BBC BLOGS - Paul Fletcher
« Previous | Main | Next »

Billy Davies on Forest, Derby and the price of success

Paul Fletcher | 14:02 UK time, Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies never met Brian Clough, but he has had plenty of communication with the Clough family.

Clough's wife and son Nigel both made contact with Davies ahead of Derby's successful Championship play-off campaign in 2007.

Davies was Derby manager then and told me that "they were very supportive and wished me well. They made phone calls and did things that were very pleasing to me".

Derby won promotion back to the Premier League at the end of Davies's first season in charge but he had been sacked by the end of November with the club struggling to come to terms with top-flight football.

Fast forward 14 months and the Scot has followed Brian Clough's path in winding up at Forest after an uneasy departure from Derby.

The parallels have led to plenty of comparisons but Davies is very much his own man. Every time I have interviewed the 44-year-old I have been impressed by the clarity of purpose in his answers. He is crisp, concise and to the point. He speaks quickly but articulately. It is as if he is a man who knows where he wants to go and does not want to waste a single second in getting there.

Davies is also a very good football manager with a superb record at Championship level. He took Preston to the play-offs twice, reaching the final in 2005, before going one better at Derby.

Nottingham Forest boss Billy DaviesWatching him on the touchline, constantly imploring his players, shouting and pointing in this direction and that, he can give off the impression of a manager from the old school. And he definitely knows how to deliver a good old fashioned dressing down. A steward at one Championship club told me that after a shoddy first-half performance from his charges, Davies delivered a half-time lecture of a volume and anger unparalleled in the stadium's admittedly short history.

He has also gathered something of a reputation as someone who is prone to clash with the men in the boardroom. It might explain why a manager with such a good record at Championship level was out of work for so long during a period when clubs were shedding managers more often than a snake its skin. For the record, Davies is currently nothing but positive about the board at Forest.

"The board want to see the club move forward," said Davies. "I have always been very impressed with Nigel Doughty the chairman - he is a first-class human being."

Davies is certainly a fiery Glaswegian who faces a challenge head on but don't be fooled - he is also a progressive thinker and extremely practical.

During his time at Preston he built an editing suite in his house and spent his Sundays compiling individual DVDs for his players, analysing their performances and looking ahead to future games. He knew that players quickly became bored when confronted with too much dry analysis and attempted to enliven his DVDs with the use of customised soundtracks.

He spent several months travelling with his family after leaving Derby but during his trip across America he called in at MLS side Houston Dynamo to see how they work and, later, visited Juventus. Davies is keen to learn and constantly searching out anything that might give his team an edge.

"I had an excellent holiday but from June onwards I decided it was time to come back in to management," said Davies. "Managing in modern football is very difficult but it is in the blood."

At Preston he developed a team that was attractive to watch yet difficult to beat (PNE went a club-record equalling 22 games unbeaten during the 2005-06 season), but at Derby he showed his ability to adapt to the situation confronting him.

He became the eighth manager in five years and wanted to introduce a sense of stability. He talked of a three-year plan that was to start with a period of consolidation. The attractive football would not happen over night but he had an experienced squad with the likes of Darren Moore, Michael Johnson, Paul Peschisolido and Marc Edworthy. Davies focused on making Derby hard to beat and it worked.

Prior to Davies's appointment at the City Ground, Forest fans had concerns about the style of play their team would play if the Scot was appointed.

In time Davies is confident Forest will play an exciting brand of football. He told me: "We will eventually have a squad of players that we feel can play an attacking style that includes lots of movement and passing."

But having taken over in early January and with Forest towards the foot of the Championship table, he makes no bones about his initial assignment. The plan is to "keep above water and get to the summer transfer window so we can start from day one like everyone else". Forest are in a "needs must scenario".

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Davies carried out what he describes as a thorough period of due diligence before accepting the job and knows the squad boasts plenty of talented young players. But he claims "the table does not lie" and in the long term wants to "get them into a way of thinking where they can compete at the top end". This will involve bringing in new players, though Davies is keen to describe them as "wise signings", not necessarily older and more experienced faces as many have suggested.

His appointment certainly appears to have galvanised Forest. They have defeated Charlton and Plymouth in the two games since he took over and I would be staggered if the club were relegated.

This Friday evening Davies takes them to Derby for an FA Cup tie. It is one of those quirks of the draw and Davies says it is a game he is immensely looking forward to.Billy Davies celebrates winning promotion with Derby

Nonetheless, there is a hint of unfinished business, perhaps even bitterness, when Davies talks about Derby. A sense that some people did not appreciate what he achieved.

