The time it took me to decide between a chicken jalfrezi or a lamb korai was all it took for Nottingham Forest to replace Sabri Lamouchi with former Newcastle manager Chris Hughton.

As I sat in a local Indian restaurant deliberating over a meal choice, word came through that the 61-year-old serial promotion winner had been chosen as the man to take the team forward.

Immediately I felt relief. Lamouchi has looked and sounded like a broken man since he saw his team fall at the final hurdle last season, losing 4-1 at home to Stoke to miss out on the top six.

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My next emotion was that of sadness, akin to that of putting down a pet. You really don’t want to do it but you know that in your heart of hearts it’s the best thing for all concerned.

Make no bones about it Lamouchi will go down as the man who gave us, the Forest supporters, our most enjoyable season and our best league finish in 10 years. For that he deserves credit.

There were bumps in the road along the way but to say he arrived as an unknown quantity, he gave Forest supporters some memorable moments during his tenure.

Out the blocks

Rewind to September to 2019, Forest went to Stoke, fell behind early on but scored three goals to go top of the league in front of a sold-out away allocation.

 

Supporting Forest had become trendy again and away tickets were going in a flash. Wins at Swansea, Brentford, Cardiff and draws at West Brom and Leeds were signs that the Reds were heading in the right direction.

Lockdown ultimately cost Forest and their form after the restart was nothing short of abysmal. Two wins, one clean sheet and a shed load of comical injury-time goals conceded to deny a play-off place.

Hindsight suggests Lamouchi should have been asked to leave at the end of last season, of course, the board chose to stick with him and it’s all ended in tears.

A change of approach was needed but Forest were plodding on and even the influence of several new summer signings could arrest their slump from the tail end of last season.

New chapter

And now the club turns to Hughton, with the former Tottenham Hotspur player checking in just half an hour after Lamouchi’s departure had been announced.

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Forest have waited for quite some time to appoint a manager with the pedigree of Hughton. Perhaps Aitor Karanka provided a similar buzz but the Reds couldn’t really have picked better this time around.

His appointment has provided some light at the end of the tunnel and certainly, on the pitch, there is some optimism that the team can now start putting to bed the demons of last season.

A quick glance at Twitter since the appointment and you’ve only got to admire how respected Hughton is in the world of football.

Tottenham legends Ossie Ardiles and Graham Robers tweeted their congratulations, whilst former Forest favourites Stan Collymore and Jermaine Jenas backed the appointment.

Hughton doesn’t just have a good record as a football manager but he is a man who carries himself with elegance and has the persona of someone who players will want to play for. To be fair to Lamouchi he did have similar traits but not quite to the same level.

Blueprint

Despite Hughton’s arrival all perhaps isn’t still well in the minds of some Forest fans, who fear the lack of a clear strategy from the powers that be.

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In fairness, those supporters might have a point. Forest have signed 70 players since 2017 and as the old saying suggests if you throw enough mud…

For the Reds, not enough mud has yet stuck and another 13 players have been signed this summer – with the new boss keen to sign Anthony Knockaert before the window closes on October 16th.

Hopefully, this latest decision by Marinakis to appoint not only a manager as opposed to a head coach, but also to choose arguably the best man currently out of work at Championship level, represents a change of approach.

The board and the powers that be would, to put it bluntly, be better off butting out and letting the football people crack on with the football operations.

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Whilst there is lots to be unimpressed about right now, it has to be said that none of the current club affairs are through any fault of Hughton.

His remit is to win football matches and getting a couple on the board early into his reign will definitely help lighten the mood with supporters.

If he can do that over a prolonged period and get the Reds firing up the league, the biggest worry in the eyes of Reds supporters will literally come on a Saturday night when choosing what to have to celebrate another victory…

Is it jalfrezi or a korai?

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