After last night’s prosaic offering (amazing what the emotion of the play-offs and a couple of flagons of ale can do to you, isn’t it?), I thought it might be worth reflecting upon a couple of things now that the dust has settled a little.
Firstly, and most importantly, we can stand proud; the team could not have given any more in the second half, and the fans were magnificent (and I was only watching on telly in a working man’s club). Swansea’s performance in the first leg was the best I have seen at the City Ground this season, and they are a truly great team (arguably the Barcelona of the Championship). To the Jacks and your magnificent fans, I salute you.
Secondly, given the occasional criticisms of Billy Davies’ tactics, well he did have a Plan B. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the desired effect, partly due to Swansea’s ability (including a truly magnificent goal by Stephen Dobbie), but also the width of the woodwork and the inability of the officials to spot infringements in the box.
Thirdly, even the players who are likely to be leaving gave their all. Tys’ run and composure in setting up Goldie in the fifth minute was arguably his finest contribution in a Forest shirt (along with that goal at Man City in the FA Cup), in what was almost certainly his last game for us. Little Robbie Earnshaw went one better, and was inches away from rescuing the tie for us (although he is now thinking of his future).
Next, thank you to the players and Billy for a real rollercoaster season. Finishing in sixth place was about right (I have said so many times that the league table doesn’t lie after 46 games), we were a better team than last season but paid the price for not strengthening the squad. Kudos to Billy for greeting the fans when they came back to Nottingham in the coaches – a magnificent gesture from a manager who we hope will still be here next year, even if some of the players aren’t.
Another capitulation would have been so disheartening, but it didn’t happen. Forest are a good Championship club; I am sure things will happen over the summer that we don’t like (comings and goings etc), but next year, let’s try and be the best. Come on you Reds!