"Doing things on the right timescales is crucial," he said. "When you do it quickly you create a rod for your own back and ultimately end up losing your job.

"At Derby we won promotion after 11 months but some people weren't happy with that. We couldn't win games 1-0, we had to win by five or six and play 20 or 30 passes together but that takes years to develop.

"The message is some people are not happy unless they're not happy."

The hotel Davies is currently staying at is in Derby and he has been astounded by the amount of people who have stopped and thanked him for what he did. He expects the majority of the Derby fans to "remember the achievements" when he takes his new team to Pride Park. Then there are the others. Davies rarely halts mid-sentence but he does when he searches for a word to describe the minority who will not be so welcoming. He settles on short-sighted.

Davies sounds extremely sincere when he says that he wants Nigel Clough to succeed as Rams manager. "My first job was to ring Nigel and wish him all the best. I think he is a fantastic lad," said the Scot.

But when Davies gets on the coach and heads to the ground all the poignancy and history surrounding the fixture will be cast aside. "It will be another game that has to be won and we will do our best for Forest."

Because when it comes to a game of football nothing distracts Davies from the business of winning. It might just be that Derby's loss will eventually become Forest's gain.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    I still think Nigel Doughty has done a good job so far with us. He's not been afraid to spend when he thinks we need it (Earnshaw) but at the same time won't spend silly money and get us into trouble.

    I've got to admit I was a bit unsure of Davies, but everyone I've talked to outside of Forest has said what a top manager he is. Only time will tell but if we can stay up this year then he'll have done all I want from him.

    Best of luck sir, we need it!

  • Comment number 3.

    Billy Davies is a good coach, and earns the success he achieves, and I think it would be unfair of fans of Derby and of my team, Preston, to look on his spells in charge and ignore what he achieved.

    That said, whilst this article is clearly attempting to cast Davies in a very positive light, I note that his temperament is referred to once as a reputation for not seeing eye to eye with club boards as if he is just a loveable rogue, not the egotistical pain in the backside that he is.

    To say that he left Preston "under a cloud" would be a massive understatement, and as well as remembering his achievements, a lot of Preston fans also remember the sudden attitude he developed towards the club when he decided he fancied a pay rise.

    Good luck to Forest, they may just need it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Derby did not gain anything by sacking Davies and gettin Jewell in.

    I hope he does well there.

    A good club with good tradition and a great history, better then chelsea's IMO.

  • Comment number 5.

    Billy Davies is such a complex character - as a Derby fan I am of course appreciative of the good he did for us and the trip to Wembley to win promotion was amazing

    What was not amazing was him giving an interview on the pitch after the game umming and arring about whether he would be in charge for the next season

    What was great was the team spirit that he built which made us such a difficult team to beat

    What was not great was the £millions he spent on players who were just not upto the job in the Prem ( or in the case of Earnshaw - he never gave a decent chance to in the Prem)

    Two Cheif Execs left Derby County in the short time he was manager - this may well be confirmation that "he is prone to clash with the men in the boardroom "

    Maybe he is a more rounded individual now - if so that is Forest's gain - but there will always be a twist and a turn where Billy is concerned....

    Good blog Mr F

  • Comment number 6.

    Billy Davies is a great championship manager as his track record with P.N.E and our local rivals D.C.F.C but if/when The Super Reds get promoted to the premiership will he be out of his depth?

    And as a Forest fan i am worried about the amount of ex D.C.F.C influence that seems to be coming to the River Trent...Lee Camp, Robert Earnshaw and now Billy Davies....granted Camp became a legend for saving the penalty in November and if Earnie carrys on scoring goals he will become a bigger hero than he is now....But please dnt sign any more D.C.F.C REJECTS

    Great blog Paul

  • Comment number 7.

    Good blog Paul.

    I was one of the Forest fans who was wary that Davies may bring a long-ball style to the club be he has done anything but that. Against Charlton we were on the back foot for 80 minutes but we looked touhg to break down and "hard to beat."

    Against Plymouth we thoroughly deserved the win. There was a mixture of direct play and passing football which I think is what Forest need. Under Calderwood we played some cracking football that wasn't matched with results. Sometimes a mixture of both styles is the best option.

    I hope Davies brings in a target man (NOT Steve Howard) and a left/centre back this month. A goalkeeper to provide competition is also needed, a lot of rumours about Bywater coming in which I would'nt be too disappointed with. A lot of talk that Davies is close to signing some midfielder called Johansson from Hearts too, so things are looking good so far.

    I just hope the Forest fans will remain positive once we lose 2 or 3 on the bounce.

