Tom Head’s Nottingham Forest blog: Unfinished Business ... Forest Move on, By Returning to the Past

Tom Head
Tom Head

IN the last two weeks, I’ve heard the term ‘former glory’ more times than I care to mention.

And perhaps instead of considering the last two weeks, we should realise that we have heard this phrase over, and over again.

Certainly through my 21-year, and mildly entertaining life (I once met Rolf Harris), all the talk from incumbent managers and newly appointed boardroom staff is about getting Forest ‘back to where we belong’.

I don’t know if a lifetime of embittered disillusion has lead me to have such a sour taste in my mouth, but all this talk of restoration makes us sound like a decrepit old structure, that needs to be put back the way it was.

Quite frankly, it’s a small pet peeve of mine.

Why, I hear you ask? It may seem a little incomprehensible that I could find anything dissatisfying about the promise of Premier League millions, and in an even hazier daydream, a return to any sort of European competition.

Yet that is all it ever is - a promise. To deliver the notion that we could hold a candle to the team Clough assembled over the 70s and 80s, we would need to see some ridiculous gambles from our owners...

Gambles like sacking a very competent manager after five months. Like sacking the chief executive, head scout, and club legend Frank Clark from his ambassadorial role within the space of a week. These moves have so infuriated our fans, but the promise of ‘former glory’ seems to be the spectre that hangs over Nottingham Forest.

So it was no surprise, amongst the abject chaos the new year has brought us, that to move forward, we have had to take a step into the past.

Billy Davies became the latest name to play Al-Hasawi roulette, and may have called a few bluffs in taking a job that appears to be a poisoned challis to some.

Billy also used his press conference on Monday to talk about recapturing former glories. Here’s a wild idea that may ruffle a few feathers, but ultimately, it has a ring of truth to it.

We need to take pride in our identity as a club, as we are now. Not the one from a bygone era that has fully deserted football.

What we achieved was unparalleled and no-one is more proud of our history than me, but as mentioned, it was a one-off.

Far from a fluke, but just as far away is the ideology that we could one day replicate such triumphs. We had two decades of success, in almost 150 years of our history. We have no God-given right to be a top-flight team.

‘Future Glories’ would be lovely to hear. A vision of footballing philosophy, permeating every age-level of Forest’s squad, and understood by the supporters.

Doing a ‘Swansea’, if you will. We (Well, our mate Fawaz) threw away this chance on Boxing Day, but we are all aware that Billy Davies oversaw the best football we have played in the last 15 years. If we are to dip our oars in the rivers of years gone by, this is one of the more enterprising bits of time travel we can embark on.

With Billy, comes his baggage. Let’s be honest - he is feisty, arrogant, and very self-centred.

His interviews referring to himself in the third person are a manifestation of his, erm, confidence, shall we say? I personally don’t have a problem with his character, and in fact, I welcome it.

Some of the best managers in the world believe they are in the ‘top one’.

I believe we have appointed the right man for the job. He was not my first choice for the vacancy, however. I was banging the drum to see Paolo Di Canio come here, on the basis that he would befriend the chaos that stalks us at every corner: Every circus needs it’s lion tamer. Every asylum needs to be run by a madman. Any analogy where you accept insanity breeds sanity will suffice.

Realising I was one of very few people that would be comfortable with the ‘C’ in ‘NFFC’ meaning circus, it is obvious that not only is Davies the correct choice, he was very much our only choice. His appointment pacified the perplexed fans, and even the ones cautious of his return will accept he has proven himself before, and still has an affinity to Forest. That really means a lot to us passionate reds.

I know, I’ve made references to Clough and approved of hiring a manager who left us 20 months ago, whilst moaning about our permanent attachment to our past. If you read the blog of one hypocrite this year, make it this one.

I am just disappointed that we often treat nostalgia with a higher respect than a sustainable future. By all means, remember who we were, but do not forget who we are. The unpredictable, entertaining, and often baffling entity that lights up a league that possesses the same, afore mentioned qualities. We are Nottingham Forest, we are building for the future... In typical, unorthodox fashion.

Enjoy the ride. A lot of clubs don’t get the same melodrama in a lifetime, as we’ve had over a few seasons.