Oh dear oh dear oh dear. We could justify failing to beat Leicester by our sense of injustice at Wes Morgan not receiving a red card. Burnley and Wigan took their chances well, but Barnsley?
Amongst all of this, Billy is banned. Billy is banned and say that he won’t speak to anyone, except, of course, Natalie Jackson in a Kim Jong-Un inspired BBC exclusive.
Where does the blame lie? Billy’s tactics? Injuries? The media? The unnecessary and somewhat insipid third strip (which looked even worse at Sheffield United)? The players? The transfer policy? All of the above?
Injuries: Yes, we have had more than our fair share, but why? Only a couple of them have been injured (including the skipper, Chris Cohen) whilst playing in the first team, many more have got stress fractures, training ground knocks and the like. Are the players being over-worked in training to achieve the necessary levels of fitness? Who knows, but I have never heard of a club having almost an entire team of players out with training ground injuries, and it is noticeable that with Cohen, Reid, Hobbs and Lansbury missing, there is no real leadership on the pitch.
Tactics: Cox up front on his own; Jara in midfield and Moussi on the bench; Mackie dropping into central midfield against Wigan. Sure, Billy can get it right a lot of the time, such as Chris Cohen at left-back, Henri Lansbury as a deep-lying central midfielder, and the emergence of Jamie Paterson, but when he gets it wrong it is painful to watch. I am reminded of Billy playing James Perch, rather than Joel Lynch, Julian Bennett or Chris Gunter at left-back, and then moaning about “round pegs in square holes“.
Transfers: In the Doughty era, Billy laid the blame squarely at the club for the perceived lack of investment, despite the late owner’s insistence that he had never flatly turned down a manager’s request for transfer funds. This time around, Fawaz and family have invested handsomely, with the latest financial figures suggesting the old “promotion or bust” conundrum that we have previously used to taunt our neighbours down the A46. He talked of needing some January signings to get us over the finishing line, and he got them. Draw your own conclusions about the signings (and Hobbs and Paterson are class at this level, even if the jury is out on some others), but surely Billy has nowhere else to lay the blame if we don’t go up this year.
The Players: As a contributor to Seat Pitch comments, “Teams win you games, squads win you promotion and Forest are still a little short.” However, we still have Premier League scouts eyeing up our goalkeeper and central defender (albeit both are rookies), a number of international footballers (Jara, Abdoun, Cox, Djebbour, Collins, Mackie) and others such as Halford, Fox, Moussi, Harding, Henderson, Derbyshire and Majewski who all have bags of Championship experience (not to mention Blackstock, Tudgay and Miller who have all been out on loan). They are all running around like headless chickens, seemingly unsure of the team’s shape and tactics.
The Media: Banning the local media is petty and unnecessary, but to do this and then take a vow of silence merely deprives the fans. Assistant Manager David Kelly faced the press on Saturday and flatly refused to address the issue of Rob Kelly’s absence, although John Pemberton had something to say on the matter:
If Billy Davies unfinished business at Nottingham Forest is to blame and sack everyone he comes across he’s doing a brilliant job#RobKelly
— John Pemberton (@johnpembosnr) March 8, 2014
Add to this Billy’s lies (re: his confrontation of the Leicester referee), his unwillingness to take questions, his filming of journos at the press conference, and his numerous confrontations with photographers (Millwall and now Barnsley), and once again, you can draw your own conclusions.
The common thread is Billy Davies. We have said it before and will say it again: if Billy would just let the team’s football do the talking, then people might have more faith (and yes, I know Forest have been faltering lately). Overall, however, he is a good Championship level manager. Not the best, but he’s ok. Do we want Billy sacked? No. Do we want Billy to grow up and just do his job? Yes please. For everyone’s sake.