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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Where Do We Go From Here?

Forest stand on the edge of a precipice right now. If nothing were to happen it’s quite logical we could end up plunging into economic meltdown. Rather like Portsmouth, and rather like ourselves before after Platt, having to jettison high earning players.

On the counter hand should the rumoured takeover that has rumbled on for a while, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future as these things aren’t concluded over night. The last rumour of the Canadian billionaire seems to have calmed down again, not meaning it’s not on, but its lighting up Twitter and Facebook as before.

Regardless of any rich sugar daddy coming in, we need to be sure of keeping the wage bill down. For instance Miller, Derbyshire and Greening combined take around £2.2 mill out of the budget. This is for players who come end of last season weren’t first team. They have largely failed. Now I still think Miller and Greening for instance with the right direction might start playing well, Greenings played at the top for a long time, and Miller is a powerful striker. However, simply because of their wages they need to move on. You can’t have people on those fees. For one I believe it breeds indifference.

If we remain in our state of flux, that’s money we could desperately do with. If we get taken over, well remember takeovers aren’t always as they seem. Even if we tried to retain those wages it’s still a drain on resources that if we did a Cardiff and continued to fail to go up, any chairman might become disillusioned and your left with large wages again like Portsmouth. It’s this legacy of paying too high wages left many clubs to plummet. Bradford case in point, all those funds made from the Premier League wasted on over paid indifferent players.

Yes, we could get this Canadian billionaire or any other from the great host of countries billionaires we were connected with (last count, 7. American, Chinese, Kuwaiti, Norwegian, Irish, Canadian) and that not be an issue as they will cover it, and at the end of the day as long as they are in place we can forget the long term planning, and just spend now. But this also goes against all Doughty tried to create of a self sustaining club with an academy rolling out fresh batch of top players. I am almost excited at the thought of with the new age of austerity that we will HAVE to produce our own players. Kieron Freeman, David Morgan and Jamaal Lascelles hopefully stepping up this summer. On the other hand, they do need to be good enough. Those 3 years in League One left us in a position where we were quite far down the pecking order for getting top youngsters to sign, and the legacy of that is only really clearing now.

So yeah, it is a vital time in the long happy history of Nottingham Forest. I say happy, it has been mostly. I feel this take over more than others before will define where we spend the next period of history. We need to avoid a quick cheap take over designed around selling off once we are up. There is no long term planning in this model. Cardiff and Leicester are examples I have cited many times before. Cardiff’s Malaysian regime wants to dispatch with the clubs history, and colours to sell the club to a Malay market. Are people there going to want to cheer on a mid range team. I have been to Malaysia and they all supported the at the time top teams of Man Utd and Liverpool, that’s probably been supplanted by Chelsea now. Why would they all now support Cardiff City just because they play in Red. Seems like the guy just wants his team to play in Red so is moulded the club as his play thing. A dangerous game. People get bored of toys. Clubs basing success on cash injections form sugar daddies rarely maintain success. They need to be a big club with a history of success to churn over the revenue, the shirt sales, and the gate receipts. Blackburn won the title but has never approached level of success with investment. New owners flashing the cash initially and then it drying up are more common then you’d want to know. That initial interest and excitement followed by a few years later austerity. Birmingham, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn, Portsmouth, West Ham, are all top level examples of false promises, or short term successes and long term losses.

Indeed look at the lower leagues and non leagues for teams who got investment, started spending, and when the money which seemed plentiful dried up, shrank away again. Non league for instance is scattered with these (usually a money laundering operation though) and the lower couple of leagues of the league structure. Scotland has its examples, in Livingstone for instance, but also the likes of Hearts. Clubs with money but no infrastructure to back it up are not going to succeed. You create a bubble that will burst. And the larger you let the bubble grow, the worst the explosion.

Don’t get me wrong, we need a takeover, we need new owners. What I am saying is we need to be careful what we get. Someone who is willing to carry on the good groundwork of Doughty, we need that money in to keep the players we have. But then we also need investment on new players. Not a vast sum. Some clever buying would see us right. We chased names last summer and that got us nowhere. Do as many of the clubs going up have done; buy League One or Two players, who are young and hungry. Have a couple of old heads to steady the ship, and go from there. If we need several loans, then so be it. It only ever seems to be a market we play in desperation, not as an actual tool for bringing in talent. We’ve proved its worth, with Guedioura, what we need is something like this over the whole season, maybe someone like Henri Lansbury. Young players at top clubs not getting a look in, wanting to prove themselves. We seemed to have been burned and chastened by when we tried this with Michael Stewart, but that need not be our whole reference point.

We still have good players. Talented individuals in McGugan and Majewksi, A solid keeper in camp. The defence is going to be unrecognisable and will need work, a chance for Lascelles to shine, and we have Blackstock up front. The wings also are ravaged by contracts expiring this year. What we need is people to fill the other spots. We need cover for Reidy who cannot do it week in and week out. Moussi is still solid enough despite having a mare at least 1 game in 4. He just needs a Guedioura alongside him. To keep him in check. Up front, it depends on what we do with Miller and Derbyshire, Harewood I assume is off.

This is football though. It’s never just as simple as this. Is it?

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