So far I have implored fans to keep their expectations at Forest in check. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that. So many seemed after the takeover to think we’d buy our way up easily in one straight season (many Forest fans still do). The al-Hasawi family preached caution; this is a longer term project that might see promotion in 2-3 years rather than straight away. Level headed fans pointed out we need a year to build a base to then expand upon.
However, there is a lack of pressure it seems from the national media. I am yet to see in any pre season previews anyone mention us in anything other than another season of struggle. No-one is linking promotion. No one is talking us up as ones to watch. No-one is mentioning us.
This purely means we can get on with business without the media camping out seeing if the Forest Kuwaiti circus is going to work. And why, because it isn’t a circus at all. It’s level headed sensible investment. Not like when Fulham spent their way through the divisions, not the attention West Ham got because of who they are. Nope, Nottingham Forest just isn’t interesting enough.
Blackburn is taking that circus mantle. Spending or being linked with players who will cost large sums. Added to that fact ridiculous quotes from board members about if they fail to win in the first 3 games Kean will be sacked (no pressure there then) and their whole implosion last season and the soap opera type nature of them, they are taking a lot of attention. Cardiff too with their bizarre twist in their takeover of changing the clubs identity, and signing Bellamy, who though good, must surely be on near crippling wages.
No, just not interesting enough because we installed a normal manager. No ex England boss spouting how promotions assured, talking about smelling the history. Not spending huge chunks of cash. McClaren and Eriksson got that attention last year; no-one is making that mistake this time.
Some have linked us with relegation. It seems lazy journalism and punditry, that they haven’t registered we have signed proven promotion winning players. The host of our signings have experienced going up, they know what’s needed. They are professional players, plying their trade as best they can, but in an unassuming manner.
To suggest we might go down is ignorant of what’s going on at Forest, a silent revolution after the initial flurry of interest after the initial “iconic” manager statements. A few papers or media outlets suggested there is no money; we’re a Portsmouth, taken over by someone whose wealth wasn’t actual tangible cash, but invested in property, shares, and commodities. We have probably spent between £4-5 million on transfers, with half that recouped by Gunter’s sale. The influx of sub standard Arabic players has not occurred. Some may come, but only if proven and only if can get the requisite work permits. Basically the exact opposite of what the Daily Mail said was happening.
And so only the Forest fans seem to expect us to do anything. Aware of the quality we have in the squad now. Definitely 2-3 players off a promotion winning side. There still lies a lack of strength in depth in defence, and a lack of width. Hutchinson from Chelsea may provide that cover, he can’t play every game, in a Ledley King manner, he has to rest and protect his knees. An excellent cover though nonetheless if he does come in.
It also means every other game isn’t being moved for coverage by TV, West Ham seemed to be on TV every other week last season, how annoying it must be to constantly get your games shunted around for TV coverage because the media either expect great things, or to revel in your failure, ‘look at the big club, the big spenders, the wealthy failing, isn’t it funny, let’s all laugh and watch.’ No we get on with it, quietly methodically, no-one expecting anything.
It deflects the attention. So that if and when we have a season of transition, then good, no-one expected much. Not like Leicester. Not like Middlesbrough. But if we do have a successful season, we can say told you so, because deep down we are all optimistic this season, it’s just that as Forest fans, we are so used to crushing disappointment that we keep it all in check.