by Katie B
I hold a special place in my heart for this club, wrongly some would say, but I always attest that you don’t choose what your heart bestows upon you. I guess sometimes it has a masochistic streak.
Because this era of Forest fan have disappointment engraved in them, football leaves those type of scars you see, any football fan can tell you that, some more than others. But that wasn’t always so…
Now I don’t need to tell you the story as the club’s history is its own proud narrator. The legend that was Brian Clough; the players from Storey-Moore to Pearce; the epic back to back European Cups; when all merged together it forms a rich and notable heritage.
And I ask myself, what happened? What went so wrong for this once upon a time European force, a force that stormed to domestic success as a supposed small club, to endure such a spectacular and prolonged fall from grace. For the River Trent to once more become a footballing backwater.
The surface answer is of course that Cloughie’s later years never matched those of times gone by nor did any one after that come close to matching his incredible achievements. And within that answer lies a deeper truth – that Forest will never again scale the lofty heights or come close to tasting again former glories without finding, grooming and, most crucially of all, sticking with through thick and thin, their modern Clough.
Now I don’t mean Clough the man, as that’s impossible – he was unique in every possible way. And should they be lucky enough to locate a manager with a tenth of his magic touch they can consider themselves two-time Lotto winners. But since he left in 1993 there has been a never-ending cycle of false dawns and clearing out the deadwood that were previously brought in to replace the deadwood before. No stability.
Football has changed in so many ways but one axiom remains as pertinent today as it did thirty years ago – stability is key. Without it you flounder. Without it you constantly chase your own tail and ultimately lose the very identity that once made you so strong. Even the great man himself didn’t bring instant success to the club; he was allowed to piece together a side that in time became greater than the sum of its parts. Even Clough needed time.
Whether Steve Cotterill has the nous and capacity to become the man Forest can entrust their hopes with remains to be seen but one thing is for certain – with new ownership on the horizon and yet another fresh start beckoning the club would be wise to trace through their illustrious past to find some of the answers required to enjoy a brighter future.