by Daniel Widdowson

So it’s been a while since my last ramblings to The Cutter, and needless to say a lot has happened since then. So here’s a whistle stop tour of my mind… football related of course.

Nottingham Forest
We appear to be continuing our solid efforts to turn a football season into a true rollercoaster. Gone are the days of continuity and stability. Yet again I write in the Cutter speaking of yet another new manager. One startling fact snippet for all you number crunchers out there: when Forest take on Derby in a couple of weeks, it’ll be five different managers for the last five Derby matches.

Alex McLeish now holds the reins at Nottingham Forest and obviously this was met with mixed opinions. Personally I’m all for giving him the chance to shine, however what I’ve seen so far isn’t ideal, yet no worse than under O’Driscoll. Perhaps things will look up if we have a successful transfer window?

Who knows what the future holds for Forest, no doubt another season in the championship, more calls for the return of Billy Davies and yet more twists and turns in an interesting few years.

Notts County
Again another Nottingham club that seems content with the league they’re in, or unable to escape it. They appear to be steadily trudging along without doing anything spectacular. When they do manage to string a few decent performances together they somehow manage to drop silly points; much to the frustration of the fans who believe they are much better than League 1. The manager seems to be under constant pressure, although how true these rumours are is in debate. Early in the transfer window County lost their ‘best’ striker, Lee Hughes, and rumours have it that Alan Judge will be leaving shortly in this transfer window, so alas unless Keith Curle has some miracle signings up his sleeve I predict another League 1 season for the Pies.

Mansfield Town
Unusually I thought I’d touch upon a lesser spoke about club, mainly following their efforts in the FA Cup against Liverpool. Whilst I know little about their performances in the Blue Square Premier, I do know they fought well against a Liverpool side that were forced to battle for a win in the FA cup 3rd round. Mansfield had a number of good chances that they failed to put away, and it fell to an incorrectly given goal to secure the win for Liverpool. There has been much criticism towards Suarez for the handball which led to the goal; however the only criticism I have is towards the referee for not disallowing the goal. I do not believe the hand ball was intentional, and when you watch the replay he clearly launches the ball into the net straight after believing he had just wasted a great opportunity and fully expecting the ref to blow for the hand ball. Alas the whistle didn’t come, the goal stood, Suarez celebrated as he does every week, and received a torrent of criticism from Mansfield fans, the press and those who jumped on the ‘anti-Suarez’ bandwagon. However the Stags manager himself proclaimed he has little criticism for the Liverpool striker.

All in all then a mixed time for Nottingham football. With all three clubs out of the FA Cup and a challenging run to the end for the season; who knows what may happen. I can only guess that it’ll fall down to actions in the transfer window and a pick-up in performances on the pitch. Who knows, promotion may be secured by Nottingham Forest and Notts County, or we may be constrained to yet another season of stagnated frustration.