Sacking it off

by , March 14, 2016

Dear readers,

You may have logged onto LTLF today expecting to see some light-hearted satirical photo-captioning or perhaps even a full-throated rant about the sacking of Dougie Freedman, whether for or against.

However, if this is the kind of thing you are looking for, I suggest you merely browse through the last four years’ archives, or arguably even further back. Just replace a few of the names and, let’s face it, it all amounts to the same thing.

This week we could joke about Fawaz’s trigger-happy nature or find something ironic to say about Freedman’s demise, but we’ve done it all before. What’s the point in endlessly rehashing the same material? It evidently doesn’t work for Forest, so why should it for LTLF?

This season has sadly pushed many fans’ patience to – and in some cases, beyond – the limit. Lifelong season ticketers have found other weekend hobbies and away game regulars have tuned their dials to Radio Nottingham of a Tuesday evening instead of jumping in the car. And it’s not like it’s been anything approaching the worst season in recent memory – a few weeks ago we were still dreaming of a late (if unlikely) dash into the play-offs, ideally at Derby’s expense.

The football has been unglamorous at times, but again, we’ve had worse. And perhaps the insatiable now-now-now impatience of the modern football fan has contributed significantly to frustration at a season where promotion was so unlikely to start with. But ultimately I believe what has turned so many Forest fans off the club this season – our anniversary year, for crying out loud – was the inevitability of yesterday’s events.

When you know the manager probably won’t see out the season and his departure will bring yet another backroom reshuffle and even more deadwood in the squad, it’s hard to work up any enthusiasm for the future. Saturday’s game was pointless if viewed in the context of this season alone, but you might have taken more of an interest if you considered it as a stage in the development of a long-term squad, the melding of the likes of Ben Osborn, Jorge Grant and Tyler Walker with experienced hands such as Chris Cohen and David Vaughan, with a single manager overseeing the group’s development.

Except we all knew it wouldn’t be that, and so it proved. Once again Fawaz has swiped left on his managerial Tinder as whatever on earth his standards are have not been met. It’s just such a tedious state of affairs, veering into cliché. On Twitter there is talk of a third Billy Davies reign. Much of it may be in jest, but aren’t we bored of that particular gag by now? The punchline wasn’t very funny last time.

When each manager’s reign is just a prelude to their sacking and the inevitable bickering on social media and forums (or wherever you prefer to get your fix of Forest-related dialectical discourse) that will follow, what is there to really get enthused about? Stuart Pearce and Dougie Freedman were both good men, if perhaps not as gifted managers as we’d hoped. So what’s next? Another good man inexorably moving towards the chopping block? Or an opportunist journeyman banking on a pay-off? Neither sounds particularly appealing, but with both our finances and reputation in tatters, it’s likely all we’ll get. (No, Scolari won’t come to Forest – another hoary old chestnut.)

I’m not ready to give up on Forest just yet, and I’m sure I never would entirely, but I hope you’ll forgive me, fellow Reds, for feeling utterly worn out by it all. Trying to support this club in a constructive way is like talking to a brick wall – exasperating to the point where you might as well start banging your head against it instead, for all the good it does.

So, sorry everyone, no roll-on-the-floor comedy material from LTLF about this particular sacking. That joke’s just not funny any more. One sometimes suspects Fawaz Al-Hasawi is only at this football club because he enjoys the attention – the occasional adulation, even – it brings. But like the class clown, office prankster or comedy night heckler who once got a big laugh but long since became tiresome, it’s perhaps best to just ignore Fawaz’s antics, starve him of the attention he craves and hope that eventually the message will get through.

As a regular correspondent to this site used to say, I’ll see thee.

But perhaps not for a while.