. We weren’t that bad in the first half, but being a goal down wasn’t helping. That Henderson had conceded another and would go on to concede 2 more wasn’t going to endear fans to him either. Yes, he looked a far cry from Dorus, but this lack of patience among supporters won’t help matters.
The vitriol the players were subjected to come the final whistle and as they approached the away end to thank us was, quite frankly, embarrassing. A friend I was with even heard someone berate Ben Osborn. Really?!? Are you for real?!? I don’t think there’s any coming back from that as far as Lars is concerned. Why would he want to play in front of that again? I wouldn’t blame him.
Oh, and just so we’re clear. We were beaten by one of the favourites for automatic promotion who have a manger that’s been there since December 2014 and a club infrastructure that provides stability and continuity among players and staff.
The disappointment was with us, the fans, as well as the result.
Remember when I asked about enjoying the games? Cue the visit to Brentford. Now that was more like it.
“But we lost! Why was it so different?“
It was us. The fans. Those Forza boys, myself and David Marples were chatting about it before the game. We know we’re not really going to do anything this season. A finish around half way would be nice – you know, avoiding relegation. We can’t expect any more than that, despite the mumblings of our erstwhile owner thinking we’re a striker away from a top six finish. I know I’m deluded sometimes for thinking we’re going to win when we’re clearly not. But don’t treat us like idiots Mr Al Hasawi!
So, with a low level of expectation, let’s go out there and have some fun! And we did.
Oh and hold on! Those boys in the Garibaldi played alright.
“But we lost!“
But Henderson made a fantastic double save only to see our paper thin defence fail his efforts for the first goal. We’d been chanting “Hendo!!!” a bit before that, but now we were chanting it because he bloody deserved it!
And Brentford were on the ropes in the second half.
And we might as well have been playing 12 men, because the ref was as useful as a chocolate tea pot. How we didn’t have at least one penalty in the second half beggared belief!
And all the while we were singing. I’ve never stood behind the goal before. And never sang like that before.
But it was magic!
We’d had a little preview of a new chant the Forza Garibaldi brigade had thought up and revealed to us in the beer garden of The Globe pub before the game. We liked it, but the proof of the pudding was yet to come. They rolled it out about 15 minutes into the game and the quizzical looks of some Forest fans was quite amusing to see. They were standing behind David and myself and we caught on with a few others after a little while and it nearly built into something. So close!
Half time came. We were losing 1-0 again, but that was alright. We looked better than the Brighton game, but still a bit suspect in defence. In all honesty, that central pairing of Mills and Perquis didn’t instil any confidence in me at all. And why does Mills have to shout at everybody? We can all see he’s not hitting the heights of last season. Own it Mr Mills! Don’t go looking for blame!
As for the second half. Well, like I’ve already said, we didn’t deserve to lose the game. But the best bit was the reemergence of “the chant”.
“Allez, Allez…” It felt like we sung it for ages! What a fantastic atmosphere.
So this is what being an away fan was like! I was standing, singing, bobbing my head about to get a better view of the game, when I thought,
“I’m 46. What am I doing?“
I was standing among fans. I was smiling. I was having fun.
It didn’t matter that I was a self-conscious middle-aged man. I was among like-minded people of all ages, who didn’t care. We were supporting our team. And we were having a bloody good time doing it as well!
As for the boys in Garibaldi? Well…
Perquis must be wondering what he’s done, because he looks out of his depth at this level.
Pereira looks like he’ll be just as frustrating as Mendes (remember him?!?).
Oh, and he isn’t a right back.
Kasami looks like he flatters to deceive. Could be a good signing but hasn’t shown anything yet.
Henri hasn’t delivered a decent ball from a set piece since 2007.
Vellios is just as good/bad as Lars.
But it doesn’t really matter.
M Montanier will find his best 11 soon.
That may include Mancienne in defence, but with his inflated wage bill and lack of time on the pitch so far, I’m expecting him to go.
Let’s not put too much pressure on Britt.
We may, one day, find we’re in a game with a fair-minded referee.
But let’s just have some fun eh?
Because that’s what it’s all about, surely.
It’s the League One champions on Saturday.
COME ON YOU REDS!!!