Nottingham Forest are back in the market for reinforcements and are likely to face plenty of the asking prices that have Trevor Francis baffled.

Martin O’Neill is pursuing fresh faces.

Evangelos Marinakis will make money available, as he has done throughout his time at the City Ground.

How much the Reds spend remains to be seen.

Sizeable investment was made last summer and more of the same should be expected.

Ambition is the main driving force here.

It is not the only factor driving expenditure up though.

Valuations have soared on the back of Neymar’s €222 million move to Paris Saint-Germain, with everybody from that level down quite literally paying the price.

The odd million no longer buys you an international star.

If you’re lucky, it gets you a useful squad player.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design: Beth Davenport

The situation has many scratching their head, with Forest legend Francis among those to have cast a puzzling eye over recent developments.

He was, of course, the first £1m man in English football, but that fee is now a drop in the ocean.

“I do think that the last few years it has gone ridiculously out of proportion to the point now where I don’t think anyone cares or bothers as much as they did when I was transferred,” the former Reds striker told Tribal Football on the 40th anniversary of his winning goal in the 1979 European Cup final.

“There was far, far greater interest with the first million pound transfer to the current transfer fees.

“With respect to the time when I played, footballers went for what I considered to be reasonably sensible transfer fees, today, I hear £20m, £30m and I’m asking the question: who’s he? I’ve never heard of him.”

Francis makes a fair point.

And a rather concerning one.

Can Forest find value in 2019?


(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Is O’Neill the right man for that job?

The mentor he has taken many managerial lessons from would certainly have been fancied to hold his own in a sometimes bemusing world.

Brian Clough’s recruitment record was far from faultless.

His partnership with Peter Taylor did, however, unearth plenty of hidden gems and Old Big ‘Ed is considered to have had enough about him to hold his own in the 21st century.

“He would because I think he had the ability and the intelligence to manage, in any walk of life, it didn’t necessarily have to be football,” said Francis.

“He was a leader of men. His style commanded huge respect and he think would have been a success certainly in modern day football.

“I’m not suggesting to you that he would have conformed to modern day ways, which are very, very different.



“I laugh at that [scientific approach] because I just cannot imagine anyone going to Brian Clough and saying: listen this what I think you should do. I know what would happen. The guy would be instantly dismissed.

“Brian Clough would not conform to some of the modern day means. I think about the media as well, he was great with the media, but on his terms.

“Today you get fined if you don’t turn up to after match press conferences, so I think he’d pay a lot of fines undoubtedly. Listen he had that talent and you never lose that.

“It’s like Alex Ferguson. When he started managing at Manchester United it was very different to the last five, six years of his time but he adapted and was hugely successful. And Brian Clough would’ve been the same. He was just a great manager.”

Clough continues to set the benchmark for those at the City Ground, and plenty of other venues around the world, with a man who once played under him now charged with the task of trying to bring in the right players, keep the media happy and deliver a return to the top tier.

Have something to tell us about this article?