IS Billy Davies the right man to take Nottingham Forest forward? That’s the question posed by Tom Walker
It speaks volumes that this article is even being written by myself, everything seemed so rosy after Forest had beaten Huddersfield 3-0 away to extend their unbeaten run to 15 games – the manager’s position was never even whispered about.
Why would it be? Forest were flying and were homing in on the top two positions with real intent. Fast forward just one month and the picture is completely in reverse. Forest have not recorded a victory in any competition for six games and their automatic promotion ambitions have collapsed in to a desperate struggle to hang on to their play-off position.
Just like every other professional football club – when results don’t go the right way, questions start to arise about the managerial methods and, essentially, his position. Forest are no different.
The majority of people within football, and fans are aware of the expectations at the club. There is nothing wrong with being ambitious, but Forest fans and the club in general are notorious for having high expectations.
Sometimes however that can have a hindrance on the club. Are we really in this mass crisis? When you look at Leeds United, no we are not. They are also a huge club going through a really difficult time, and they would all love to be in our place.
As our own situation goes it is hugely disappointing not to be more in and amongst the top two, but how many sides would be able to hold on to their play-off spot with their first choice back four and numerous other stars injured? Injuries are of course not the manager’s fault. It’s just unlucky.
My problem with Davies is the drama and the needless talking points that come with his management. He’s a short term manager – and with that comes severe problems.
Quick fixes, no long term planning via the youth system (which has served us impeccably down through the years – forgetting Lascelles and Darlow who were ready made for the first team on Davies’ arrival) and no long term philosophy.
Short term managers can work wonders, I would describe Jose Mourinho for example as a short term manager as opposed to long term – and I would never question his achievements and his abilities to manage.
Davies’ self-imposed media ban for me was pointless. It created a closed image of the club and to fans that is not ideal.
There might be occasional interviews with certain media which give fans an insight, but as day to day access goes it’s not enough. It’s easy for me to say with hindsight – but imagine if Davies hadn’t enforced his media ban throughout the club. Personally – I would have much preferred a standard, normal media approach.
As for on the pitch – it looks as though Davies has failed to find a solution to the one problem everybody knew Forest had (and still do have). The lack of goals has cost Forest dearly at times this season. £1m signing Rafik Djebbour from Olympiakos may have scored on his debut against Yeovil Town, but reports are that he has massively struggled in the team. He may need time to settle in to the English game – Djamel Abdoun has just started to play his best football in recent times. Djebbour may also need seven months to settle but Forest simply don’t have that luxury to give somebody at the moment.
I look at signings other clubs made in and around January. Leeds United took Connor Wickham on loan – somebody who is an England U21 international and impressed at Sheffield Wednesday. Doncaster Rovers secured the resigning of Billy Sharp on loan from Southampton. Derby took the plunge on young Patrick Bamford and the Chelsea loanee fired the goals home for them.
These are players with experience of English football, even Bamford had played a season and a half in League One for MK Dons. I believe all the players discussed would have been great additions to the side. Would they have signed? Nobody will ever know – but the point is, Djebbour was a gamble and if it wasn’t for players like Jamie Paterson his poor form would have been highlighted more.
Apart from the fact Davies didn’t sign the goalscorer we all craved, he did manage to secure Vaughan (loan), Gomis (loan) Djebbour, Hobbs and Fox. Probably the best January transfer window the club has had. You have to give him credit where credit is due.
Will Davies remain in charge? It’s hard to predict I personally would like to see him end the season at least. I would review his situation and his plans for the future in the summer. I still think we can make the play offs and ultimately anything can happen when you’re in those, especially if our injured players begin to return to full fitness.
Will Fawaz be as patient? He certainly seems to have a good relationship with Davies. Let’s just hope that when the day comes that Billy leaves – he does not leave with any more ‘unfinished business.’