I know it will go against the groundswell of opinion across the country – certainly in Nottingham – but I hold a twinge of sympathy for Steve McLaren.
Still tainted by that disastrous spell as England manager, he had to wait four years before he could get a job in England again and it has ended in acrimony after barely 100 days.
It seems that promises were broken by the Forest board, who, judging by McLaren’s comments, promised him greater funds that actually materialised. The much maligned ‘transfer acquisition panel’ also held things up, with head of that panel David Pleat leaving the club shortly before McLaren.
Not that McLaren is completely blameless – I feel a bit for Forest too. His desire to change too much too quickly riled some of the squad and some of the players he did bring to the club haven’t quite worked out.
His remarks over the summer that he was surprised he wasn’t offered a Premier League job suggests that he may have felt too good for the Championship, or certainly that no-one should question his methods at that level, bringing with it a stinging response from the players.
Between all this are the supporters, who have watched their team disintegrate over the past 20 years. Promotion from League One looked to have sown the seeds of recovery and Billy Davies did remarkably well to defy the football betting and lead them to two successive play-offs. But the board’s reluctance to back him when it mattered cost them at crucial times and sacking the Scot now – with the benefit of hindsight I admit – looks a horrendous error.
That said they began the season full of optimism and those who Bet on the Championship put Forest among the contenders.
But for Forest, after their nightmare start, it is back to the drawing board – both in the dugout and managerial level, this incident has fully opened up a wound that has been plastered over during the past few years when it should have been properly dealt with. Maybe this low can force change for the better.
For McLaren, this was a job he knew he had to get right in order to restore his reputation in England. Don’t forget he is a coach with a proven track record both before and after he was plunged into a job well out of his depth at FA HQ.
But, with this failure reminding chairman across the country of that soggy Wembley night in November 2007, it looks like ‘the wally with the brolly’ needs to head beyond these shores to re-build his reputation once again.