After Saturday’s 5-0 thrashing by Derby County, Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies’ job is under threat. Will Ward believes he’s lost the players, the fans and, more crucially, himself
“When I first became manager of Motherwell I told the press that I wanted to concentrate on managing the club and that I’d only speak to them at a press conference on Thursday afternoons.
“But it was the biggest mistake of my life. I was only 35, it was my first job in management and they were all saying “Who does this young guy think he is?”
“I got a lot of people’s back up for trying to control the press but I soon realised that you can’t control them. Now I just have an open door policy where I answer questions at any time and I’m a lot more flexible in speaking to reporters.”
Those words came from the mouth of a young Billy Davies, when he was Preston North End manager in 2007. Fast-forward seven years, with one promotion to the Premier League under his belt, and the same man has lost all perspective.
A drubbing at the hands of bitter rivals Derby County is one thing. Blanking 2,700 loyal, hurting supporters is another thing. Turning your back on thousands more by taking the decision not to partake in an interview when the club is crying out for a leader to show some front and bottle, is frankly unforgivable.
The messy, disorganised display we all had to tragically witness included players out of position and bickering. We were watching individuals crumble before our eyes, in the same way Billy Davies has been voluntarily doing so for months.
As every week passes, the full face of the fiery Scot gets unveiled. The reason Nigel Doughty binned him, has become obvious to all. The more you give Billy to play with, the more his comfortable front-crawl becomes a desperate doggy-paddle, and the more out of his depth he becomes.
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The embarrassment of still having the man employed at our club is overriding any feeling of derby day humiliation. It’s a result that will be talked about for years – by both sets of supporters.
It was the day everyone connected to Nottingham Forest, to a man, realised exactly what Billy Davies is. The uninspired players. The apologetic owner. Pockets of the away contingent joined in with the thousands of jubilant Derby County supporters as they gleefully chanted “You’re getting sacked in the morning.”
Others turned to each other in utter shock. “He’s not thrown this, has he? Surely he couldn’t?”
We thought Billy would have something up his sleeve for this one. Everyone thinks he’s limited, but now everyone knows his armoury is severely lacking.
The deep, retreating tactics invited Derby’s dominant midfield to get on top of us. Their midfield was good. Ours could’ve been better, with a fearlessly positive approach born from belief and motivation. A siege mentality has been visible throughout the campaign and Saturday afternoon was no different.
The bizarre, dinosaur-day tactic of keeping all 11 men back for a defending corner was comically mocked by a shrewd Steve McClaren. Forest corner won. Forest corner cleared. A Derby County goal, within seconds with a swiftly impressive counter-attack.
He could only sit and observe. With his hand masking his mouth whilst he chatted to his coaching staff, filled with an unhealthy amount of paranoid self-importance. Nobody cares what you’re saying. The only way that will change, is if you’re saying it with a mic shoved in your face, justifying the trash you subjected us to.
As Davies was sitting cluelessly, the Forest faithful were aggressively chanting “We’re Nottingham Forest, it is what it is.” As our rivals smiled appreciatively in our direction, the emphasis and wider interpretation of the chant becomes evident in the execution.
The innocent will not be harmed. Forest fans are innocent, and I feel well and truly harmed. You’re hard-pushed to find someone connected to the club who’s not intent on hiding, apart from Fawaz Al-Hasawi. A man with class, constantly with his head held high – mirrored by his fellow supporters.
For years the City Ground goers have been divided, up until this point. For months, we’ve all wanted the Scot to improve. To adapt. To prove himself. For the sake of stability.
He is the most unstable man in world football, and now everyone is against him. He’s lost what it means to be a manager, and more importantly, he’s lost what it means to be Nottingham Forest.
Billy Davies is writing the script to his football managerial funeral. I, for one, do not want to attend.