In a move that epitomises the erratic nature of Al-Hawasi’s reign at the City Ground, Mark Warburton was recently appointed as manager of Forest, despite Fawaz having recently given the role to Gary Brazil until the end of the season. Is this decision one of the knee jerk reactions that we’ve come to expect from the infamous chairman, or is this move necessary to secure the Reds’ Championship status?
Before addressing the suitability of the Warburton appointment, we must first contemplate whether the sacking of fan favourite Gary Brazil was justified.
Although initially deciding to give Brazil until the end of the season to turn the Reds’ fortunes around, the board felt it necessary to prematurely end his stint as manager. There have certainly been some positives during Brazil’s short tenure in charge.
The convincing 3-0 defeat over high flyers Brighton, alongside the promotion of a number of academy players to the first team (including the likes of Ben Brereton, Jordan Smith and Joe Worrall), has earned Brazil considerable plaudits.
However, the inconsistencies that have plagued Forest this season weren’t rectified under the Academy manager. Poor losses at home against Brentford and then in the crucial relegation six-pointer against Burton have seen Nottingham’s position in the league deteriorate, with the side currently lying precariously above the relegation zone.
Many will consider the sacking to be harsh, and typical of Al-Hawasi; the only consistency of his reign has been the number of managers that have left the City Ground. However, I believe that the decision to relieve Brazil of his duties gives Forest their best chance of survival.
“Gary Brazil and Jack Lester have since been reinstated in their previous roles as academy director and under-23’s coach respectively”
A mixture of Forest’s poor form, having lost over half their games since the sacking of Phillip Montainer, and Brazil’s less than impressive record as manager in previous posts, especially his spell across the River Trent, in my opinion justifies Al-Hawasi’s decision. Forest are in real danger of dropping back into the footballing abyss, and the welcome boost that a new manager often brings to a side should be enough to prevent the Reds from dropping down a league.
Gary Brazil and Jack Lester have since been reinstated in their previous roles as academy director and under-23s coach respectively which can only aid the first team with the pair in charge of a highly effective production line.
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) March 18, 2017
However, is Mark Warburton the right replacement? I thought Warburton would be one of the principal candidates for the job at the end of the current season. Warburton has been largely successful in his fledgling managerial career, having guided both Rangers and Brentford to promotions, and also taking Brentford to the play-off semi-finals in their first season in the Championship.
This winning mentality that he appears to possess is a quality that the Forest squad are certainly in dire need of. Warburton is renowned for instilling an identity into his squads. His teams play high press, passing football, which especially paid dividends during his time in West London.
“Having this sort of direction will only benefit the Forest who have for too long looked lost”
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) March 17, 2017
“Both Rangers and Brentford were competing in the upper echelons of their respective leagues when Warburton took over”
Having this sort of direction will only benefit the Forest who have for too long looked lost. Constant tinkering with the formation and playing players out of position by preceding managers has often made the side look disjointed at times.
We know that the current crop of players should definitely not be in the relegation fight that they find themselves in. And I believe that Warburton will certainly be able to bring the best out of these players in the remaining couple of games, and in future seasons.
— Nottingham Forest FC (@NFFC) March 16, 2017
The major doubt about Warburton’s appropriateness for the job is the fact he’s never been involved in a relegation fight before. Both Rangers and Brentford were competing in the upper echelons of their respective leagues when Warburton took over. So his suitability for the relegation dog fight that Forest find themselves in could come under question. However, in my opinion Warburton should still have the ability to steer the club from the relegation zone, while also potentially planning for better things next season.
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