Date: 4th September 2008 at 7:17pm
Written by:

Having witnessed first-hand Wolves` 5-1 demolition of Forest at the weekend, I was left scratching my head for causes for the sudden change in form shown by the Reds since the midweek tie with Sunderland. The Black Cats are undoubtedly a stronger side than Wolves, and yet the two sides playing at Molineux looked poles apart compared with those on show at the City Ground a few days earlier. People will simply point to us being away from home as the major cause for the dip in form, but that doesn`t really satisfy me – it`s still eleven against eleven on a grass football pitch, after all.

The real cause for our implosion at the weekend appears to be a lack of leadership in the side. The average age of Forest`s team is well publicized. This may well bode well for the future of the club, but counts against us when under pressure away from the comfort of the City Ground. At times on Saturday, the Molineux roar as the goals went in was deafening. At 2-0 down, having been totally outplayed for the first half-hour, what Forest were crying out for was the captain to step forward and issue a rallying-cry. Yes, we were unlikely to go on and win the game at that stage – but the least Breckin could have done is bring the team closer vocally in an attempt to stem the golden tide that was ensuing. From what I could see, that didn`t happen. The players trudged back to the half way line with their heads down, whilst the Wolves players danced a merry jig in front of the jubilant home support, who were demanding yet more goals. A word in the ear of Luke Chambers, who had been incessantly skinned by Matt Jarvis all afternoon, or a tap on the back of Paul Smith following his poor punch for the second goal, would have worked wonders for the morale of the team. Our players gave the ball away with contemptuous ease, yet seldom were they offered either a hand of encouragement or the wrath of a teammate following such aberrations. At home, the players have the support of the 20-thousand strong City Ground faithful to help drive them forward, or motivate them to make that last ditch goal-saving challenge – something they cannot rely on at Molineux or the Liberty Stadium.

Whether that leadership should come mainly from the captain, or even the manager at the side of the pitch, I don`t know. Either way the message of team spirit and to dig deep when our backs were against the wall didn`t get across, either from Breckin or Calderwood. Indeed, to me, the one player who seemed the most vocal was Guy Moussi, the player with the least command of the English language on the whole field! Whether Wilson will prove himself to be a suitable captain and leader for the younger players remains to be seen. However, this is a problem that needs addressing, before these away-day capitulations become all too regular.

Thanks to Alex for a great article. If you have something to say about Forest, or want to write an article for the site, just contact forest@vitalfootball.co.uk.