  • Comment number 8.

    RedsSince'99 - I fully understand that you would like to see some new faces and I think some might come in - but only if they will help on a more long-term basis.

    The following quote did not make the article but you might find it quite interesting:

    "I have had not had a great deal of preparation time and spending the chairman's money would be easy to do but without watching players and taking our time the window is difficult.

    "We will do all we we can to bring one or two players into the squad - if we can bring the right type at the right price."

  • Comment number 9.

    Let me not only extol the virtues of Billy as a manager, but also defend him as a human being.

    When Billy was first manager at North End, I was living down the road and studying journalism at the uni in the city. (Just for the record I work "on the other side" now in communications strategy).

    As a young student journalist I rang Preston North End to enquire about an interview with Billy. They promised to get back to me and they did. And who was it that called me back? A receptionist? Somebody from the office? No. It was Billy.

    I arranged to meet him one afternoon in his office at the training ground. He had just spent the best part of an hour with the local and regional press, and I was thinking I'd be lucky to get 5 minutes.

    Billy made me a cup of tea and talked completely openly and candidly for nearly 40 minutes. He was and is a first class, decent human being.

    The reasons for his departure from North End remain "under a cloud" because of the decency of the man. If the true story was known there wouldn't be a single supporter on here accusing him of greed. If it had happened to other managers they would have been only to keen to put across 'their side of the story'.

    Not Billy, he held his tongue, kept his dignity and proved the stupidty of Preston in losing him by taking Derby to the promised land at the first attempt.

    I even think he could cut it in the Premiership - Derby got there too far ahead of schedule and Billy ended up having to almost totally reconstruct his squad. History shows that the clubs who survive are the ones who have built for promotion gradually (Burley's Ipswich, Coppell's Reading, Jewell's Wigan). And even then he secured more points in 14 games than Jewell did in the rest of the season.

    Nottingham Forest is a big club, that needs a man to grab it by the horns and lead it back to the top flight.

    I can only implore them..... stick with Billy.... let HIM manage..... he WILL get you there.

    He is a first class manager and a first class man.

  • Comment number 10.

    He's always struck me as a divvy with short man syndrome. it seems to me the better the championship manager someone is the worse at managing in the premiership they are.

  • Comment number 11.

    Another good thing about Billy Davies is that he gets his teams playing decent football, he is most definitely not a long ball merchant.

    That said, since someone has chosen to quote me, let me explain the meaning of "under a cloud" (though it shouldn't be necessary given the circumstances,) When I say under a cloud I don't mean that there are things we don't know. I know the entire storey didn't come out, I don't expect it to but I was referring to something else. Things like the threat of court action if we didn't release him, and demanding to be allowed to talk to a premiership club as his contract stated, despite the fact that at the time of asking Derby were not in the Prem, but were a championship rival. There is a way in which to conduct your self, and a media slanging match with the chairmen to get your own way is not it. Perhaps you had left Preston when this went on.

    Billy Davies like all of us has good and bad points, he was a great manager and great with the local community. The club under Davies was incredibly active supporting local causes but that does not excuse the way in which he left, and he is an exceptionally arrogant egotistical and selfish man and he did leave "under a cloud".

  • Comment number 12.

    All Billy was guilty of was standing up for himself.

    And there is plenty that you say above that is inaccurate. I would go into the facts of the matter, but I wouldn't want to open myself or the BBC up to potential legal action from anyone on either side of the whole Billy Davies / PNE argument.

  • Comment number 13.

    As a Motherwell fan, I've alsways thought that Billy Davies is an excellent manager and have been following his career since he left us with interest. He was also a very good player for us in the 90s.

    I actually thought he would've been an excellent candidate for the Scotland job when George Burley got it, and who knows, perhaps a future Rangers manager.

    I think he is perfectly suited to teh Championship and his record with Preston and Derby will testify that. He's the type of guy who can get a lot out of players and can do well without having much in the way of resources. I'd love to see him be a success at Forest and turn them into a team that is fighting for promotion (obviously not this season).

  • Comment number 14.

    Thats fair enough retiredNo6, and I don't really want to argue this point too much either, but Billy Davies did ask to leave and he did threaten court action as was well documented at the time, and is still remembered with bitterness. The reasons he wanted to go? Well that we don't know and to be honest we don't much care. A quiet word behind closed doors is the way to go, threatening to go to court in the Press is not.

  • Comment number 15.

    Well, we can agree to disagree - what I'm sure you will not disagree on is that he did a fantastic job as manager at North End and there were some memorable performances.

