Date: 3rd September 2010 at 3:18pm
Written by:

I`m a Doughty supporter, possibly because of my own personal Forest experience. My first year with a season ticket was 1994-95, Collymore and Roy taking us to third in the Prem, 4 points off Man Utd and the Woany/Stoney combo on the wings in full flight. From there, I saw us fall, and not under ND`s stewardship. I saw us fall out of the Prem under the cloud of Pierre`s disgraceful strike, and from there into financial meltdown. I was genuinely worried that the club was going to die.

ND steadied the ship, made mistakes along the way with appointments and the level of trust he gave to those managerial nightmares, and we did bottom out before we began our recovery. And make no mistake; we`re STILL on the upward trajectory of that return. Promotion back to the Championship, followed by survival, followed by a 3rd placed finish, all made possible by ND`s money. If there are a couple of stutters over the next couple of years, it`ll still be a remarkable comeback for the club.

My problem with the current wave of anti-Doughty hysteria is that it`s so conveniently timed and based on such subjective evidence. I know some Forest fans have harboured long standing grievances with our owner`s running of the club, going back into League 1 and the events that saw us fall there, but equally the swelling of this number has been fuelled by only one thing: the lack of transfer activity this summer.

Straight away comes the standard response defending their position from the anti-Doughty contingent, “but we failed to strengthen in the last two January windows either, he`s got no ambition/money etc”. For me, the argument falls down right here. We`ve gone after targets in all three of the windows in question (the ‘quiet` ones I`ll call them) and we`ve failed to land them. Before I can explain why I think this is a flawed argument, I have to bring up the AP, unfortunately.

Nottingham Forest Football Club is run a certain way. For a certain reason. Like many clubs in Europe, including most of the top Spanish and Italian sides, we have a separation of responsibilities at the City Ground, as you all know. A series of checks and balances to make sure we don`t overspend, and that we get value for money in the transfer market. The manager recommends, the panel decide on valuations, and members of the panel handle negotiations. This isn`t done in order to be overcomplicated and make it difficult to bring in players, it`s done to keep the club on a stable footing and ensure that we don`t live beyond our means. As Guin noted, ND already personally funds a significant shortfall in our budget every season , and if this were to get out of control, which spending more money without proper thought would clearly cause, the club falls into peril. For me, that is NEVER an option.

It also raises a challenge to the argument which has become a favourite over the last few days, that says that fans have been somehow duped out of money for their season tickets. If ND, a lifelong Forest fan, is putting his hand in his pocket too every season, then why shouldn`t we be? Why should our support be conditional on success, and his constant? And then how do we have the gall to call ourselves the proper supporters!?

All of the above boils down to a simple choice at the end of the day and from the feeling on the forum, one I`m glad the fans don`t make. Do the club move forwards balancing the books, as best they can, and trying to get us promoted from a sensible footing, or do they go all out, throw caution to the wind and pay whatever the cost to get players in through the door? When a club reject an offer, we should say “fine, add another million to the valuation we have of him, what does it matter?”. The general feeling of fans seems to be that we should be doing the later, which for me is a massive part of the problem in modern football: that unrealistic, short sighted fans put pressure on their clubs to make silly decisions for short term gain.

This is why I feel that the current wave of negativity, on the back of the club playing safe in the transfer market, reflects very poorly on us as fans.

I also wanted to answer the point of the CFFN going into voluntary solvent liquidation. This is a clear indication of our current mindset as fans. The club issue a statement, which they rarely do (and for me, rightly so, business should always be done behind closed doors), and it`s perfectly plausible. If the holding company no longer holds the shares, why keep the holding company open!? ND transfers 100% of the shares into his own name, and the company gets wound up. The phrase “administrative simplicity” sounds like a good way of describing that activity, however in the current climate, we`re trying to read something sinister in this innocuous couple of words, when there`s nothing there.

We have a wealthy, successful, lifelong fan at the helm, and we should be very grateful for that. Not demanding his head when our progress doesn`t meet our unreasonable expectations. When the foreign investors get bored of English football, when, as regularly happens, one of the other top European leagues rotates into the position of “best league in the world”, many clubs will be begging to be in our position.

