Nottingham Forest have this morning confirmed, via their official website, that boss Aitor Karanka has departed the City Ground.
The Spaniard leaves with the Reds seventh in the Championship and four points adrift of the playoff places.
Karanka’s departure has seemingly been on the cards since the Boxing Day draw at Norwich City which saw the Reds throw away a three-goal lead, with news surfacing afterwards, via The Telegraph, that a change could be made.
From the perspective of a long-suffering supporter the decision represents a real shame.
Wiping the slate clean
For starters, Karanka oversaw a large turnover of players.
From the moment he walked through the door on Trentside he set about replacing average with capable.
After guiding the Reds to survival, the summer was always going to be a pivotal time for the boss; with promotion firmly the objective from the owner.
No fewer than 17 new players arrived, whilst 21,000 ardent supporters bought into Karanka’s project by buying season tickets ahead of the new campaign.
For getting bums back on seats at the City Ground after years of mismanagement, Karanka should take huge credit.
It is fair to say that the football wasn’t always pretty.
The amount of new recruits was always going to dictate a settling in period.
Top six contenders
Forest under Karanka, however, coped reasonably well, despite the influx of players to blend in and have sat in the top ten of the division for the majority of the season.
Highlights have included an away win at Middlesbrough, victories over Sheffield United and Leeds who were both top of the table at the time, and an eight-game unbeaten run.
A blip which saw the Reds go five games without a win didn’t help Karanka but not too many second tier sides go through a long season without a minor blemish.
Under Karanka the club became united once again.
The community became interested in Forest and, for the first time in years, there was genuine belief that good things could be achieved.
This morning’s news sees the club take a considerable step back.
Back to the realms of the unknown, back to having a trigger-happy culture and back to yet another new manager.
Supporters backing for the departed
A quick glance at social media tells you that the decision to sack a proven promotion winner isn’t a popular one.
Whoever the new manager is needs to hit the ground running; and not just on the pitch.
Building bridges with the supporters is going to prove a challenging task for the new incumbent.
It wouldn’t be the modern day Nottingham Forest without some form of drama, but Karanka’s departure just doesn’t sit right.
Time will tell whether the decision is the best for business, or another chapter of misery in the history of the football club.