    The year that you made the play off final against West Ham I attended 22 PNE games home and away including all 3 play off matches and there was a spell when you just never expected them to lose.

    I still look for Preston's results on a Saturday and I'm glad to see Alan Irvine has got you going forward again.

    But I follow Billy's career with added interest and I sincerely hope he can keep Forest up, rebuild and then take them up.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great Stuff Paul,
    really informative, a very interseting read?! keep up the good work on the other leagues in our country apart from the prem mate?!

    found it really interseting on something that I didnt know -
    "He spent several months travelling with his family after leaving Derby but during his trip across America he called in at MLS side Houston Dynamo to see how they work and, later, visited Juventus. Davies is keen to learn and constantly searching out anything that might give his team an edge."

    he was a manager I tipped for big things, and one that I thought would end up at a big premiership club, as he always seemed to know what he wanted and had a good thourogh plan to how he wanted it to happen as well as always constantly wanting to learn new things as you pointed to?!

    but maybe the Derby Premiership fiasco of not being able to get anything from a game kind of tainted his reputation, but nevertheless u have to look it at the persepctive as u say that he achieved promotion in 11months even tho he spoke of a 3yr plan, which probably didnt help as he didnt have the players he wanted or would of liked for a crack at the prem?!

  • Comment number 17.

    Indeed, I think that is probably the best way to go. I certainly agree that as a manager he is one of the best in the championship, and he didn't achieve success with scrappy one nil wins, given time to put his mark on a team, he gets them playing good football.

    I suspect that Davies would also be a lot more fondly remembered had we not had Moyes, Brown and Irvine before and after him, all of them also doing a decent job as manager. (The less said about Simpson the better) I still rate Moyes the highest, though given time Irvine could make almost as big a mark on the club as him, though Irvine never played for us.

    Anyway back on topic, I hope that Forest do well under Davies. I wouldn't even begrudge him/them automatic promotion as long as its behind us :p

  • Comment number 18.

    Being born and bred in Nottingham i have been working and living in Derby for over 15 years. Nice bunch that they all are, it's quite amazing how much antagonism and 'tribal' feeling has resurfaced against Nottingham Forest, particularly over the match on Friday.

    This has evidently been made worse by Billy Davies' appointment. Many Derby fan's blame him for Derby's fall from the premiership, conveniently forgetting he got them there in the first place. Some Derby fans have even remarked with venom how Davies and Forest deserve each other. It's all a bit beyond me to be honest........

  • Comment number 19.

    Billy Davies is a class act. He's also a loose canon, and that will need to be carefully managed by NF, but he is a class act.

    He is a dictator, and he should be allowed to be a dictator to get the best from Billy Davies.

    As others have said, PNE enjoyed some good times under Billy Davies, and he left under a cloud. That cloud was made by Derby, so now that he has moved on, Derby is no longer tainted by Davies, and neither is Davies tainted by Derby. We've all moved on.

    Good Luck Forest.

  • Comment number 20.

    Paul - Thanks for that quote. Billy seems to have his head screwed on tightly when it comes to transfers, and every other aspect of management for that matter.

    We've had so many managers down the years who have brought players in just for sake of it (Megson, Kinnear, most notably Platt) but we finally seem to be bringing the right players in. Calderwood bought in a lot of quality, young players and hopefully Davies can do the same while adding a bit of experience.

    Personally I'd like Matt Oakley from Leicester to come in and Wayne Brown from Hull.

  • Comment number 21.

    Also Paul, you may be interested to see just how wrong I was with my prediction for this season under Davies!

  • Comment number 22.

    Good read.

    What-ever it is, Forest needs to play good football and win games. Next season, premiership beckons.

  • Comment number 23.

    Billy davies is a Derby Legend, I wanted him back before we got clough. I am glad we got clough but still think Billy is the more experienced of the two, athough I think last night shows that Nigel will get us back in time where we belong top of the premier League as we have just been loaning out our championship title for the last 33 and abit years, Good luck Billy but hopefully your first defeat on friday night. Up the rams

  • Comment number 24.

    As a Manchester United fan, I remember bearing a certain grudge for Notts Forest. They were a massive club and Brian Clough knew very well how to get under Ron Atkinson's and later Fergie's skin.

    There was also a time when any signing from Forest sent panic waves through the Stretford End - players would either flop (Gary Birtles) or just become crockers à la Webb. That all changed when we signed Keane ofcourse, but still, even he had his fair share of injuries!

    The top flight of English football is missing Nottingham Forest and to a lesser extent Derby County. I hope they both return.

  • Comment number 25.

