It looked like an uneventful weekend for Nottingham Forest after a 0-0 draw with Brighton but a couple of tweets and a newspaper report have changed the focus for the season.
Fawaz Al Hasawi’s decision to replace his cousin Omar as chairman on Saturday evening ‘due to personal reasons’ – and increase his shareholding to 75% – raised a few eyebrows.
Fawaz said: “I would like to thank my cousin Omar for all the hard work he has put in since I took over the club in the summer.
“I’m looking forward to taking over as chairman and intend to spend even more time at the club. I’m sure we will continue to go from strength to strength.”
What did it mean? And why the timing? We only had to wait 24 hours for John Percy to join the dots in the Telegraph to find out…
A couple of, let’s call them, ’embarrassing administrative errors’ has led to a boardroom shuffle which sees the majority shareholder take the reins of the club.
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Greg Halford confirmed last week that the players were paid on time (or maybe a day late but who’s counting?).
The winding-up order by the Wasserman Media Group (agents for Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen and Jack Wilshere among others) was settled last week, having been brought to light in the People the previous Sunday, but shouldn’t raise too much cause for concern.
Football League regulations require clubs to announce their payments to agents; Forest paid £204,200 in agent fees in the year ended 30 September 2012. Not forgetting the assurances the Al Hasawis made to buy the club in the first place and the millions spent on transfer fees.
And further investment has been made in the much-rumoured ‘giant screens’ and electronic scoreboard which should be ready for the televised Boxing Day fixture against Leeds United.
What is interesting is that the focus has shifted from a medium-term plan to a short-term one – promotion is now a target next year. Several players have already been identified as targets for the January transfer window and the missing pieces of Sean O’Driscoll’s jigsaw should be in place in the New Year.
The Championship remains wide open this season and with Forest, arguably, in the mix, a number of new players and a run of form could see a top six finish in May.
The debate rumbles on about whether O’Driscoll is ahead of schedule or underperforming – this is a particularly good thread on the Vital Forest Forum – but the thing that sticks in the mind is how things panned out at Doncaster in the early days…
Five years O’Driscoll was at Doncaster and though it took a while to introduce the style of play he had in mind – indeed a 0-2 loss at Scunthorpe in that period was one of the most woeful Rovers performances I’ve ever seen – the patience was eventually rewarded. We lifted the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. We won at Wembley… against Leeds. We reached the second tier.
Let’s hope history repeats itself…
Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net