It’s been a good year for football fans on the south bank of the river Trent, with Forest fans treated to another playoff campaign by Manager Billy Davies. Forest’s fluid passing style has been great to watch this season. Brian Clough, a Nottingham Forest legend once argued “If God had wanted Football to be played in the air, he’d have put the grass up there” and the Reds took the great man’s advice throughout the championship season. Luke Chambers, the fans’ player of the year played an instrumental role in the team’s success, scoring six league goals and proving his defensive credentials to all those who doubted him last season. His sterling effort in the play-offs, coupled with Robert Earnshaw’s clinical finishing almost saw Forest through to a Wembley final, but it wasn’t to be.
The City Ground has not been short of action this season. Casting my mind back to a cold, misty December night in the Main Stand, my personal highlight was seeing the reds easily overcome local rivals Derby County 5-2 to lift the Brian Clough Trophy, which they retained at Pride Park a month later. Lee Camp has excelled once again between the goalposts and is steadily becoming a Forest favourite. Lewis McGugan has been a potent attacking force, bagging 13 goals for the club over the course of the Championship Season, including some superb long range efforts against Cardiff and Watford.
Davies has nurtured his young side brilliantly once again despite struggling with an ever decreasing squad size. He had to rely on youngsters Joel Lynch and Brendan Moloney, who each performed well when asked to fill in at full back on numerous occasions as the short-term loans of Ryan Bertrand and Paul Konchesky expired. Amongst the impressive loan signings for Davies was Aaron Ramsey, who lit up the pitch during his short rehabilitative spell at the club. The injury of Dexter Blackstock against QPR in November sparked a flurry of signings for Davies, who brought in Marcus Tudgay, Kris Boyd and Robbie Findley as cover.
It is undeniable that Forest still have a way to go if they are to compete at a Premier League standard against the best clubs in the world. Swansea City’s strong defence and ruthless attack magnified many problems which need to be addressed in the 3-1 defeat at the Liberty Stadium. A permanent left-back and greater amount of strength in depth is clearly necessary for further progression in the football league. Siphiwe Tshabalala (who became a global icon for a while after scoring the opening goal of the 2010 World Cup for South Africa,) Calum Davenport and Danny Guthrie have been strongly linked with a move to West Bridgeford this season so these will doubtlessly be the ones to watch over the summer.
IMPACT will be starting up a Nottingham Forest blog next semester to go hand-in-hand with our County blog. Check back at www.impactnottingham.com in September for more on all things Forest!