A strange thing is happening with me and Forest this season, something I can’t begin to comprehend. I am looking forward to games; I am relishing every team we play. I don’t scour the fixture list scowling at a run of games I am convinced is going to derail the season. I believe this word is Optimism.
Every season it’s more a mixture of hope, or of a crushing knowledge that ultimately it will all go wrong. Even in League One, where it was a case of expectation for the first two years, followed by the realisation maybe we DO deserve to be here.
I am an eternal optimist with Forest. I always believe we will pull through, and I hate negative fans. But I am also a realist, I saw we weren’t really good enough to go up. A small part feared going up, that we would have been an embarrassment, we’d have been worse than Derby’s worst team in history.
Not anymore. The al-Hasawi family have given a healthy shot in the arm of enthusiasm, optimism, excitement and anticipation. I remain that realist though, I do concede that this is a hard division and I will not give in to that previous Forest fan symptom of over expectation that usually is the death knell of a manager’s career and our season. That and the fact we do still think we are a bigger club than what we are. Yes we have the history and the fan base, but really, we never had the funds, or the ability to bring those players in. This was a mill stone round the neck of many former regimes and managers. It has changed, for the better.
These have all been cast off in a summer of love at Forest I previously talked about. And now more than ever I look forward to games, not just because we have a stronger squad than I remember for a while, but the brand of football is also a joy to watch.
Make no mistake even in the best of the Billy’s days sometimes the football we played was agricultural against some of the harder teams to play, we’d adapt, and it might not be exciting. I think we all know under Cotterill, Kinnear, Megson that the football wasn’t just agricultural but positively Agrarian.
But now we have this perfect storm of good football, and good players = good results. It is every early days And I may regret writing something like this, but the feel good factor is back. As we get further into the harder sections of the season maybe it will seem a long slog again, but for now it feels like a very happy journey, not the hindrance that some Tuesday night games would feel. A game against lesser opposition isn’t just going to be a war of attrition of the emotions, as even if we fail to get that expected result, the probability is there was some pleasant football, and a sense of optimism. The poison that surrounded the ground at times last season in the darkest moments meant some games felt really unpleasant to be at. It wasn’t enjoyable. And I pay that money every year on my season ticket for pleasure purposes. If you look on any form or suchlike, they class going to football as a leisure pastime, something you do for fun in your spare time. It hasn’t always felt like that at Forest. Rather it felt like a necessity, a dirty habit, a vice.
Maybe it’s just been this summer of such success for British sport. Maybe I just have a feel good factor towards all sport. Enthusiasm renewed in the whole world of it. Or maybe it really is a new era.
I have spoken to few Forest supporting friends in recent weeks, and all of us agree that OK, maybe this season is too early to go up. However, the welcome change from what looked like a long slog of survival to a glorious season of passing glamorous football is all good. If we don’t go up, OK, we were entertained. And there will be next season. The real test comes 2/3 years in IF we haven’t made the Premier League.
There’s a generation of Forest fans now who have never seen us in the top flight. Even the last couple of times we were there it was largely unpleasant relegation battles. Let’s change that. And under the al-Hasawi's I believe we can, sooner rather than later, and in style.