Amidst rumours flying around that the chairman and the manager aren’t getting along, that back-room staff are being sacked without the other’s knowledge and all the alleged off-the-field antics you really don’t want as you’re hitting the crunch time of the season, Fawaz has gone and said this:
“You never know what will happen this season. We have to give him all the support until the end of the season.
“Then we will say if Billy stays or Billy goes, you know.”
It’s no secret that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Billy. Looking at the forums, it seems that for many fans, that’s turned to a hate/hate relationship. Despite the injury crisis.
A few things to consider;
Billy does have a safety-first streak in him; play for a point away, ten men in the box when defending a corner. I don’t really have a problem with this – build from the back and all that (although the corner thing is annoying).
Our strikers are hard-workers, strong runners, but not out and out goal-scorers. Earnie was a goal-scorer and didn’t play as often as I would have liked under Billy. Sharp was a goal-scorer and didn’t get a look in. Cox and Mackie et al put in the effort but you wouldn’t expect them to get twenty in a season.
Billy’s sides seem to do well over Christmas and then struggle in the final third of the season – this happened with us when he was here previously, it’s happened this season, it happened at Derby. By comparison, Forest under other managers seem to struggle during winter and pick up in the spring (I remember joking to my brother that Bryan Roy can’t play in the cold). But why is this? Are the players training too hard (leading to the injury crisis we have now)? Is this why Billy always makes such a big deal about January transfers (although arguably, he has been backed this year, even if, allegedly, they weren’t his choices)?
And the way the club under Billy has conducted itself has, by all accounts, made a lot of enemies. Not just the journalists who’ve been shut out (guess what, they’re going to be lining up to stick the boot in after months of being unable to do their jobs), but I’ve heard more than a few whisperings of bad blood between us and other clubs.
However, there are still questions to be asked here.
He is the manager and he is the one who decides who comes and who goes … I don’t want to interfere in that, he is the manager, he should be telling us.
“For example, he should be saying I need this player from Tottenham, from Liverpool or from another Premier League club, because these (top flight) clubs have lots of players.
“I am sure if Billy found somebody who was interesting for Forest, we would let him come here. I told him he can do anything he wants. He can bring in any player he wants.”
“He should be telling us…”
“He should be saying I need this player from Tottenham…”
“I am sure if Billy found somebody who was interesting for Forest…”
There’s a strong implication there; that Billy isn’t finding the players. Or is it that he isn’t finding the players from Tottenham or Liverpool or Premier League clubs? Is Billy finding experienced, lower league, hard-grafters that Fawaz just doesn’t like the look of? Was giving Billy free reign a mistake? Do we need some sort of panel looking after transfers and acquisitions?
And what happened to “Billy can be our Alex Ferguson”?
Personally, given the recent and not so recent history of the club, I believe that getting rid of Billy this summer would be a mistake.
I don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes, I don’t know why those various staff members were sacked nor who knew about it, I don’t know why there are persistent rumours that Billy and Fawaz aren’t speaking, I don’t know anything about Fawaz’s business experience and I don’t know why Fawaz has just launched a solo PR exercise.
But what I do know is that, barring gross misconduct, Billy is the best manager we’ve had in a while. He has many, many faults but he has some strengths as well – not least that he’s actually our incumbent. Thirteen managers (ish) in ten years is just too many.
Just don’t let this happen again.