With speculation about a new manager, as well as a chief executive and rumours of an investor, the 2016/17 season has already begun for Nottingham Forest
And so we reach the end of Nottingham Forest’s 150th anniversary, the end of another disappointing season and a summer of uncertainty.
As the owner Fawaz Al Hasawi confirmed last week we are still awaiting the appointment of a new manger and a chief executive.
Ideally a new manager would get a full pre-season to work with the existing squad and seek to add new players — particularly as the transfer embargo has been lifted. The backbone of the squad should be fairly settled but several names look likely to leave and there is the small matter of scoring goals.
As Steve Wright points out, we can probably field a strong first XI — with obvious injury worries — but after that some serious recruitment will be required.
#nffc best XI as it stands DDV, Lichaj, Mills, Mancienne, Pinillos, Cohen, Vaughan, Burke, Lansbury, Osborn, Britt. Not got much after that!
— Steve (@mistrollingin) May 9, 2016
Wilson, Tesche and Reid are all out of contract this summer — although the latter may stay on in some capacity — while Mendes, Oliveira, O’Grady, Macheda, Gardner and Jokic all return to their parent clubs.
Dougie Freedman still divides opinion but, if his time as manager proved one thing, he ensured we were solid at the back — only eight clubs in the Championship conceded fewer goals than Forest. A strong back five is a good start but, as we’ve seen in recent seasons, the defence is only as good as the midfield protection.
If we can utilise the likes of Mancienne and Vaughan in front of the back four again next season, then scoring goals will remain our problem. And what a problem it was — only the bottom three clubs scored fewer goals than us. In fact, only four clubs in the whole Football League scored fewer goals than we did.
So spotting another Antonio with the embargo lifted, a fit Assombalonga and — who knows — the return of Fryatt, things could be better next season. We can but hope, right?
Of course, assembling a squad is only half the picture. We’ve all seen what happens when a disinterested, unmotivated bunch of players conspire to derail a season… just look at Manchester City — what will it take for them to win? Check out Coral for the latest Premier League and FA Cup betting.
You need a solid structure, strategy and vision; something all the staff — and fans — can buy into. And that leadership cannot rest upon the manager alone. Stability doesn’t just depend on who the manager is, it depends upon the whole set-up of the club.
Appointing a manager is an important decision — talks with Gus Poyet dragged on, despite being the ‘favourite’, until he joined Real Betis — but the ongoing investment discussions could prove vital to the future of Nottingham Forest.
It’s been no secret that Al Hasawi has been seeking investment for some years and, after four years of mounting losses and diminishing league positions, this could be seen as a timely boost.
The Olympiacos FC owner Evangelos Marinakis is believed to have been in negotiations to take a majority stake in the club, with Al Hasawi remaining as chairman. This would obviously have a huge effect on the running of the club — and at a turning point when key appointments are required, next season’s fortunes could be decided this month.