Vital Forest Ed, Kev Finnigan gives us the inside track on his side.
It`s been a slow start for Nottingham Forest under Steve McClaren and following a 2-1 defeat by bitter rivals Derby County, the Tricky Trees come to the Vic`. Here`s what Vital Forest Ed, Kev Finnigan has to say about his side…What were your hopes, fears or expectations for the season?
When Steve McClaren was appointed, it was promotion. He was told he would be backed, but instead he has had his inherited squad dismantled to the tune of 10 players and only 5 (6 now with the 93 day loan signing of Clint Hill) brought in. Taking those stark facts into consideration, I will personally take mid table mediocrity as a great success.
Did you feel the time was right for Billy Davies to leave?
No. He never got on with the board, but he never has and probably never will at whatever club he is at. More fool NFFC for thinking they would. He delivers results though and he did with us. He saved us from certain relegation in his first season and then went on to take us to 2 consecutive Playoff semi finals. The appointment of McClaren appeased a lot of fans at the time and I thought his appointment would be a game changer for the club. However, in a very short space of time, the new manager has found to his cost that he is suffering from the same problems that held his predecessor back.
How do you feel about the appointment of Steve McClaren?
It’s far too early to criticise him in my opinion, but he is being questioned in some quarters after only 7 league games. He’s immune from criticism (from myself at least) due to the fact he has not been backed in the way he was told he would be. The blame for our current league standing, lies firmly with the board. Ignoring his time as England manager, he actually has a very good record in the game, both here and in Europe as well.
Where do you stand on the continued disharmony between board and management?
I think that’s fairly obvious by now. We’ve had the same owner/Chairman for the past 12 years and in that time he has appointed 10 different managers. The only constant in this clubs’ demise, is the Chairman Nigel Doughty. The one and only time he appoints a man that looks like he is taking the club forward, he sacks him and begins the slide downwards all over again. Until he leaves the club, or seeks additional investment, NFFC will always struggle. He could decide to invest in the team, but that would take a sea change in his current financial attitude towards the club.
Who`s the key man for you these days that we should be looking out for?
Ishmael Miller is proving a good addition upfront, but Guy Moussi in midfield will be a key player for us. When he is fit and on form, he breaks the opposition play up and distributes the ball well. If he plays well, the team tends to as well.
What sort of player have we signed in Joe Garner & are you pleased or saddened by his departure?
To the disappointment of many fans, he never really had a proper run in the team. He was hampered by injury, but was seemingly unfancied by the 3 managers he played under. When he did play, he was a tenacious character who was capable of scoring some spectacular and often very important goals. He always looked like a grafter to me, but he did have a couple of pretty unsuccessful loan spells elsewhere, where he wasn’t as highly thought of as he was by many Forest fans. I hope he does well and is able to get his career back up and running again. I think it was best for both parties, for him to move on.
Chairman Nigel Doughty says you are traditionally ‘slow starters` and has confidence you`ll come good – is this accurate or just chairman`s spiel in your opinion?
He’s actually correct for once! This time last year, we only had 3 more points than we do right now.
With that in mind, where will you finish this season?
If he stays! I do think McClaren will begin to pick up results, but we are going to have to find a settled side first. Once he has a system the lads are comfortable with and he has decided on his best eleven, I expect to be able to climb the table and finish the season midway.
Watford 2-1 Forest.
Hopefully that pessimism will pay dividends for a first home win, eh!