The Thoughts of Dave Morgan

Dave Morgan, a regular contributor and one of the more eloquent writers on the Nottingham Forest Electronic Mailing List, gives us his views on the season so far and what is to come:

I feel the strangest today that I have ever felt whilst following Forest.
Still being mathematically able to make the playoffs stops any massive
negativity from creeping in but the financial side of the clubs future is
far more worrying and is stopping me from looking beyond this campaign.

The media 'reports' about the 100 grand a week losses are true, of course,
and the court case will be decided on thursday however I wonder how many of
these 'Forest are on the verge of going down the pan' reports are simply
journalists putting two and two together rather than anything else. Only
time will tell I suppose.

The one thing we do know is that Nottingham Forest, barring any amazing run
between now and the end of the season, are going to be a First Division club
next year. We also know that a number of players will have to be sold. Will
the manager be there still? Only DP knows I guess. I still think it would be
in Forests interests to keep him on, but whether the man himself will want
to stay on is another matter entirely. If he sits down and works out that a
high percentage of the fans simply don't like him, anything he does is
criticised from one quarter or another and to compound matters he will have
to sell the bulk of the players he has brought into the club - and as for
replacements he will have to look at strictly bargain basement purchases.
Oh, and he will be expected to obtain automatic promotion too. Will he want
the stress? Especially if a club like Soton are sniffing around?

As for players to leave, a lot will depend on the actual nature of the
financial problems. Selling Prutton, Marlon and A.Johnson may provide 6m to
clear the overdraft for example. Not wanting to keep the club with high wage
earners could see the likes of Rogers and Scimica on their way. I personally
believe that even if it means keeping the wage bill slightly higher than
desired they should hang onto three of their senior players, Chris Bart
Williams is a fine captain and the clubs best player by miles - the
continuity of keeping him would send optimistic signals out to fans as well
as retaining an experienced player of quality. David Johnson who, behind
CBW, is probably our most valuable asset (in terms of transfer fee
recoupable) but could be spared as I don't think he is on a fantastic wage -
I say this as I remember Platt commenting when he came here that he (Platt)
was suprised that "there was no problem at all with wages, his (DJs) demands
were very reasonable, which is unusual these days". I also think we have
potentially a very effective strike force if we can also keep hold of Stern
John...his value will be comparatively low right now but his wages are
likely to be quite high, having said that he has shown that his form is
returning and if we are going to get any success next season we need a
settled strike force, and to be honest - these two look the most dangerous.

If we can keep Bart, DJ and Stern I wouldn't be averse to losing any of the
other senior players if it keeps the club ticking over financially. Having
said that, we WOULD need to strengthen somehow - even if it means picking up
players on the cheap. Would Ben Olsen come over again and play for 1st div
wages? If so, get him but I doubt it. Could we tempt Robbie Blake from
Bradford seeing as they will also be in the 1st div next season? Tommy Moody
from Watford is available on a free in the summer and has scored 19 goals
this season, couldn't we get someone like that?

The ironic thing is that we have really suffered this season, not by massive
inury lists but by KEY injuries. Put it this way, if we had played last
night with Ben Olsen and Alan Rogers on the wings and Bart and Prutton
feeding the ball forward to a 3 man strike force of Stern John, David
Johnson AND Jack Lester would we have created so little?

Destruction of the squad may be inevitable, however if we can raise finances
from the sale of most of our big earners I personal believe there will be a
sound enough case for retaining some of the key ones. After all, there would
be no football OR business sense in losing ALL our top players and
guaranteeing non-promotion next season would there?

As for the match last night, it sounded very much as if the negativity has
finally spread to the players. Only when 2-0 down and it suddenly hit them
that they could get hammered did they finally start playing (and realise
that with a bit of will we were easily the match for Watford). I don't know
how much this translates to football but I read this great book once called
'The Inner Game of Tennis' which is a kinda sports psychology book, anyway
in one chapter they have a coach who says that he was getting someone to
practice the serve but kept making the same mistake every time, no matter
how much the mistake was pointed out. Eventually the coach changed tack and
concentrated on something else and noticed that the first fault suddenly
disappeared. I've noticed it myself with snooker, if I think too hard about
my stance, my grip and suchlike during a match I lose all consistency and
form, but when I play well and make a few decent breaks it suddenly hits me
afterwards that I hadn't analysed my game at all - I had been playing almost
in a trance, instinctively. I bring all this stuff up because someone else
mentioned the possibility of 'too many tactics' being the problem and he may
be onto something here...

Platt has played with the team, formation and personnel largely dependent on
the oppositions tactics and these may well have been spot-on, and given all
the players playing to 95% of their abilities, could work every single time.
However - if a player is having to 'think' too hard about whether or not he
is making the right runs, passing to the right people, shooting at the right
time etc etc, it is quite possible that he will end up playing to far less
of his ability, and hence the tactic not working. Last night the tactics
switched after the second goal and whilst this would certainly have been a
directive from Platt, I wonder if its timing meant that the players suddenly
found themselves free of the 'exact' instructions that were delivered
beforehand and could therefore stop thinking so hard about doing the right
or the wrong thing. End result...the players able to play instinctively, use
a higher percentage of their ability and therefore play better!

If this IS the case then I'm not sure how Platt should proceed for the
remaining six matches. I'd certainly avoid trying anything new or untested,
maybe this is a good argument for the 'play 4 4 2 and just tell the players
to get out there and beat them' tactical argument!

Finally, as far as the optimists vs pessimists argument goes, I've always
been a strong believer that blind pessimism doesn't achieve anything other
than making a negative outcome easier to handle. But judging by how angry
and upset some of the 'pessimist' list members are after every bad result I
suspect that the on-list negativity is a mask, a way of venting frustration,
and deep down everyone remains optimistic that things will work out ok. For
that reason, maybe Bones should have a B.O.B.W.A.P.S.O.N club? (Bones
Optimist but with a public show of Negativity club) :)



View                       Sign
      uk_b_iaw_medium.gif (1683 bytes)                        

e-mail [email protected]