Four points dropped or two points gained for Nottingham Forest?
In hindsight, we were lucky to get a draw in each game, and the consolatory positives from these ‘dropped points’ was how the team showed their unquenchable tenacity, coming from behind on three separate occasions to rescue points.
Perhaps I’m being a little harsh in claiming that good fortune was the main reason we have been spared defeat. After all, Phil(istine) Dowd’s refereeing performance last Tuesday wasn’t just bamboozling or bumbling, it was quite simply inept.
He officiated with the composure an Englishman taking a penalty, and I for one was severely disappointed that no-one brought a custard pie to hurl in the direction of such a convincing clown. (Phil Dowd and pies? Never...)
Though my vitriol may be misplaced with a referee, my anguish was further compounded by Doncaster. Little to do with the result or performance, however... I was just really hoping Louis Tomlinson would at some point be ‘acquainted’ with Darius Henderson, and any altercations could have resulted in the One Direction ‘member’ - in every sense of the word - giving up on football... And if we were lucky, maybe music too.
However, we are in a position now where a week unbeaten is seen as some sort of failure. I think it’s wonderful to have such high expectations, which can be wholly justified given the way we’ve played so far this season.
If you’re looking for the steady, transitional progress that has made Premier League scene-stealers out of Swansea and Southampton, it’s blooming right in front of us, and for Forest, such notorious slow starters, to be in the top six after eight games, well it’s utterly delightful isn’t it?
Not when Jim Price is your ‘media mogul’, though.
Now, I worry about making such a hefty complaint. Things are going well, we’re looking sharp, and when we hit top gear, it’s the most aesthetically pleasing thing I’ve seen outside of an episode of Grand Designs. I feel like we’ve had our cake and eaten it, and wonder if - though we have a right to complain - we should try and let this media blackout saga play out, and at least enjoy the one thing we all want to see: Top quality football.
However, what else are you meant to do if you have a cake and can’t eat it? I’ve always felt like that is the worst phrase in the English language, and I’ll maintain that until the cows come home.
It’s a shame. We’ve got everything in place for a splendid campaign, and our success is being shadowed by a circus of semantics. His ‘special relationship’ with Billy Davies is nothing more than a spiral of increasingly bizarre behaviour, culminating in hollow threats and arguments that only one side is interested in continuing.
Unfortunately for the club, they are being held accountable for the actions of this ‘side’. It’s absolutely mortifying to see it as a fan, how Billy and Jim are single-handedly (or double-handedly, seeing as they’re working in tandem) attempting to manipulate every possible story that could emanate from inside the club. This erratic, almost Fawlty-esque attempt to vindicate their combined shenanigans reeks of a pair that have something to hide, which I absolutely beg is untrue, yet suspect otherwise.
They have very much lashed out at local media, and perhaps they had their reasons... But why would Davies suddenly refuse interviews on Sky, or ban journalists from The Guardian from coming to the City Ground? (Daniel Taylor in particular, a Forest fan with the club’s best interests at heart).
I’m not here to speculate, I have no idea what the skeleton in the closet could be. I would honestly love to sit down one day, and write one of these articles where I don’t have to mull over the shady politics of the club’s higher echelons, yet I haven’t been able to do it for months.
I’m not the sort of writer who can justify writing a 1,000-word piece just to say ‘good win lads, same next week’. When I talk about Forest, I always like to offer a little more than a glorified match report.
Off the pitch matters are just as important as the ones on the pitch, and I always try to convey that.
Seasons change (there’s always next year, etc) but I dearly hope our integrity as a club does not. What Billy and his advisor Jim are doing isn’t just self-destructive, but somewhat jeopardizes the whole of Nottingham Forest too. They are our representatives, and at the moment, they are about trustworthy as a promise from Nick Clegg.
The thing that properly boils the blood has to be how arrogant the two have been in not offering any thorough explanation of what their grievances are.
They aren’t giving us anything in the way of understanding. If they were to tell us exactly what the problem was, they’d at least open a channel of communication up with the plenty of perplexed fans that have the right to know why these men are using the club as a makeweight, in their own petulant squabbles.
It remains unclear what Fawaz Al-Hasawi’s role is in all this. At least through his Twitter account, and apologetic statement regarding Transfer Deadline Day (a lovely gesture he had no obligation to do), he wants to give some form of transparency and clarity to the club’s clandestine business.
The thing is, despite his overwhelming unpopularity outside of Nottingham, Davies gets us playing some terrific football: I’ve been hoping for a while that him and Jim are like Dougal McGuire, and the troublesome young priest that steals the grey whistle in Father Ted - Dougal, led astray by a younger, cooler figure, begins acting out. It is only when he realises what a bad egg Ji... Sorry, Damien... is, he becomes his lovable self again.
Sadly, real life is nothing like Father Ted. I’d be a devout catholic, otherwise. Billy, regardless of who his right-hand man is, has to take responsibility, and find some maturity from somewhere. Seeing as we have won only one of our last five league games, one might ponder how the players have perceived the antics of the management, and if it has had any effect on them.
OK, I admit it is a little opportunistic to correlate league form with media dealings, but it’s food for thought. Everyone within a team serves the fans, and we all have the right to question anything that raises suspicion. So take a huge slice of metaphorical cake, and ‘eat’ - which in this analogy probably means ‘enquire’ - until your heart is content.
Cake and Phil Dowd in the same article? Never.