Left in doubt by Doughty
The word doughty means brave and courageous, an ironic fact given our soon-to-be-erstwhile chairman’s alleged timidity in the transfer market. Of course it’s easy to be so flippant when it’s not your own millions being frittered away on fees and wages, but Nigel Doughty’s chairmanship will be remembered for those times when a little more bravery might have seen him achieve his ambitions of Premier League status for the club.
Steve McClaren, we are told, felt Doughty’s unwillingness to gamble on two loan players’ wage demands last week was enough of an issue to quit, regardless of yesterday’s result and performance. Whoever takes over the manager’s position will be hoping that the new era in the club’s history brings more derring-do on the transfer market.
Doughty’s money, we are led to believe, will still be supporting the club, but a new chairman will be in charge of how it is spent. This seems an unlikely scenario and I think we are right to be concerned about the club’s future income, especially given the X million yearly losses Doughty’s generosity has been covering in recent times. If Doughty wouldn’t spend his own money, surely he’s not going to let someone else spend it for him?
The answer to this, and so many other questions raised by last night’s events, will hopefully be answered soon, but Doughty’s Forest are hardly famous for their transparency. For all we know, following the David Pleat fiasco, it may turn out Nigel hasn’t actually been chairman for the last 12 months and he’s resigning from a post he doesn’t hold. I jest, of course, but at the same time I’m pretty sure Doughty’s day-to-day involvement in the club was already at a minimum, so maybe this resignation changes very little?
The other irony is that Mark Arthur, the main focus of yesterday’s fan ire (including that banner in the Brian Clough Stand) is the notable survivor of this mass suicide in the club’s hierarchy. He lives to be scape-goated another day! Apart from the vacant manager’s chair, has much really changed in the Forest board room? For the moment at least it seems to be the same faces but with different job titles.
But conspiracy theories aside, let’s just assume that Nigel Doughty’s reign over Forest is coming to an end and that a new era is indeed on the horizon. The uncertainty is quite scary, but on the other hand we must admit that a change was needed. The atmosphere at the City Ground yesterday ranged from apathy to anger, neither particularly helpful emotions for your home support to have. Something had to give. We can’t be sure things are going to change for the better, but we can’t be sure they won’t either. I see no reason for despair just yet – at least, not until Peter Ridsdale or Ken Bates start making moves for the club. Things are pretty grim on and off the field right now, but for our sanity’s sake we have to stay positive about what might happen.
Finally, talk of a heroic return by Billy Davies seems fanciful, but I’m glad his name is on everyone’s lips because it reminds us that, if for no other reason than the disgraceful sacking of the feisty Scot which got us in this mess in the first place, Doughty’s position in the club was untenable. The events of the summer were a monumental f*ck-up and enough to cost any chairman his job. Doughty and Davies may not have got along, but they had nonetheless found a winning formula – in football you just have to put that above any personal squabbles. Axing the most successful manager in our recent history was a brave move, but sadly it really was the wrong time for Nigel Doughty to start living up to his name.