Stuart Levy’s Nottingham Forest blog: Choice of new manager is not important these days


First things first - the sacking of Stuart Pearce was the right decision.

The tactics were predictable and unsuccessful, the Derby victory proved to be a complete one-off in terms of effort and desire and finally, a home defeat to a team in the relegation zone is never, ever an acceptable result.

Pearce leaves with his head held high after restoring some form of credibility to the club off the pitch, with relations with the local media restored, the youth academy working alongside the first team a lot more and a highly talented (in theory) squad built to negate the effects of the transfer embargo.

Most importantly for him, the fans could see that he meant well in everything he did so that the memories from his playing career remain intact.

As for the new manager, Dougie Freedman - the speed of the announcement of his appointment was somewhat a shock, with even the club Chief Executive Paul Faulkner being seemingly unaware of Fawaz’s choice.

I would guess that Fawaz has probably had Freedman waiting in the wings since after the Sheffield Wednesday defeat, if not earlier, and that if the removal of Pearce became necessary Freedman would have been ready to start instantly, and if Pearce had turned it around, then great.

Freedman has had a solid start to management, stabilising Crystal Palace after their period of administration and laying the groundwork for the squad that is now enjoying a second successive season in the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history.

He then left the club in October 2012 to join Bolton - despite Palace being 4th in the table to Bolton’s 16th.

This can be seen as an understandable move to make as Bolton had just been relegated from the Premier League and Freedman maybe thought he had a better chance of taking them up rather than Palace.

As it transpired, Palace went up through the play-offs that year, and Bolton (as did Forest) missed out on the play-offs on the last day of the season.

They finished 14th in his only full season in charge, and he was sacked in October of this season after a poor run of form.

It is impossible to predict how successful or otherwise a manager will be. Freedman might oversee a tremendous upturn in Forest’s fortunes that sees them make a bid for the play-offs, just as he might completely fail to do so and see the club plummet further towards a relegation battle, while he could simply stabilise the ship and guide the club to a mid-table finish.

The reason I feel that the identity of a manager is, in this day and age, not particularly important is because they have such a short shelf-life.

Regardless of which of those three possibilities happen, it is highly unlikely that Freedman will still be Forest manager in two years from now, if not one year from now. If Freedman is a success, then he may be poached by a bigger club, or lose his job with Forest in a Premier League relegation battle.

If Forest continue to struggle in the Championship, he will be replaced, and if Forest remain in mid-table, a bigger name or the next big thing would still most likely come in with a remit of promotion.

In a bygone era, it was pretty unusual for a manager to lose his job - in the 10 years before the appointment of Brian Clough, Forest had four managers, in the last 10 years,

Forest have had 10 permanent managers. Were the culture of all managers being ‘a couple of bad results away from the sack’ not prevalent in the modern game, then it is probable that Freedman would have never have been sacked by Bolton, with his successful first season at the club still being in recent memory.

This current culture means it is almost impossible to hire a new manager who has not been sacked at least once in the past few years.

What a manager has to do (and not do) to get sacked is highly arbitrary, and the recruitment process for replacements is also seemingly conducted at random. The revolving door policy at football clubs of people deemed not good enough at their previous job coming in, and then being sacked again pretty quickly, is unfortunately just a part and parcel of football at the moment.

Some will be successful, some won’t, the only constant being the fact that the fans will always be there.

Best of luck to Dougie Freedman - a player who scored at my first ever Forest match, back in October 1998 - enjoy it while it lasts.