Hughton Out – Who’s Next?

There’s a tweet currently doing the rounds that states “advice”… “If you are looking to apply for the vacant Nottingham Forest Managers job, don’t do it”… A statement echoed by many throughout the football world, a poisoned chalice that is the City Ground top job, twenty plus years of misery, obscurity from the best league in England since 1999, endless Managers tried and failed, middle aged men harping on about ‘the good ol years’ whilst Millennials ‘sick and tired’ of their best ever Forest memories being average at very best, a playoff push that once ended with a Des Walker own goal at Sheffield United and a spell under Billy Davies that ended in similar fashion with a home thumping by Blackpool. Forest one of the few remaining clubs in the country never to play at the new (or not that new) Wembley Stadium… Mansfield Town and Notts County beating the Reds to play at the home of football…. Even I have managed to play there as a pretty crap amateur footballer!!!!

Chris Hughton had dignity, was a likeable man, still is, a good guy of football, but football is a results based business, his results were not good enough, end of story… No other argument for or against, 14 games without a win, got him the sack.

Questions whether issues lie deeper? Is the board/owners any better or worse than the previous board & owners? Are the players any better or worse than the relegation season team of 2005? Has the side ever moved on since the years of King Billy? I try desperately to look back where it all started to go wrong? Then I wonder ‘has it ever been right’?

Ironically the last time ‘we’ beat a Neil Warnock side in 2012, Shaun O’Driscoll was ‘sacked’ for beating Leeds United, since SOD departed, where many thought the rot kicked in, Forest have been through fifteen different Managers, it will be 16 when Steven Reid takes temporary charge on Saturday, 17 when the new guy (or girl) gets the job, that will be 17 Managers in just nine years!!!!

I suppose one promising factor, Neil Warnock who managed Middlesbrough’s win to see off Chris Hughton, may have lifted the voodoo on what happened to O’Driscoll post Leeds all those years ago as we look helplessly for supernatural signs to improve on our 24th place in the Championship table. It cannot get worse? Can it??

I sometimes wonder whether relegation would be a good thing? Strip everything back and start again? After all it worked for Southampton, Norwich City, Sheffield United, but it’s not guaranteed to work for us, and survival is key, if Forest are to push ‘one day’ towards the Premier League again.

And the man (or woman) chosen to do it? Well a number of candidates have appeared…

Steve Cooper, the son of once Referee Keith, a world cup winning coach of the England under 17’s and a man who did well playing football the beautiful way, at Swansea City, the man very much favoured by fans, owners, media outlets and bookies.

Chris Wilder is another name mentioned, photographed recently with a pint of cider (or perhaps it was just a large glass of fruit juice) whilst watching Matlock Town play. Wilder who knows these parts will take no-nonsense, he lost his way at Sheffield United after a couple of great seasons, but does his substance over style philosophy whet the appetite of the Forest faithful?

Another name up there is Alex Neil who was at the game last night, sitting in the stands like a hawk ready to pounce on its prey, little than ten rows up from Hughton on the touchline, Neil did ok with Norwich, did ok with Preston, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll do ‘ok’ at Forest? A lamb to the slaughter in the waiting perhaps?

Other names mentioned include John Terry and Frank Lampard. Eddie Howe is another but would it be a ‘gamble’ that all three need not take? The NFFC managerial job is known for being unforgiving, the club is known for signing players that the coaching staff don’t necessarily need or want, once a club gets a bad name for itself, it becomes hard to promote itself as something to attract top candidates.

Whilst Chris Cohen or Andy Reid could give an instant injection of garibaldi patriotism, it would be a huge gamble to go down that route, as it would with ‘another’ foreigner, Leonardo Jardim and Carlos Carvalhal all be it having exciting CV’s… But so did Sabri Lamouchi, so did Philippe Montanier, look what happened to them?

Whilst my gut says ‘go Championship’ and take the option of Cooper or Wilder as first pick, I do rule out that Wilder may upon interview either simply storm out or indeed punch Dane Murphy for insulting his intelligence, Cooper a better fit, but has he got the resilience to last in what is sadly becoming known as, the toughest job in football.

No doubt we’ll find out soon who it’s going to be, and maybe this time by now in 2022, no matter the division we are in, we’ll be going through it all over again with someone else!

*Article provided by Daniel Peacock (Editor).

*Main image @FLZomne Steve Cooper has emerged as the early favourite to take the job.

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