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Field Notes

Dispatches from the front line of following Forest...
  • West Ham might be planning on getting revenge for the recent 5-0 drubbing we dished out to them by poaching Billy Davies according to the Daily Telegraph. Naturally the news has surprised Hammers and Forest fans alike, although other names being suggested in the papers are probably realistic. Davies, after all, recently signed a long-term contract with Forest so wouldn’t be easy to prise away from the City Ground. Sam Allardyce’s days, however, do seem numbered and it could just be a case of lining up a realistic replacement for the West Ham board.
  • One person who will be taking a special interest in Allardyce’s future is the famous crying child who is apparently now a bigger Hammers fan than ever. Young Callum told his dead after the game, ‘I suppose I’ll have to get used to this’, which was prescient considering the result at Man City a few days later. Meanwhile other children threatened with the prospect of growing up as West Ham fans are starting to make their feelings known at a younger age.
  • Djamel Abdoun has certainly impressed in recent games and is hopefully settling into his football in Nottingham after an uncertain start, but comparisons with Messi and Ronaldo are probably a little premature. Meanwhile one columnist has sagely warned it would be dangerous to get too sentimental about someone who is clearly a mercenary with ‘flair for hire’.
  • Arguably more deserving of lavish praise than Abdoun is Jamaal Lascelles who has been named the club’s player of the month for December. Billy Davies was nominated for the Championship ‘Manager of the Month’ award but lost out to Steve McClaren. Hard to disagree after Derby won six out of seven last month, but happily they have lost both games of 2014 so far.
  • When you play an FA Cup tie on the telly, the nation’s press seem to suddenly remember your non-Premier League club actually exists – when you win 5-0, they are positively falling over themselves to write about you. The comprehensive demolition of West Ham on proper telly was a proud moment for all Forest fans, making John Percy’s comment in the Telegraph that the game was a ‘mere sideshow’ to Billy Davies’ siege mentality seem a bit silly. There is little talk of behind-the-scenes antics when you win 5-0 on the box!

    The unusual media interest in the game has allowed us to wallow in the victory in great detail, and there were plenty of talking points, from Abdoun’s penalty to Paterson’s magic touch, proving that the match was very much the main event.

    But if it’s sideshows you want, there were plenty of them too, with Billy Davies offering a journalist out for a pork pie race, while West Ham try to make it up to a crying fan. Meanwhile, as the London club’s owners offer their support to Sam Allardyce, at least one Hammer is not so sincere in his backing of the manager. Not so much ‘Fergie magic’ then, Sam?

  • One very welcome sideshow of yesterday was the news, shortly after the final whistle, of a new contract for Andy Reid. Reidy says he is absolutely delighted to have landed the new deal and that probably sums up how most Forest fans feel about it as well.
  • Oh, and Derby lost too. Even if today was supposed to be Blue Monday, the ‘most depressing day of the year’, we don’t think many Forest fans were feeling glum this morning…
  • After scoring a sensational winner against Leeds, Matt Derbyshire was sadly back to previous form against Reading yesterday, wasting a couple of late chances to settle the match, although he did redeem himself slightly by clearing off the line when the score was still 1-0.
  • Greg Halford may now have three goals in three games, but all of those have been headers. The team’s failure to take more chances cost us against Reading and if it wasn’t for Derbyshire’s wonder-goal, it would have cost us against Leeds too. Greg’s efforts over the last week or so have been sterling, but he is not the lesser spotted 20-goals-a-season striker and the message from Billy about new firepower remains loud and clear.
  • Forest might also need to invest in another defender as Hull City are reportedly pondering exercising their right to re-call Jack Hobbs. Billy Davies addressed the issue in his post-match press conference, saying the re-call clause could only be activated in case of an ’emergency’ at Hull, also confirming the intention is to sign him permanently. When Hobbs joined Forest in July it was announced that a pre-agreed contract had been prepared, though the post-Bosman transfer laws would prevent Hobbs from having signed anything formal at the time.
  • Former Forest youngster Patrick Bamford could be joining Derby on loan from Chelsea. The highly rated striker joined Chelsea for a £1.5 million fee in January 2012 after a decade in the Forest youth academy.
  • Former (as far as we know) club general manager, adviser to the board and de facto spokesman Jim Price is back on Twitter after a near three-month absence, though he claims he ‘never went away’. We’ve just asked him if he can clarify his role at the club, but aren’t holding our breath.
  • You don’t get much time to reflect on results during the Christmas period, which is a shame as the 2-0 win over QPR was certainly one to savour. Forest produced one of their best performances of the season. It could have been a disastrous team selection with Greg Halford as a loan striker, but the utility player is making the position his own with a goal and an assist (of sorts). Meanwhile book publishers are rushing out new editions of coaching manuals to include Andy Reid’s goal as an example of why you always play to the whistle.
  • Meanwhile, earlier on Boxing Day, all three teams at the bottom of the Premier League won, with Sunderland’s shock victory at Everton taking them onto 13 points. That, of course, means Derby’s record low points haul of 11 is safe for another season. Hoorah!
  • Leeds United come to the City Ground tomorrow looking to boost their play-off hopes, but they won’t find it easy as Blackpool and Reading are the only teams in the top half of the table who have beaten Forest this season and we seem to produce our best football against other play-off contenders. It should be a competitive game though as both teams take a five-match unbeaten run into the match.
  • Jim Price has now been removed completely from the club’s Who’s Who page, further fueling rumours that he has been relieved of his duties and begging the question, who will be handling Forest’s transfers this January? The Mail’s Charles Sale, who has been taking a special interest in Forest staffing lately, also reports that former administrator Jane Carnelly is considering an unfair dismissal case after she left the club last month. The alleged involvement of ‘unlicensed agent’ Brian O’Neil in recent Forest transfers is also under scrutiny. Forest’s response to these suggestions of wrongdoing has been, we are led to believe, to stop answering phone calls from journalists.
  • In another typically penetrating interview by Natalie Jackson, Billy Davies has denied a fall-out with the chairman, although the only source of this alleged fall-out is ‘social media’. Was anyone but Twitter sh*t-stirrers actually talking about this issue until now? Since Davies brought it to the fore in this clearly scripted interview, they might be. And speaking of things in the fore, why can’t Ms Jackson do a television interview without getting her bleedin’ head in the way of the camera?!

    Natalie Jackson's hair (and a bit of Billy Davies)

  • While Fawaz and Billy are still chums, sharp-eyed users of the LTLF Forum have noticed that there are some inconsistencies in what Forest are telling us about their staffing arrangements. When the Daily Mail reported that ‘highly respected football administrator’ Jane Carnelly was leaving the club [story about halfway down the page], the club denied it and said she was merely ‘on a day off’. Ms Carnelly has since been removed from the club website’s staffing page and is ‘currently seeking a new role’ according to her LinkedIn profile. Clearly this is not a ‘day off’, so why did the club deny she had ended her employment? The Mail draws a link between Carnelly’s dealings with ‘Football League rules and regulations’ and Jim Price, who LTLF notes has now been officially re-branded from ‘general manager’ to ‘advisor to the board’. It’s probably all perfectly innocent, but we can’t help wondering what purpose this veil of secrecy is serving?
  • Forest have announced that tickets for the West Ham cup tie on January 5 will be priced at £15. The game is being shown live on ITV and kicks off at midday, but hopefully the reduced prices will attract some kind of crowd.
  • Mark Collar’s excellent book Those Forest Men is now available in paperback priced at £12.95 (with further discounts being advertised on the Lulu homepage) and there is more exciting book news with an update on the forthcoming Pineapple Books Forest Almanac posted on the forum.