Nottingham Forest have made a habit of ignoring the ‘never go back’ warning that is commonplace in professional sport.

If one productive spell has been enjoyed with any given employer, then leave it there.

Embrace the happy memories and well wishes of supporters.

Do not try and earn any more.

It will only end in tears.

There are, of course, exceptions to that rule.

Forest’s record, though, with familiar faces is mixed at best.

Both on the field and off it.

For every Andy Reid there is a David Prutton.

A Stuart Pearce to counter every Frank Clark.


Original Image: Nottingham Forest/Graphic Design Beth Davenport

Forest, though, continue to tread that path.

European Cup-winning hero Martin O’Neill was brought back to the City Ground in January.

Amid much fanfare.

And with Roy Keane eventually slotting in alongside him.

Two men with Garibaldi in their blood – what could possibly go wrong!

The jury is still out.

O’Neill’s second stint on Trentside could go one of two ways.

The preference is onwards and upwards to the Premier League, with a standing as a club legend enhanced rather than slightly tarnished.

Questions remain though.

Even another of Forest’s Miracle Men, Kenny Burns, has stated in the Nottingham Post: “I’ve said this before, I’m not keen on players going back to clubs as manager.

“Stuart Pearce came back to Forest and it wasn’t a great success, Martin O’Neill’s been alright since he arrived.

“Generally, I don’t like the idea.”

Time is still on O’Neill’s side.

With more than enough credit in the bank to shrug off the odd doubter.



He did, however, take a calculated risk in retracing his steps.

As did the club.

Expectation around icons is greater than it is for your mere mortals.

For good reason.

These men are heroes.

They have, with their performances on the pitch or in the dugout, earned a special place in our hearts.

That is why the fabled ‘they’ sound so many warnings.

Sometimes those calls are heeded, and sometimes they fall on deaf ears.

We all buy into these gambles and hope for the best.

After all, nobody wants to see the legendary become ordinary.

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