It’s never a matter of if but more a case of when given how Nottingham Forest get through managers. This morning, Chris Hughton became the latest incumbent to see the axe fall, and frankly everyone saw this one coming.
Seeing a manager who has earned a reputation for being a respected figure in professional football get the chop shouldn’t be satisfying. His tedious style of play had worn thin though and his press conferences borderline bizarre.
Hughton had the lowest win ratio of any of the post-Clough managers with the exception of Alex McLeish. Even Gary Megson oversaw more victories and that really does tell a tale in itself.
Given Hughton a smidgen of relief from criticism, the problems at Nottingham Forest run far deeper than who occupies the dugout. An article from Dan Taylor of The Athletic yesterday, laid bare some of the more gorier details from the club’s boardroom.
Time up for Hughton at Forest
Dane Murphy watched on as Forest once again hit the self-destruct button against Cardiff on Sunday. An immaculately dressed man, the American looked as though he had seen a ghost as Levi Colwill scored twice from the bench to send Forest to defeat.
Last night, Neil Warnock stuck the boot into the Reds again. A performance which perhaps wasn’t akin to his usual displays of gamesmanship and here in lies the problem. Can any supporter name a single defeat under Hughton where Forest haven’t rolled over and had their bellies tickled like a newborn kitten?
Forest have been limping around for months under Hughton. His unwillingness to abandon his 4-2-3-1 approach has been baffling. Quite simply, the Reds have rarely looked threatening during his tenure. Sitting on 1-0 leads has come back to bite his team more frequently and his tactics have stifled the club’s talented prospects.
And then we come to Hughton’s media trained lines during interviews. He constantly told supporters just how good our opponents were and fans had started playing their own version of bingo waiting for the words ‘fine’ and margins’ to be mentioned after another tepid defeat.
Of course, this isn’t all on Hughton. As previously mentioned, it’s perhaps high time for some other employees at the club to be answering some difficult questions. It has to be maintained, however, that other managers will see the current squad as an opportunity, rather than a hindrance. Certainly, the group of players shouldn’t be sat bottom of the league after seven matches.
Fan criticism has been justified. Meanwhile, Hughton can’t say that the club hasn’t given him a chance to revive their stuttering form. His negativity and approach to games has been shocking at times, with more emphasis placed on what the opposition can do to us, as opposed to vice versa.
Who next for Forest?
The real answer is who knows? CEO Murphy had a reputation for placing unknown overseas bosses into the hot seat at Barnsley. They came with a mantra to play exciting, attack-minded football but had little or zero experience in England.
Whoever is handed the job has work on their hands. Steve Cooper is thought to be on the radar, according to The Athletic and he does have a pedigree of working in the Championship.
Ultimately he coaches players to improve them, something which you could put a strong case together for Hughton not doing with a single member of his squad during his time at the City Ground.
Forest fans have questioned Hughton’s style and in seeing him sacked they’ve had their wish. Whoever gets the nod, as ever, deserves a chance to prove himself.
The immediate challenge will be to put some smiles on some forlorn faces. Nottingham Forest is a club in need of a lift and rediscovering that loving feeling must be at the top of a long list of priorities.