For the latest in the Villains series of articles we are going come a little more recent than the previous ones and focus on the short but destructive tenure of Gary Megson at the City Ground.
Lets not forget that this spell as manager was not Megsons first spell at the club,having a short lived time as a player with the club under Brian Clough. he was signed in the summer of 1984, before Clough decided "he couldn't trap abag of cement" and after 5 months without an appearance he was moved on to Newcastle. Under such auspices legend are not made.
His management career before joining Forest had seen some success. He had gotten West Brom promoted before falling foul of the chairman just before the Reds, but had also had seen spells at Stoke (replaced when a new board wanted their own man) Blackpool (where he was assisted by now Manchester United assistant Mike Phelan) Norwich and Stockport.
Megson replaced Kinnear after he had lost fans dressing room and chairman support. Kinnear increasingly seemed erratic in behaviour, first saying all fans on the Internet were "morons" and then declaring the Derby fixture was just another match. Finally he said the club was too stuck in the past, which seeing as Kinnears success was with Wimbledon would be an alien concept to him.
SO for Megson the job should have been easy. Replace an unpopular manager, the teams already plummeting for the drop, so just steady the ship a bit, and if we go down, it will be seen as Kinnears fault mainly. Well that didn't work.
First was the simply laughable decision to place Gareth Taylor (already much maligned) in the centre of defence. After a successful cup run had earned the Reds around £500k which he was given to spend, he splashed it all on one striker. Step forward Mr. Scott Dobie. One of the greatest wastes of time in a Red shirt in awhile. He also,though probably correctly, complained at the lack of fitness of the players. Kinnear had relied on team spirit ethos like Wimbledon to succeed, whereas Megson was very much of the mould of getting the players physically right.These were two extremes which did mix well.
Unsurprisingly, Forest were relegated. Although fans hoped that Megson would bring us survival ultimately it was agreed he had inherited a rubbish squad anyway, with players like Rogers and Impey obviously just taking the wages and running. Players who were unpopular and had failed were transfer listed, Marlon King, Kevin James, Alan Rogers and Adam Nowland, but so too was David Johnson, which proved unpopular.
Then came Megson's signings to get us up. Nicky Southall and Ian Breckin proved to be successful, but Nicky Eaden, Gino Padula, Eugene Dadi, and Gary Holt would all proved ultimately to be failures. The team was playing horrible football, with some dire dire performances.
Then came Megson's strange gambit as to why the team were under performing. According to Megson there were dark forces at work in the club conspiring against him. This meant payers under performed, and that this was to blame rather than rubbish signings, strange team selections and horrific football. It was never explained who or what this "mole" was. Whether it was part of the board,the back room staff or the playing staff in unsure. It is true however that post-Megson the team seemed released.
What did come out afterwards is pretty much the entire squad didn't like Megson. His training regime was hated, the style of play was disliked, and getting rid of him was like a breath of fresh air. It certainly felt like for the fans.
In November 2005, Megson also broke off any dealings or interviews with the Evening Post after they suggested that the fact Forest were in the bottom half wasn't really evidence of someone doing their job right and suggested Megson wasn't up to it. That showed them Gary!!!!
Indeed, under Megson, I witnessed a possible low in my attending of games with the away defeat at Barnsley, on a damp dreary day. Forest were so abjectly bad in this game, that were started actually cheering with the Barnsley fans as there was no way you could support that team. Made even better by the fact Megson had to walk back to the tunnel right under the Forest fans unleashing a large amount of abuse his way.
Another low point would be at Yeovil, with Megson inviting in fans into the dressing room to give the post match team talk. What kind of desperation is that a manager resorts to bringing in two fans.The last reserves of a desperate man it certainly seems so.
One year after taking the role Megson resigned. A move he claims lost him £500k, ironically the money he wasted on Dobie. The team bounced back under Frank Barlow and Charlie McParland,and very nearly made the playoffs.
Megson went onto Bolton where he was also largely unpopular before being fired and now is manager of Sheffield Wednesday, who have largely failed under his leadership.