Expectation is the toughest thing to deliver on in football.

Nottingham Forest know that.

The 2018/19 campaign is not the first in which the Reds were expected to go well.

It is the most recent, though, and therefore the most important.

Those working behind the scenes worked hard to build this sense of belief last summer.

With heavy investment made, season tickets were snapped up in record-breaking numbers.

Optimism flowed down the Trent and washed onto the shores of the City Ground.

That was then, this is now.

The heady dreams of summer are threatening to become a distant memory.

Winter is coming.

Actually, it’s already here!


(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

The Forest fire has not been completely extinguished, but it is certainly not burning as brightly as hoped.

Were we expecting too much?

Former Reds star Garry Birtles has said in the Nottingham Post: “In today’s world, everyone wants something yesterday – not just in football, but in life.

“But the world’s not like that. That’s not the way things happen.”

Fair point.

But in the case of Nottingham Forest, will ‘yesterday’ ever arrive?

Martin O’Neill has been entrusted with the task of ensuring that it does.

If anybody can take the Reds to that point, surely an iconic figure from the past is the man to turn the clock back.

Birtles added in the Post: “Martin will know the form Forest are in. He’ll know the pressure is on to do well, and he’ll be doing everything in his power to make that happen.

“We’ve got to let him assess things, let him work on a daily basis with Roy Keane, his assistant, and the coaches and the players.

“The problem in football is no-one gets time to build anymore. At the moment we all need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

“We’re all desperate for success and when it doesn’t happen straight away, we get impatient. But there’s no danger of relegation this season and there’s still a possibility of making the top six.

“Everyone is desperate for promotion, but we have to take it step by step; give Martin time to build and assess.”


Time is not a commodity which many Forest managers have been given of late.

O’Neill penned an 18-month contract upon his arrival and made it clear that he intends to finish that agreement with the club back in the Premier League.

Why? Because that is the expectation.

If Forest do not finish in the top six this time around, then more money will be spent in the next window.

In theory, the squad gets deeper and stronger and better prepared for a promotion quest.

Belief builds once more and the cycle starts all over again.

Big things are expected of the Reds from those occupying seats in A block to the boardroom, but that is how it should be.

Nobody spends to stand still, while the managerial merry-go-round has been kept spinning in the hope that the right candidate will someday step off.

It is never wise to demand success or get ideas above your station.

But for Forest, they should be shooting for the stars because we have been waiting on yesterday for too long.

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