I've been fighting the temptation to write down my thoughts on the start of the season at Nottingham Forest in recent weeks, safe in the knowledge that my words are as likely to have any effect as Billy Davies returning to as Nottingham Forest manager. Attempting to convey the disappointment to the start of McClaren’s tenure without hyperbole and aiming torrents of abuse in the direction of the board is a severe task in itself. Saturdays scrappy win at Vicarage road over Watford did little to paper over the cracks that have turned into canyons in recent weeks following poor home defeats to West Ham and Derby County. Add a humiliating 5-1 humping at the hands of 16th placed Burnley and it is now clear, that questions must be asked of McClaren.
Stumbling starts are not necessarily an unfamiliar sight to us – yet they quickly become demoralising when 2 meagre wins, 2 draws and five losses leave us conceding 18 goals in the first 9 games. We have lost the ability to defend - experienced players who performed solidly over the past two years are now making basic errors that make us, as a team, look amateur. This is the back 5 (including Camp) that went 30 games unbeaten at home, and the same back 5 that played 19 games before they conceded 17 goals last season, putting the gaping chasm that’s suddenly appeared within our defence in perspective.
So what’s gone wrong? Well good question, it would seem McClaren has lost the dressing room already. Players appear at odds with each other and don’t look like a team who have the passion and enthusiasm to win - or even the harmony to play together. Suggestions have been made that McClaren has alienated the squad that already existed under the previous regime - constantly harping on about the need for Premiership quality players cannot have done much for existing player confidence. At this point it becomes questionable how much research he did before taking the job. Surely simply watching a few videos of our side under Billy Davies for the last two seasons – a team that lacked any premiership experience minus that of loanees (Nicky Shorey and Ryan Bertrand being the only two to add anything of real worth) would show the promise that the squad had shown under prior to McClaren’s arrival.
McClaren seems to be vacant of any real footballing passion; his inability to inject any desire into his squad makes for shameful viewing...
McClaren seems to be vacant of any real footballing passion; his inability to inject any desire into his squad makes for shameful viewing, and while I believe it’s unfair to damningly judge a manager after 9 games in charge, when it’s your own team – emotions take reign over common sense. His seemingly clueless appearances in his post match interviews produce the same old excuses, and comments tend to denounce the ability of the players. The fact that he doesn’t know what’s going wrong is a damning sign of what’s to come if he stays on at the club and his recurring smirk in front of the camera shows he has no real fire in his belly to succeed in the role.
Being the first high profile manager at the club in recent years, he has now attracted much unwanted media attention to the City Ground – we’ve made more appearances on Sky Sports News this year than ever before. While claims that he may have been sold a lie from the Forest board look a distinct possibility – they should make little difference. He should now take the reigns and deal with the job in front of him - for the sake of the club and his managerial reputation on home soil, after all - this is the man who said he had nothing to prove.
So what next? It is clear that the club need a manager with character on the level of Billy Davies. Someone who will evoke some desire and enthusiasm into the squad - whether this co-incides with quarrels with the board or not. Under McClaren so far we have become a side who are happy to give the ball away and shirk the responsibility, and a side that look fragile in almost every position. As McClaren said in his post match interview at Turf Moor “Something drastic has to be done” and whilst it seems implausible that he will offer his resignation, maybe now is the time to show him the door? His body language screams his inability to cut it at the club – and we need to act quickly, before the rot sets in.
Click here for more Nottingham Forest stories
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook