Date: 8th September 2010 at 11:46am
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The much publicised, eagerly awaited, rather predictable and not to mention long overdue public statement from NFFC regarding criticisms levelled at the club by it’s own supporters has finally been made.

First things first, the club was damned if it did and damned if it didn’t come out and face the fans and at least attempt to give some sort of explanation for their inability to make a single permanent signing in the two previous transfer windows. With the exception of Radoslaw Majewski (he was already here on a season long loan from last summer), Nottingham Forest were only able to secure the 6 month long loan signing of Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand, in an effort to strengthen and improve the squad that finished 3rd in the Championship last season.

Forest Chief Executive Mark Arthur spoke through the NFFC official site and was answering questions from the clubs’ own Press Officer, Fraser Nicholson. Arthur explained that the club vigorously pursued Darren Pratley and Peter Whittingham, but their respective clubs’ simply didn’t want to sell. There was no mention of the offers that were put on the table by NFFC, just as there was no attempt to dispel the rumours that they were considered derisory, or that we just didn’t offer enough.

Mark Arthur also went on to defend the under fire and much maligned Transfer Acquisitions Committee. He said it was there to ensure we got players at market value. That we didn’t pay too much and that we got the right sort of player for the club. As on previous occasions, he repeated the fact that they would never buy a player that wasn’t going to improve the squad, or one that wasn’t better than what we already had. In short and without wanting to sound over critical, it was more of the same old excuses, with nothing to hear that we hadn’t heard before.

In defending criticisms aimed at Chairman Nigel Doughty, Arthur explained that for every pound the fans put in, he puts in 2 and that last season he dipped in to his own pocket to the tune of £13.4M. He also reminded us that Doughty had made an average investment to the club of around £5M every year since he took control of the club back in 1999/2000. There was even what could be considered as a veiled threat, in that the investments made by the Chairman could come to an abrupt halt, if the flak he is currently getting was to continue. I suppose it depends how you interpret his words, but some might take the view that Nigel Doughty has had enough and wants to offload.

The interview is freely available for all to see on the link above. Different people will have different views, but for me it doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Looking around the forums at the many responses from fans so far, I’d go as far to say it’s made them even more aggrieved than before the interview was aired. Mark Arthur has never been the most popular figure amongst Forest fans and I can’t see this doing him any favours on that front, but like I said, he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Mark Arthur has done little to dampen the anger and frustrations felt by many supporters with this interview and he’s also done little to dampen down rumours that we’re in the midst of being taken over. He might well think that both he and Mr. Doughty will be here for a good few years yet, I however do not.

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5 Replies to “Arthur’s Last Stand?”

  • Ok, for what it’s worth here’s my initial thoughts . . . .

    According to Mark Arthur there are only two players in the world that will improve our squad, that we can afford to buy or pay the wages. Except David Pleat doesn’t think they’re worth the transfer fee or the wages. I think this is going to demonise Pleat even further in the eyes of Forest fans. I’d still like to know how many lower league games he watches when he’s not writing for the Guardian on Premiership or commentating on Champion’s League matches. Davies has to take some responsibility but it seems he’s more concerned these days with being careful not to legal say something that will cause his employers to impose any severe punishment on him.

    If what he says is true and that they used the same process last year to acquire 9 players that they did this season to not acquire 2, that’s all well and good but it doesn’t escape the fact that there’s no plan b. Once again their pre-season mumblings suggested we were ready to push for promotion into the premiership. This increased season ticket sales, which showed the fans showing their commitment. They did not fulfill their part of the bargain.

    If there’s no-one ‘good enough’ to improve our squad to buy then who are we (if anyone) going to loan?

    Is paying half a million for George Boyd to be loaned to us for the last few games of the season not a waste when it could’ve been put towards permanent transfers / wages.

    He makes a very fair point about Doughty putting in twice as much as gate receipts. He doesn’t factor in all the money they make from merchandising, events , beer, food and other additional revenue streams. Forest fans aren’t doubting how much money he’s put in (and continues to) but asking why we did not bolster our squad with additional players for the second transfer window in a row (Majeskwi withstanding). Ok, that’s money-related but why boast about how affluent in comparison to other clubs we are and then act like paupers when it comes to putting our money where our mouth is.

    Mark Arthur has to be the worst person to ever address any issues PR-wise. This time he virtually threatens the fans with Doughty taking his money and walking away. Is that the hard-nosed attitude that has made Doughty such a success in the business world? I don’t think so. Doughty’s company specialises in investment, which at this stage seems more than a tad ironic. So, what happens if he wants out? Do we owe him all that money that he’s invested? Do we sell to the highest bidder. Considering that Doughty has invested something like £60m will he want to recoup most if not all of that? Of course he will, particularly if he feels he is leaving under poor circumstances. The simple fact is no-one will be prepared to pay that amount for a club with above average attendances, a ground they can’t develop who aren’t even in the Premiership, particularly if, as many predict, we’ll be in the lower reaches of the league come the end of the season. Doughty has Forest and the Forest fans over a barrel – this from a man who ‘has supported Forest all his life’.

    Where do we go now? It’s unlikely we’ll get anyone coming in to buy us out, so we’re stuck with what we’ve got; a regime that makes big promises but has taken us to our lowest ever ebb and then when we threaten to break back into the top flight shies away. Obviously, this is a rather damning view but in a time of bully boy tactics, how else are we expected to feel?

  • The only way Doughty can get back his 60 mill is to run the club successfully i.e. promotion into the premiership where revenues may exceed expenses and take it out a bit at a time or … run the club successfully (i.e. promotion into the premiership) and then sell it! The club’s never going to be worth 60 mill as a Championship outfit so to leave it where it is is to kiss goodbye to 60 mill. Doughty’s in for the long haul, make no mistake, unless he decides to cut his losses and sell now, in which case he loses the lion’s share of the 60 mill he’s put in! Don’t let Marthur fool you, Nigel Doughty cannot afford to let the club stagnate, he’s too far in already.

  • The Statement is a Great example of how not to do P.R. Marthur has left many questions unanswered…..
    – He hasn’t acknowledged that having the smallest squad of the promotion contenders is a real problem
    – nor that failure to plug the left back hole cost us automatic promotion
    – nor that forest were less successful than our rivals at strengthening.

    So, another own goal. Acknowledging the frustration would go along way. But misreading the right thing to do (empathy beats a combative response every time) only reinforces doubts not about ND but about him.

    That pleat Arthur and ND determine the limits of player negotiation clearly isn’t working as we are it seems misjudging the rate required to secure our targets and slow to tie up negotiations.

    Here is the statement they should have made….

    We acknowledge fans worries that the squad is not large enough to build on our success last year, and is smaller than our rivals.
    We are really disappointed we didn’t secure any of our targets and we’ve had a good hard look at how we handled the bidding process. We are making a few changes / we don’t think there is anything we would do differently if we had our time again, but rest assured we are absolutely committed to the club, and if the right loan signings and january opportunities come up we will be working incredibly hard to land them. All we ask is that we all pull together. Unrest won’t help us attract the best players, so give billy and the team your full support and we will continue to do everything we can off the field to create success on it”

    If only, eh?

    Frustrated but persevering.

  • Oh dear. Whata typical internet overreaction.
    You call for a statement, and when a reasonable response is given, to unreasonable soeculation, (or at the very least, the exact reply you all thought would be the case anyway) and you all go ape again.
    Football fans are like children, when they’re winning they’re on top of the world, when the slightest thing happens to spoil their perfect world, they want to throw everything away, baby, bathwater, towell & bath as well.

  • I’m sick of hearing about this now. Time to move on! We’re only 4 games into the season, and there’s every chance that we’ll have a better season than last anyway! We can’t force clubs to sell their best players to us, and at the end of the day there are many other clubs who are in a far worse situation than us!

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