At 2pm last Saturday my wife literally had to drag me into the car to get me to the City Ground.
Having suffered a bout of man flu earlier in the week, the last thing I required was more anguish by the Trent. I felt like a small child trying to pull a sicky in order to get out of school; a shocking admission for a fan of thirty years.
Given the mounting injury crisis, Forest fans understood that the starting line up to face Wolves would be make shift, which is putting it mildly. So much so, that Philippe Montanier reverted to four at the back for the first time in over a month.
Regardless of the overspill in the treatment room, it feels like the whole club is on a life support machine. Which was brutally epitomised by the lethargic murmur of “Mull of Kintyre” prior to the kick off. Usually by this point, I have my pen and pad in hand to jot down my take on the proceedings; but not today. What’s the point? I said to myself as two very poor sides got the game underway.
Exactly half an hour into the match before I saw a real opportunity for the reds; Mustapha Carayol’s run and cross was headed over by an unmarked Michael Mancienne. The defender should have at least hit the target after the industrious wing play by the Gambian. It actually looked like Carayol was keen to make amends for his poor display against Derby as he produced a couple more probing runs down the left. It was a flash in the pan though, because he, like most of his team mates, flattered to deceive for the remainder of the game.
Wolverhampton Wanderers were to take the lead soon after with a goal that I kindly describe as avoidable; Helder Costa scored from a ridiculous angle having been allowed far too much room in the first place. The score would stay that way until the break and nobody in their right mind could say that we ever looked like getting back into it.
The introduction of David Vaughan for Jorge Grant did improve things slightly but it was like putting plaster on an open fracture. The noticeable lack of fight was glaringly apparent on the hour mark, when the Wolves keeper Carl Ikeme dropped Ben Osborn’s corner kick. Not a single player was on hand and more alarmingly, interested in picking up the bits as they say. Hildeberto Pereira replaced Mustapha Carayol soon after much to the delight of the home supporters. I will say this though; at least Carayol attempted to put things right for a little while, despite the barrage of criticism he received last week, none more so from my good self.
As I gazed around the half empty City Ground It resembled that of a FIFA video game, lifeless, emotionless supporters in matching colours that looked like they’d been cut and pasted into their seats. Just a bit of urgency and determination would have been enough to rouse them for a minute or two but sadly there was nothing. They were indeed on their feet in the 78th minute though, but swiftly heading for the nearest exit as Wolves scored their second of the afternoon. Once again it was self-inflicted; Mancienne chose to play a free kick back to Stojkovic instead of into the opposition box which triggered a comedy of errors. One misplaced pass after another finally ended up at the feet of Ricardo Cavaleiro, who finished neatly into the bottom left corner, from the edge of the area.
It was the manner in which we conceded the goal that tells you a lot about what’s going wrong at present, players don’t have confidence in themselves or their team mates. Why? We all seem to have the magic solution but I think it’s a culmination of things when you break it down. Firstly, whilst Mr Al-Hasawi remains in office, things will not improve, so the takeover must happen now! Then you have a manager who simply isn’t suited to this division or maybe even this country. Don’t forget the underhand sale of Oliver Burke and abysmal player recruitment that followed. (Mr Al-Hasawi again). Finally, you have an ever-growing injury list that requires investigation of some kind. When you add all those factors together, you have the ingredients for relegation and demise.
I’ve said all along that when fit, we have some decent players at the club and I don’t believe they turned bad overnight. We all think we’ve got the solution to this problem but it starts at the top and has unfortunately contaminated everything beneath it. I pray that the takeover happens imminently, and is the beginning of positive changes. Because, for the first time in my life, I’m dreading the thought of watching the team I love.