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The Nottingham Forest Manager's Job – Not As Advertised?

Wednesday 13th July 2011
It's been yet another slow transfer window at the City Ground; with new manager Steve McClaren's only signing that of Andy Reid on a free transfer. Having seen 4 weeks pass since the former-England man's appointment, it's has been a reoccurring story of frustration for not only fans, but the man in the hot seat.

McClaren has voiced his concerns at Forest's lack of activity so far, saying: ‘Other clubs are showing their ambition, we need to start showing ours.'

This is an all too familiar story for Forest over recent years, with now sacked manager Billy Davies always vocal in his desire to bring in ‘stellar signings' to strengthen the squad. The argument over whether Billy Davies was backed or not was a controversial one, offering differing opinions. But one thing is clear, McClaren needs backing to a similar level Davies was in his first summer transfer window, and possibly even more.

As McClaren has said ‘Other teams are very active.' The Championship is a tough division, and maybe tougher than ever next season, especially for Forest, who appear to be lagging behind in the transfer market, with Leicester City clearly the front runners in terms of spending and promoted sides Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton making good signings in the shape of Craig Mackail-Smith and Jack Cork respectively.

But is the backing that McClaren requires a possibility under the current board? It seemed to be same old Forest when the club dawdled over the Davies sacking. However, the imminent appointment of McClaren just 24 hours later suggested a new hope of moving quickly and getting things done. Unfortunately this pattern has not continued, for most fans it's a case of ‘same problems, different season.'

A quote which interested me from McClaren was: ‘I didn't come here not to be competing for promotion.' Now is this a sign of a hunger to sort the problem, the fact McClaren is not flying out right away for the pre-season camp in Portugal could suggest so, or is it the disappointment in the Forest hierarchy that more hasn't been done?

McClaren wouldn't come to manage at Championship level if there wasn't funds available, so either the funds are available, but acquiring players has become a painfully slow task, or funds were promised, but the backing McClaren expected hasn't fully materialised.

One story that emerged online recently, which obviously could be completely untrue, is regarding Wayne Routledge and his proposed move to Forest. It said the medical was complete, the fee agreed and personal terms were decided on, which included a wage of £12,000 a week. However, when Routledge got round to signing the contract, Mark Arthur, Forest's Chief Executive, had stated wages would be just £8,000, a third less than the pre-agreed figure, which cause Routledge to walk away from the deal. If true, these are damning allegations. Maybe it's just the strong dislike of Forest fans towards Mark Arthur, but it seems to be a believable scenario amongst fans (taking aside the fact that Forest have actually managed to get someone as far along the transfer stage as the signing of the paperwork).

Forest central defender Luke Chambers has also had his view about Forest's transfer activities today, saying: ‘We've lost 9, so we need more players, simple as that. We know everyone is working hard behind the scenes, but the longer it goes on, the harder it is to get a good start to the season.'

‘We're looking forward to players coming through the door, because we've lost some very good players. For us to challenge again, we need to get some decent quality in.'

For the sake of the fans and the club, I hope McClaren, who appears a calm and collected character, isn't experiencing similar frustrations that the outspoken and volatile Billy Davies did in his dealings with the infamous Acquisitions Panel.

"I share the fans' concerns" - Steve McClaren



It is too early to say whether or not there have been promises not fulfilled, after all, maybe it is too early to be panicking at all. But it does appear there is some delay between manager and hierarchy at the club in terms of transfers, and the start of the season is drawing ever nearer. The club needs a lift. McClaren said: ‘You never know, we might bring 5 or 6 players in in the next week.' Let's hope so, because McClaren won't be able to impose tactics and formations on a squad of just over a dozen outfield players, some of which may not even be in his desired starting 11.

Just as the managerial changeover sparked into life after a couple of weeks of silence, let's hope the same thing happens with transfers, and that these few weeks are just the calm before the storm.

Written By James Bolton

Follow me on Twitter - @Bolton0301
James Bolton

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