“I’m here for 18 months, and if we can’t get up, I’ll gladly hand it over to someone else to see if they can do it.”

The words of Martin O’Neill at the press conference to accompany his arrival as Nottingham Forest manager.

A bold opening statement it has to be said.

Given that nobody has managed to hit that target in 20 years, to achieve it in 18 months is ambitious.

That, though, is precisely what the Reds have to be.

The Premier League is where everybody associated with the club believe they belong.

It is difficult to argue that case though when spending two decades on the outside looking in.

O’Neill is fully aware of his remit and intends to deliver on it.

He has overseen an upturn in fortune and mood since inheriting the reins and his focus will not be shifted.


(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

“I really am enjoying it,” he said in the Nottingham Post after a month at the helm.

“Naturally there is expectation at this club and there has been for some considerable time, I suppose.

“Like a number of big clubs in this division, we feel we have been here for a little too long.

“It has been a fairly lengthy time since this club plied its trade in the big league. I would like to see if I can do something about that, in the foreseeable future.”

There would be a certain sense of all being right in the world if O’Neill were to be the man to deliver the ultimate prize.

A European Cup hero, a man who scaled the highest of highs in his playing days returning to his spiritual home to get the job done.

Frank Clark succeeded in that mission back in 1994.

Who is to say that O’Neill cannot do likewise?

There is, of course, a long way to go before then.


Having spent over five years out of the club coaching game, O’Neill is almost learning on the job.

He added in the Post: “At international level you have the players for a short period of time and it can be all systems go for eight or ten days..

“The time it was like club football was when we qualified for the Euros and we got to France and had the players for four, five or six weeks, working on a daily basis.

“But you are right, it has been a length of time away and it [club football] does take a wee bit of getting used to – but not that much.”

Fortunately, O’Neill has plenty of prior experience to fall back on.

Much of that has been collected while rubbing shoulders with the elite of English football – both as a player and boss.

That is where he feels comfortable.

It is where Forest intend to be.

How much longer will we have to wait before we all get what we want?

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