Time is a commodity few managers, never mind those at Nottingham Forest, are afforded in the modern era.

Martin O’Neill knows that.

Upon taking the reins at the City Ground back in January, he will have been fully aware of what his remit was.

Ideally, a top-six finish would have been secured, offering a shot at promotion back to the Premier League.

If that was to prove out of reach, then at least offer signs of encouragement.

Did a ninth-place standing deliver that?

Were the Reds looking any better than they were when Aitor Karanka headed through the exits?

O’Neill can, rightly or wrongly, argue that he was planning more long-term.

In his mind, the 18-month contract he committed to should have been the measuring stick by which to judge him.


(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Football, though, does not work like that.

O’Neill, who was relieved of his duties in late June to pave the way for Sabri Lamouchi’s arrival on Trentside, has told BBC’s Test Match Special: “Nowadays you have to have an instant impact otherwise people are saying ‘were not so sure about this’.

“It has to be instant.

“You wouldn’t even know the strengths or weaknesses of the first-team.

“You wouldn’t know whether there is a good reserve player coming up who might be good enough to play in the team.

“There’s no time – but that’s the nature of the game.”

As he acknowledges ‘the nature of the game’, O’Neill can have few complaints at finding himself back out of work.

His standing as an iconic figure at the City Ground remains untouched, with his legend safely secured.

More was expected of him though in the dugout.



This is not a sense of entitlement on Forest’s part, no demand for the former glories of O’Neill’s day to be replicated.

It is merely ambition being driven by those at the top of the club.

Evangelos Marinakis has made his vision very clear and makes no apologies for the fact that change will form part of his plans.

Forest, like many others around the world, have to accept that.

It could be argued that a revolving door policy has done more harm than good, with the managerial merry-go-round leaving heads spinning.

There are, however, plenty of other issues that have contributed to the Reds spending 20 years outside of the top flight.

The hope was that O’Neill could help to solve a few of them.

He couldn’t, so we all move on.

Short-sightedness can be considered an unfortunate trapping of 21st century life but, if they tread carefully, then Forest can ensure that the future is made brighter by big calls in the present.

Have something to tell us about this article?