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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Access All Area's : Propaganda Tool?

Ok the nature of this piece is going to be a critique and a moan if you will, but first off I do appreciate the new openness of the club, and inviting in the cameras and Natalie Jackson to talk candidly about the club and peoples desires for the club and where to take it.

That said it does merely smack of spin. That since the great falling out in January and February and the calling into question of Fawaz ownership of the club this has been a big PR exercise to mend a few fences and rebuild a nice big bridge.

First off the whole spiel about this being an access all areas expose and insight into how the club is run is a little over the top on bravado. We didn’t’ see anymore than most other clubs would expose and any manager worth his salt will be putting in similar methods as Billy does. That I guess or employ a lot more people to assist in it.

The pains they went to show that Billy does love the academy, and that he goes to games and is trying to involve on the hand does dispel the rumours he was always against it, and that is good to see, but again it’s like we are going too far the other way to trying to prove it.

What we just had was the interview at Fawaz house. Now don’t get me wrong he said all the right things, but he was hardly going to get tripped or tricked into saying the wrong thing by Natalie Jackson. It’s not an uncommon rumour that Fawaz looked at Everton first and in that regard his whole I always loved Forest thing he sort of said (Ok he said Clough) was a bit farfetched. On the same hand if you’re paying (presumably the BBC didn’t spend our license fee on this) for a journalist to go to Kuwait and stay there, you’d sort of want control of the script. Because it was, those questions clearly would have been vetted with only a little artistic license for expanding on points.

The attempts to illustrate how rich Fawaz was though were a little disconcerting. Look at my warehouse full of (at least all of which red) cars, some of which worth vast sums. Look at my palatial manor, with the interview being done in front of suitably cool football wallpaper motif (not an obvious crass image, but still retro and suited enough to be regarded as kooky)

Yeah ok, I think the whole manner which this was tackled bothered me and like many fans I should just lap it up, but it just seemed like a political broadcast on behalf of Fawaz, bought to you by the one journalist Billy knows dares not write anything bad about him so as to not to lose her favoured position to get all his exposes.

I don’t think we needed that last part. I thing genuinely show the training and the efforts put into games but the last part really cemented it to me as basically Forest manipulating the BBC into showing the happy warm side of the arrangement. Get Fawaz to admit errors, look a bit furrow browed, but then make sure you say all the right things about the future.

I am firmly behind this regime at the club. I doubted Billy, and I did briefly doubt Fawaz, though I was never one of the great many people in January and February who decided he was poison (I saw one fan say he’s the worst thing ever happened to Forest, and had a bit of argument with another who ranted about how we’d been bought by the wrong group and should have waited, we couldn’t) But I don’t think we need saccharin piece on how the club is all together.

A number of people lap it up completely. Most I know seem to take some of it with a pinch of salt. I.e. we are only seeing what the club want us to see. But it did feel like a mini version of the much derided “Being Liverpool”

It clearly illustrates a new direction in terms of PR and media relations at the club following all the sackings; maybe it’s a good thing that there is clearly new openness. But there’s a line I think we sailed too far over. We don’t need illustrations of how wealthy Fawaz is; I simply don’t see the need. I haven’t seen other chairman doing this, and there is always a case of them trying a little too hard to prove this begs the question, why is there the need?

This new direction of utilising the media although clever is also firing a little off target. Any key element for me would be at least a little more self effacing, and Natalie Jackson is hardly the greatest journalist to ever forge a career. There are more capable people out there who could do that better job, but clearly aren’t the favoured choice of Billy, just look at the lack of Radio Nottingham pieces.

I am not trying to be over critical here before people suggest an unprovoked attack on the club. I am not that guy. It’s just a comment on how the facts and to a degree fan opinion is being moulded and manipulated in a very clever PR ruse. January and February have largely been forgotten now. Those question marks and frustrations forgotten and it’s not largely been down to spin, no it’s been down to success on the pitch.


Paul said...

Fair blog and of course its fair to say that is has all been a part political broadcast rather than true journalism. However, on balance I'm just glad that the club has taken its media obligations seriously and is trying to put right the omnishambles from the end of 2012 - surely that can only be a good thing?

Andy Chrich said...

To be fair its about time NFFC had a clever PR ruse/strategy but yes I can see why it did overstep the mark in some respects but then also perhaps the backlash of the sacking of SOD/AMC required this kind of response. It certainly seems the PR in recent months is a much more positive and that can only a good thing.

I do struggle to take some of the comments made in the interviews such as comparing length of service to Alex Ferguson - having sacked 3 managers in 6 months and the statement of buying any club in the world - it doesn`t really fit but then its still early days. It must be hard to justify investing capital of significant amounts when not in the premiership.

I find the exclusion of Radio Nottingham quite upsetting as they are what most fan`s who can`t make every game turn to for match day commentary and usually good analysis.

But perhaps only upsetting as for the first time in a long time it appears almost everyone is on the same page so why not include everyone. Lets not forget the Nataile Jackson is BBC after all and with all due respect she isn`t going to ask the difficult questions after a 1-0 loss at Burnley.

In regard Billy and the youth team sections. Its obvious this has been included due to all the negativity in the recent years but we`ll never know the real story and as long as it continues who can complain ?

In a nutshell its looks like a united Forest at the moment across the board.

When has this last occurred ? Well I was probably 12 years old and off to Wembley for the league cup final.

I`m not so sure we sailed over the line too far, in that, we have never sailed out at all before so we have some catching up to do.

For me the jury is still out but all in all its been mostly a positive start to the ownership and as I often remind people - we should be grateful we have a club to still support.

Simon Horton said...

It fits in with Billy's approach to the media of taking the spotlight off the team and generating an "us against them" mentality. I agree about the behind the scenes expose. It could have been any manager at any club but still better to see than nothing. As for the youth academy I don't believe Billy was against it in his first tenure. I just think he prioritised bigger name signings with the financial resources he had available. As for the spin I think it would have been essential if we hadn't embarked on this record breaking run. If we weren't playing quite so well combined with Fawaz's By Eck incident then the ownership would be getting a rough ride from the fans. But lets face it, if the team is winning then internal politics soon drifts towards the back burner. I must admit I thought Billy's address before the Bolton game was cringe worthy as the Billy Davies show rolled back into town. I just gave it the wry smile I thought it deserved. But lets face it if anyone can carry it off it's Billy.
And here here to Andy regarding still having a club to support.

Simon W said...

A good blog. I am a fan since 1968 and have been down season after season through good and bad. However, since Billy Davies was appointed second time artound I have stopped going. I have no regard for this selfish, arrogant man who has achieved nothing in the game apart from a play off final win with Derby. His CV is littered with "nearlies" and failure when it comes to the crunch.

It kills me not to go but I can see no other outcome other than a tearful and bloody ending. He has uprooted established office staff and at the end of the day, his success so far has been with Sean O'Driscoll's squad (and a couple from AM's reign)

I would like to ask the question, as to who is actually running the club on a day to day basis? No chief executive for a start. Who has replaced the 4 people who were sacked?

We are still suffering from BD's last time in charge - no youth policy, ridiculous requests to the board to sign players (Gareth Bale!!) and basically the manager with entirely his own agenda.

The sooner Rnagers knock at his door the better. Martin O'Neil would be a steady hand and build a club as opposed to the short termism of our present manager




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