I have never in all my years of attending Forest known something that is going round the ground right now. That is a feeling of optimism and a wealth of good feeling going round the ground. Borne in part out of a 2/3 day period before the game where we signed Lansbury, Coppinger and Sharp it has more than put down a marker of what we are looking to do.
The fans before this game all seemed happy, optimistic, enthused. All words I haven't used in this manner on this website, but that I haven’t ever remembered before, maybe save for when we were destroying Norwich 4-1 in the first game of the 97/98 season. Campbell and van Hooijdonk and all that swagger, and even then it was because we were playing well, not just the off field stuff.
And it’s this off field "stuff" that is optimistic. Clever, non-flashy signings. We have spent less in 11 players than Blackburn has in one in Jordan Rhodes. Right now not one looks like a bad signing, or a squad filler. Each has their role. The players we have signed are all winners. They have a great number of promotions between then, whether League One or the Championship. That's a winning mentality right there.
And it showed, oh how did it show. In the first half especially we played football that was sublime. The main case in point is one of course the TV has picked up, the move which lead to Guedioura hitting the bar from around 10 yards. If that had been finished then close goal of the season now. I say that but McGugan's goals last week wants to argue.
And there’s another name there. McGugan. That constant figure of frustration. Obvious ability and not always performing. Well these signings have forced him to up his game, because frankly if he’s doesn't, well there’s now Lansbury and Coppinger as well as Majewski to push him, and that’s not mentioning the returning Cohen. An absolute wealth of options.
What we did see though was see Harding out of the team due to the birth of his child the night before and a reshuffle seeing Halford at left back and Hutchinson at right. The now familiar midfield anchor of Gillett allowing the other 3 midfielders, in this case Guedioura, Reid and McGugan to get forward at will.
It’s a vital few months for those positions. Majewski may well have to push on or be pushed out. We have options creatively now. Quite what Findley, Tudgay, Derbyshire and Greening are thinking, (other than taking solace in inflated wage packets) is anyone’s guess. They aren’t going to get a look in, and on past form neither should they. That's the old days. Relegation battling days.
All this said about swashbuckling passing football, the goal was pure power, luck and a calculated risk. There is always the chance when a free-kick is whipped in at such an angle as McGugan took it that if no-one touches it, the ball will fly in. It's happened for Cohen a couple of times, and also McGugan. So it's no surprise when he powers it across and it nestles in the back of the net. It looks better than what it is. The aim is that someone puts it in, but that if that doesn’t happen, the very real chance of a deflection or what happened, it flies right on in.
The second half wasn’t as good, but we still scored a quality second, when Blackstock flicked intelligently to Hutchinson on his first start to finish. 2 minutes prior to this my friend sat with me had said Hutchinson never seem to want to pass the halfway line, as he hardly made the runs we see from Moloney or Halford. Then he pops up and does that. But anyone who say MOTD2 last night knows that marauding Right backs aren't all that with the illustration of gaps left by Glen Johnson charging up field. All full back needs to remember that back part of that positional title. That said Hutchinson finished with aplomb and we had the safer 2 goal cushion
And that was good a job, because we needed it. Charlton, well they occasionally threatened, but not that much, but they got their goal when a Fuller header rebounded off the post, hit the back of Lee Camps legs and went over the line. They did have a few chances in the game, but ironically a Camp OG is what they got. And save for a brief penalty scare when the ball hit Ayala's hand, but in such a manner as to not be an obvious handball we were safe,
Chris Powell, who I always have time for as I think he talks a good game said it best after the game, he conceded there was no way his team should have got anything out of it, that Forest were the better team and deserved their win. Charlton fans, mostly on Twitter were also respectful and paid their dues to what on the day is a better team.
The only problem with this enthusiasm is that it's playing with my emotions. I am not used to this with Forest. It’s usually cautious optimism, followed by crippling deflation. This for now (taps wood) feels different/. Hail the Kuwaiti revolution.