Pre-season, and the summer months that precede the start of a new campaign, are meant to answer more questions than they actually pose.
However, Matt Derbyshire’s sudden realisation that he actually has feet – and is at liberty to use them –has been indicative of a rather intriguing four weeks or so.
All sorts of clandestine sub-plots, fluctuating from transfer targets to our strongest XI, have played out in some satisfactorily low-key friendlies.
I’m not sure how far you can read into ‘pre-season form’, but from a personal perspective, if we have a striker that has scored in four consecutive games, and whose performances are rich in vigour and effervescence, it would be counter-productive to discount him completely.
As fans, it is important that we aren’t afraid to lose face by backing Derbyshire. Indeed, this time in two months, he could have reverted to his old lamentable self… But what do we have to lose by being supportive?
It seems, if games against Chesterfield, Walsall, and second division Belgian sides are a barometer of performance, that Davies is still masterful in his decision making. Well, tactically, that is…
Like any poorly edited action movie, I’ll cut to the chase: Billy Davies is a circus. A wonderful football manager and a man who can undoubtedly get the best out of his players… but my word, he just can’t help but cause a scene.
This shouldn’t be news to anyone. From his first spell in charge, we all remember those ludicrous claims against Nigel Clough that he was ‘kneed in the back’ by the Derby gaffer, despite video evidence showing nothing of the sort.
Then there was the constant wrestle for power between him and the board, for which he used local media as the main weaponry in his arsenal.
Since his return in February, he has attempted to manipulate the national media as well.
His frankly bizarre idea of holding a ‘post-match’ press conference BEFORE kick-off against Leicester on the final day epitomised the lunacy that fuels the man outside of a purely football-centric environment. I suspect he’s also played a part in the club opting not to renew their contract with BBC Radio Nottingham, and their matchday commentary.
Away from the media (because, you know, I’d like it if I wasn’t banned from the City Ground), Billy also seems keen to make a song and dance about his transfer dealings; particularly potential incomings.
Neil Lennon is reportedly incandescent that Forest’s pursuit of Kelvin Wilson has been played out publicly and he has a point. It is all very similar to the Wes Morgan situation – although I believe there is a very smart agent out there orchestrating either a money-spinning move, or a money-spinning wage rise for our Wes.
Then, there is all the miscellany; bringing his lawyers to press conferences, attempts to issue pre-approved questions to a free press… and of course, referring to himself in the third person.
So, what is Tom Head saying here, then? Well, I can assure you, I am in no way opposed to Davies being our manager.
I’m desperate to enthuse that I would like him to stay for as long as possible.
Yet the side shows, and the never-ending pettiness that has made him so sorely disliked outside of Nottingham is unhelpful in the extreme.
With Davies’ short stature, frequent attempts to control the media, an adoring public and sheer contempt for anyone who is not one of ‘his people’, it has become glaringly obvious that we are now the North Korea of English football.
Forgive me for my devil’s advocacy, and opposing the grain of my own writing, but could all these ill-tempered, aggression-laden actions actually be good for Forest?
Think about it. We have a tremendous ethos, and a real sense of what this club represents.
Integrity and fluid football are just some of the wonderful things that Julie Andrews herself would spontaneously sing about, if she were a season ticket holder in A-block. We pride ourselves on honesty and morality. But what good has that done us, in the last 15 years?
Perhaps it’s time we sharpened our incisors, toughened up, and start fighting dirty.
Let’s upset a few people, let’s see who we can unsettle for our own personal gain. Let’s take some liberties – whilst sacrificing our sense of righteousness – and get what we want, by doing it however the hell we want.
Football in this day and age is more business than sport, and there is nothing uglier than the pursuit of cold, hard cash.
If we are to move with the times, we should perhaps be ruffling a few feathers along the way.
In Billy Davies, we have man who will pluck the whole pheasant. (Here’s hoping you read that last sentence correctly.)
The thing is, we are in a fiercely competitive league that, at times, can only be compared to purgatory.
We need a manager with a real ‘us against the world’ attitude. He needs to turn his 20-30 footballers into the 300 Spartans. He needs to make the City Ground a fortress so impenetrable, even Genghis Khan would think about getting the next bus home. You don’t achieve these things if you aren’t occasionally a nasty piece of work.
If we are to be successful, it would appear the image of our club will have to literally take one for the team.
I’ve no doubt Billy has some more moments of madness up his sleeve and, with an ego as big as his, and a bank balance as big as Fawaz Al-Hasawi’s, it will get feisty.
But, for every lapse off the field, there is a stroke of mastery on it.
It’s a testament to his coaching that he has even got Matt Derbyshire firing on all cylinders at the moment.
If we can stomach the odd embarrassment or two, any eventual success will outweigh the ridicule we are all but guaranteed to face.
Besides… Who doesn’t enjoy a good circus?
PICTURE BY: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.