All rosey for the Garibaldi?
There seems to be major concern regarding Forest’s ability to compete in The Championship next season if the club isn’t taken over from the Doughty Estate this summer. I believe we have little to fear. It’s true that gone are the days of big name (and big bucks) signings, but Forest have sufficient resources (both playing and financial) to be able to survive both The Championship, and the fallout of the untimely death of Nigel Doughty.
Below is a list of playing staff that realistically (and currently) will be available for the first team for the 2012/2013 season (I have assumed we won’t be re-signing any players out of contract). Alongside the player is their (main) playing position (GK/DEF/MID/FORW) and a wage grouping category I have placed them in. I will go into the mechanics of the categories in detail further down this article.
That’s a First Team Squad of 18. Seven short of the 25 we had towards the close of last season including loans (in and out). There are obvious areas of imbalance.
We have two goalkeepers, which is realistically all you need. Karl Darlow is highly rated and should be given the chance in the event that Camp be unavailable through injury/suspension at any time.
We have three full-backs of which two can play on either side of the pitch. Centre-back is the main position of weakness where we have the highly rated but vastly inexperienced Jamaal Lascelles as the only current candidate for that position. At least two new ‘established’ centre-backs are required.
We have a richness of central midfielders with five players all vying to make that position their own. Within that five we have players such as Moussi and Greening who can play the defensive ‘holding’ role. We have Majewski and McGugan that have the attacking flair and then we have Cohen, who can cover all positions and provide drive and energy in the middle. Where we are short in midfield is players that can play wide. Andy Reid is the only recognised wing player in the squad. Whilst we do have short-term cover for wide midfield (Cohen/McGugan/Moloney), we need a player that plies his trade wide right.
Where we do have an overload of players is up front. We have six forwards. Despite this abundance, we have no recognised 20-goal-a season striker.
In summary (and quality aside), we are at a minimum three players short (two centre-backs and a right-sided midfielder)
With the implementation of FFP and also the debt owed to the Doughty Estate, it is important that Forest live within their means. With 2010/11 gate receipts totalling £7M, I will use this as the basis of the income available for players wages, with other income (sponsorship, TV money, etc) being used to fund other expenses and running costs.
As stated earlier in this article, I have categorised player wages. I have done this because exact wages are not clear (I won’t take Football Manager as gospel!). This category is ‘Ball Park’ as I don’t know their actual wage, but have taken an educated guess based upon their age, career to date, when they were signed and the financial status of other clubs that were in for that player when we signed them. The wage for each category is taken as a probable average across those players within that band, so for Category 1 I have assumed that Miller is on 17k and Derbyshire on 15k, so averaged at 16k. This allows for a degree of error as I have deliberately erred on the higher side. This error factor also allows for me to have completely mis-called several players without making a massive impact.
Category 1 = 16k/week (x 2 players)
Category 2 = 8k/week (x 8 players)
Category 3 = 5k/week (x 5 players)
Category 4 = 2k/week x (3 players)
Using this calculation gives a weekly wage total of 127k per week which when multiplied by 52 weeks equals £6.6M leaving a mere 400k (8k/week) from gate receipts to spend on the minimum required three players. This is where FFP moves clubs away from ‘Chequebook Management’ and a manager’s skills at wheeling and dealing come to the fore. This is the opportunity to offload players to free wages up, or where this is very difficult to ‘cash in’ on one or two of our more saleable assets and replace them where necessary with players from the Academy, from lower leagues or to use the Loan system.
Forest are in the very fortunate position in that, although being in debt to a significant degree, they owe all of that money to the estate of their very generous benefactor. The estate does want to recover a proportion of that debt, but their only real avenue to do this is to sell the club. If the Doughty Estate were to force the club into administration, with minimal saleable assets at the club, the estate would only recover a small fraction of the debt. This would also see the estate moving against the wishes of Nigel Doughty who rescued the club from administration in the first place. Remember also that the Doughty family (or at least Nigel’s father, son and daughter) are still Forest fans, so you’d assume that they would resist this option.
In my opinion, FFP will actually benefit Forest. With larger than average crowds, and despite being away from the Premier League for 15 years still being a recognised and marketable ‘brand’, competitiveness shouldn’t be an issue. Forest may not be the attraction for someone looking to make a ‘fast buck’ from owning a football team, but they will be an attraction for a wealthy fan. Under FFP, investment (in whatever guise) will be optional but not be necessary. Yet there will always be the chance of promotion where money (and hero status for any owner) can be made.
So, in summary: Fear not Forest fans. Our future may be uncertain. All may not be rosey in the Garibaldi garden. We may not instantly be challenging for a place in the Premier League. But the future is not as black as some may suggest.