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A look at the contenders for the Nottingham Forest job

Tuesday 4th October 2011
In the light of Steve McClaren's departure, the hottest topic amongst Forest fans is who should replace him. While it is might be more important to be finding a replacement Chairman to take the place of Nigel Doughty, understandably the appointment of the manager is one that is easier to discuss and debate. So, this article is going to look at the names have been bandied about so far as possible contenders for the vacant managerial position.


Section 1: The Big Names and Club Heroes


Martin O'Neill

He was the clear fans favourite to take the vacant job. He has is high quality manager, with bags of experience and, most importantly to some people, he has a true love for the club having spent over a decade with the reds, and playing in our 1980 European Cup final. Sky Sports were reporting that O'Neill's assistant John Robertson, a man who needs no introduction to Forest fans, had said O'Neill was “open to offers” and “looking to come back [into management]” in a recent interview. Now, whether that is with Forest is very different story. Stan Collymore stressed the importance of having “Forest people” back at the City Ground, but he is an expensive option, who is easily capable of getting a job in the Premier League. I think he wouldn't want to work under the financial restraints of Financial Fair Play and not only that, he would bring a huge media circus with him, piling on the pressure.


Stuart Pearce

Another man who needs no introduction. He is the definition of a club legend, having played over 400 games for the club and representing England while doing so. Again, Pearce's appointment would fit in with the philosophy of getting “Forest people” involved, but again, there are a few sticking points that are very similar to that of O'Neill. He too is a big name, high profile manager. He is England U21 manager as well as assistant to Fabio Capello, which could add yet more barriers. It has always been unlikely he'd take the post, although if you want someone to get passion out of the players, he'd be the perfect man, but he doesn't seem a viable option.


Section 2: The Regulars


Dave Jones

Having been out of work since leaving Cardiff in the summer, it was obvious that Jones' name would mentioned. He guided Cardiff to numerous play-off campaigns as well as an FA Cup Final so comes with proven Championship pedigree. However, he is a rather unpopular selection amongst Forest fans. While he wouldn't be my first choice, we could certainly do a lot worse in my opinion.

Sean O'Driscoll

Having recently been put on gardening leave (rather unfairly in the view of a lot of football fans and pundits alike), and replaced by Dean Saunders, O'Driscoll's name has been linked to the Forest job. He has been in football employment 11 years, so has experience and in that time, he has had only two jobs, spending 6 years with Bournemouth and 5 years with Doncaster. This suggests he is a very stable option, something that Forest could benefit from, rather than a flashy, high profile signing. Also, O'Driscoll has typically got his sides playing neat, flowing, passing football, something both the fans and players would take kindly to.


Roy Keane

Another player with strong Forest connections, and another manager, like Pearce, who demands passion and drive from his players. However, despite being an excellent motivator and someone who would really get the players going, he isn't a good manager. At Ipswich he took 109 points from a possible 243, averaging a win every 1 in 3 games. While it isn't a horrific record, it's certainly nothing special at Championship level. While he is well respected by Forest fans, it seems it's for the best that he doesn't become our next manager.


Mark Robins

Another far from flash name mentioned is former Barnsley boss Mark Robins. He has a similar managerial record to Keane, having enjoyed success with Rotherham United and guiding them to 2 consecutive seasons of flirting with promotion, until a 17 point deduction kicked in. He moved to Barnsley in September 2009 and resigned at the end of last season. He is relatively young in managerial terms, just 41, and I'm sure would be eager to be back at Championship level, but personally, there would be a fair few I'd put ahead of him on my list.


Section 3: The Young Guns


Lee Clark

If it were up to me, I think Lee Clark would probably be the next manager of Nottingham Forest. He fits the bill for a number of reasons. For a start, he isn't a big name, which is important, because the media's lenses have been focused on the City Ground rather a lot recently, willing for Steve McClaren to be unsuccessful. Bringing in a big name, high profile manager will only increase the pressure and could prove yet another expensive mistake. Lee Clark is currently manager of Huddersfield, so we'd have to arrange compensation to get him, as we would with any manager current in work. With FFP very high on the Forest agenda, going for a manager currently without a job may be more likely. Clark has good knowledge of the game having played in the top two divisions of English football with Newcastle, Sunderland and Fulham and has proven to be a successful manager. He has guided Huddersfield to the play-offs as well as a 36 game unbeaten run, which includes both home and away fixtures. For me, I think a young, passionate manager is a step in the right direction to add drive and impetus back into the club. The likes of Swansea and Norwich have succeeded with managers in this bracket, and while Clark is by no means guaranteed to succeed, he certainly warrants a chance at a higher level. Unfortunately, he may be doing too well at Huddersfield. He may want to continue the good work he is doing and fight for promotion.


