Primed and ready to go in limited edition hi-vis as the Championship season kicks off with a trip down the M69 to Coventry on Sunday, there has been a build up of both anticipation and excitement amongst supporters like me. There are some encouraging signs heading into this new campaign not just with the kit launches but with Dane Murphy entering through the door. After starting his career playing ‘football’ in the US, he has now emerged into the CEO role at Nottingham Forest and is hoping to bring success to The City Ground with the ultimate goal of a Premier League promotion in sight. He stated “I had Premier League offers, but I couldn’t say no to Forest” and his arrival has definitely uplifted the club and fans who are feeling far more optimistic about this season ahead. In the past few years, recruitment has been expensive, poorly judged and it simply hasn’t worked (based largely on pounds spent against ten years of playoff avoidance). From the interview with Murphy, you can grasp he recognises the importance of recruitment and getting it right, and he claimed “I believe in my short time here that we can become one of those clubs where recruitment is at the high end.”
With pre-season over, earlier than usual, partly down to covid which caused cancellation to friendlies v Burnley and Aston Villa, Forest are now looking to embark on a successful Championship campaign. But what would be considered as progress for this new season ahead? After a lower than mid-table finish last year, it’s certainly important to be positive but most importantly realism is needed amongst supporters who’ve remember all been here before. However as suckers for punishment, we always live in hope as Forest fans, the team that could advance is looking fresh (all be it familiar) faced and exciting with the transfer window still open and more developments still hoping to be made. Unlike last season where chances created, goals and creativity was a major issue, there is much more attacking impetus in the team now with the likes of Alex Mighten, João Carvalho, Brennan Johnson and a fully fit and firing Joe Lolley. The aim of this summer’s transfer window is to reinforce as well as recruit wisely and appropriately in certain positions. James Garner and a left back for example would be a start.
With a solid looking outfit of players going into the 21/22 campaign and a Manager who knows how to get out the division (the right way), only time will tell how well the side will do on the pitch and how consistent they are with results. Last season, Chris Hughton had his critics on his pragmatic and conservative style of play so it will be interesting to see how this season unfolds with the added attacking players he will have at his disposal. Generally, fans are just asking to be more on the front foot with a more positive outlook going into games; it’s also imperative for Forest to dominate games more especially at home.
Sunday will be the first game with a full away support crowd which there hasn’t been in a very long time, welcoming 3,800 Forest fans into the Ricoh Arena to face Coventry City at 4:30pm. Promotion may not be guaranteed but the buzz and ‘that loving feeling’ the team will get from the Red’s supporters will be felt that’s for sure!
*Article provided by Davina Bhakta (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main Image @NFFC winger Alex Mighten unveiling the new third kit is a player arousing high expectation.