After an average start to the season points-wise, but with performances encouraging, we should be supporting the club right now, egging the players on and looking to build on last season, instead of writing it off after 4 games and looking for a scapegoat before the fact. It`s only my opinion, as Guin`s post was only his, but I for one will be ashamed if I see protests at the Millwall game, and embarrassed if the Football League show get their chance to show us at our worst: our most unreasonable and short-sighted.


6 Replies to “Nigel Doughty – The Positive Side”

  • You make a good case for ND. But 18 fit players at the end of august suggests something is very wrong with how we (don’t) successfully execute the plans to get players. No problem with checks and balances, but it is hard to escape the feeling that if the club moved more swiftly and decisively we’d have got players before others moved in. That’s how clough and Taylor often worked.

    Hysteria aside, ND is a successful man so is surely smart enough to see when the way things are organised is not getting the intended results off the pitch, it is time to change things to make them work like our competitors seem to be able to!

    I remain ever the optimist, but there had better be some darn good loan signings or a few of us will be taking our boots along by Christmas!

  • great article and i prey that there is more positivity like it posted around the message boards next week before we face millwall.

  • I agree 100% about Doughty, he has made mistakes ie Platt, but at the time we probably all thought that was a good appointment. The club cannot survive without looking at its expenditure and I for one am glad it does. The players we have missed out on have either gone to the Premier League or there present clubs don’t wish to sell them, its as simple as that. We could pay over the odds for players to aquire them, say £4million a season should do that, that would equate to an extra £300+ for each season ticket holder. I can’t see a great deal of support in that idea.

  • Don?t know whether this article was written by Mark Arthur or not, but a little bit of criticism somewhere would have made it a little more believable.
    Firstly, apparently we (the club) are 40 million in the red. (owed to ND). So as far as I can see, that, after saying on taking over the club, that the priority was to get the club on an even keel financially, he has failed. Add to this the quality of football that has been provided over the 11 years (apart from many home games last season) including three years in the third tier I find it hard to believe that you are a serious journalist.
    As for the AP. Forest were bottom of the league when it came to close season ins, and outs. This after the manager had pleaded for some stellar signings for the final push to the promised land.
    Your and other fans constant defence of the indefensible will lead us only to more Championship struggles with the odd visit to league one.
    I’m all for positivity, but like to see some coming from the club. After Billy Davies took us further last year than anyone expected, the board have let him and the fans down after such a magnificent effort by him and the players.

  • I’m not a journalist of any sort Huey, only my opinion, as a forest supporter. Thanks all for the comments though, it’s obviously supposed to be an article to generate debate, and so the fans not currently pulling their hair out can take a breath and look at things from another POV.

    I would say though Huey that I mentioned us bottoming out, our years in league one, and whether or not we should ever have found ourselves there is totally irrelevant. It happened and he got us back out again. There is the argument had he backed Hart we’d never have been there in the first place, but if so then the time to kick up dust and demand a replacement was then, not now.

    As for your opinons on the AP, my comments talk directly about that. I think the AP work in the RIGHT way: they make valuations, they try to negotiate deals upto those valuations. If club’s don’t want to sell, then we don’t go above our own valuations of a player, we stick to our guns and don’t overcommit the club financially. Nothing wrong with that for me. I’d rather see steady progress, for example returning to the championship, stabilising for a year, then making the playoffs the next, and I think most fans would agree.

    Last time this happened the squad was then cherry picked of assets and they were sold on; that hasn’t happened this time and we’ve still got a strong squad and with a good season I think we’ll be playoffs again.

    I disagree totally the club have let us down. They tried to get who BD and the AP wanted, but unfortunatley we didn’t feel the players’ clubs’ valuations were reasonable, so nothing came off. I’d rather see money saved than wasted any day.

  • Spending money hasnt always proved enough (look at Boro) its the management and players interaction that counts. That includes ND who i beleive is the right person for the job, as he put his hands in his pocket this season? As he tried to put his hands in his pocket this season? As all the players he as tried to sign also tried to p[ut their hands in his pocket? Yes to all of them So we cant get the right players for the right money, well we will support and follow the Reds through thick and thin finishing mid table isnt a problem to me, yes i would love to return to the heady heights of the premiership. But not at a price of the club risking its financial status. Bottom line ND for me is doing a great job and as been doing it for a hell of alot longer than BD. Time to go may be but not for Nigel!!!!

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