Karl Robinson

31 year old Karl Robinson is currently manager of MK Dons and is doing a great job. Despite never playing for a Football League club, he took them to a 5th place finish last year, and they currently sit in 2nd place in League One. He has been the bookies favourite for the last 24 hours or so, and while odds aren't much to go on, I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the running. However, he has stated that he is happy with his current job at MK Dons, but is flattered to be linked with us. While his success is astonishing for a manager who is so young, and had spells managing at the Liverpool youth academy, my fear is that he may be too out of his depth at Forest, and it is a much bigger club. But who knows, he may rise to the challenge, but I would personally have Clark over him, but I would not be disappointed if Robinson was given a chance.


Alan Shearer

The Newcastle and Premier League legend is a name that has emerged over the last 24 hours. While it hasn't been widely reported, I would imagine he could be a candidate that Forest may look at. He will have vast knowledge of the game and a winner's attitude implanted in him. It was reported that he was in the frame for the Cardiff City Job after Dave Jones left, but it was given to Malky Mackay instead. Shearer has only spent 8 games in management, in charge of his beloved Newcastle United. He took just 5 points from these 8 games and the club were relegated to the Championship. By no means was this his fault, Newcastle had endured a poor season. It's probably unfair to judge him after these 8 games, but he doesn't appeal to me. Being a great player doesn't mean you're a great manager, as we've seen with people like Paul Ince. In addition, he is also likely to bring a media frenzy to the club, something we don't really need.


Darren Ferguso n

This was another name being reported by Sky Sports; the son of managerial royalty and current Peterborough boss, Darren Ferguson. In his four and a half year spell in management, Ferguson has won 3 promotions, including back to back promotions in 2007/08 and 2008/09. He was then offered to step up and take the job at Preston North End, but endured a torrid time as manager as he contributed to the team's relegation to League One. He then returned to Peterborough and currently has them sat in 13th in the Championship. However, both Peterborough and Darren Ferguson have distanced him from a move away from London Road. Personally, I wouldn't have Ferguson. No doubt he's done well with Peterborough, but he was given a go at Preston and failed terribly which begs the question, can he actually hack it anywhere other than Peterborough. He seems to fit perfectly there, so that's probably where he's better off staying.


Section 4: The Return of the “King”


Billy Davies

When it was revealed that Billy Davies may be interested in returning to Forest in the interim to take over as manager, I was very shocked indeed. I'd spent all summer saying “he won't come back, he won't come back, get over it!” to the “Billy Lovers”. While, for a few hours at least, due to Twitter speculation, it seemed a possibility, it is looking less likely now. Evening Post correspondent Paul Taylor has said it is a no go. Firstly, Forest spent £500,000 sacking Davies alone, and then there was the expense of getting rid of his coaching staff. Why would Forest spend yet more money to bring in a manager who was said to have “taken the club as far as he could”? Secondly, the man now in charge of hiring the new boss is Mark Arthur, who had constant spats with Davies over transfers. Football owners, directors and Chief Executives can often be stubborn creatures, and I just can't see Arthur bringing Davies back (if it is even true that he wants to return). This will upset many fans that are blinded by this speculation so much that they can't look at other alternatives. For me, and a minority of others, would see this as a backward step. We need to be looking to the future, not the past. He did a fantastic job for us and totally transformed us into a strong, attractive footballing side and I thank him very much for that. As a young fan, the "Billy Davies years" will be an era I remember well and look back on fondly and I too admit, re-appointing Davies would bring back some unity and positivity back to the majority of Forest fans, but it just doesn't seem the right option. It was reported that the Forest players were keen on him returning, and Luke Chambers said it was “an avenue that could be explored” in a recent interview witht BBC Sport. However, not only do I personally see it as the wrong option (cue the abuse), it doesn't seem like a likely one either.


Written by James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301
James Bolton

Total articles: 29

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