    Good article. I had the pleasure of interviewing Davies many times whilst at Preston North End, and found him friendly, intelligent and articulate.It was unfortunate that he wasn't given time to finish what he started at Derby - the club went up too fast for it's own good. I wish him all the best at Forest.

    And if he wants to continue to manage at Clough's old clubs, I'll be happy to see him at Brighton...

  • Comment number 26.

    Stokerambo, I remember that was Forest's major funding for years. We'd sell a player to Man utd, they'd play pants and we'd get them back cheap 18 months later.........

    Still waiting for Keane of course.

  • Comment number 27.

    I hope his stint with Houston Dynamo means he'll be tapping in to the pool of MLS players. It's a vastly underrated league in terms of standard of play and players are available for a fraction of what their English equivalent costs.

  • Comment number 28.

    Billy is a conundrum to Derby fans. He led us to the promised land years ahead of schedule but then made a complete and utter mess of it.

    He spent millions on average or worse players. His [lack of] tactics were appalling. But his worst character flaw is that he never shouldered any blame or responsibility for his actions. Not a big man in every sense.

    He will never be forgiven for stealing the best moment in the clubs recent history when he was interviewed on the Wembley turf. That was a shrewd, callous, cold and calculated move by a man who obviously had a pre-conceived plan. I don't like people like that. I don't trust them.

    That said, I still think he should have been given longer at the helm. That was unfair.

    If I were to bump into him I would thank him for the £60m, shake his hand and move on. I have no feeling for him - good or bad.

    As for his new role, I hope he does well. As long as we finish ahead of them, I shall be happy. As for Friday, Forest are on a high and we are still recuperating from losing to the odd goal in seven against the best team in the world. I think you guys can have this one, but we'll take the Brian Clough trophy back when we make the short trip up the A52 next month.

  • Comment number 29.

    BD is a very good manager at CCC level only time will tell if he can do it in the EPL .He did an absolutely fantastic job at PNE and I would say he would've been well rewarded as Moysey before him .

    He chose to speak to Charlton as his contract clauses indicated he could them being a EPL club and PNE also the fans were ok with this . The Charlton board for one reason or another didn't give the job to BD , maybe he delayed accepting their offer , that was the talk at the time but we don't know, he then, it appeared to the fans , proceeded to look for other available posts .

    This action in itself is normal employee behaviour for the best deal but in football its a bit different , especially when your contract is quite specific in precluding moving to another direct competitor in the CCC .

    To sum up he dragged my beloved football club down by his attempt to belittle it after PNE had given him his chance when he was Brown's assistant . He is disliked for this action only and it was alleged he even threatened court action if he couldn't talk to any clubs even in the first division .

    So whatever you , Retired No6, opinionate this was the very bitter end of a love affair between PNE and BD , who was responsible for it , well draw your own conclusions : An aspiring medium sized CCC , with a new stadium or a "ambitious" , for want of a better word young manager .

    Moysey left and is a very special person to us North Enders , compare the two .

    Up the Whites Forever and good luck Forest !

  • Comment number 30.

    Any comparison between Billy Davies and Brian Clough quickly comes to an end when you consider what Clough achieved at Derby - a title and a European Cup semi-final - before he left.

  • Comment number 31.

    I think that the reputation Davies has got of his teams playing good attractive football is nonsense. At PNE there is no doubt that his tactics were effective and every member of the team knew what was required of them, thye were well drilled, but I thought predictable and a little dull.

    He will be a sucess at Forest given time, but don't expect attractive flowing football, just hard working effective football.

  • Comment number 32.

    Thanks Paul for a good read,

    I must admit I really didn't know what to expect or how to judge Billy Davies' appointment at Forest. He's been very clear about what he wants to do at the club in the short-term (like he says "the table doesn't lie). Can't complain with him so far - 2 wins from 2 games.

    Our main objective this season has to be staying up right now, like Davies says. Anything more is a bonus, but shouldn't be expected. There was some criticism for how Calderwood went about things, but from my perspective he was a good manager for us and deserves a great deal of credit. From where we had been for the years before that, he stabilised the club, so thank you Colin.

    From reading this article and hearing other people's opinions of him, Davies is the right man for our situation. I just hope the fans don't get too carried away if results pick up. This season we need to survive, what we do next year will be interesting.

    As a forest fan myself, I'm hopeful and encouraged by how the team has developed over the last few seasons, and how much more there is to come.

  • Comment number 33.

    "And as a Forest fan i am worried about the amount of ex D.C.F.C influence that seems to be coming to the River Trent...Lee Camp, Robert Earnshaw and now Billy Davies"

    If they come to Forest and do well (and they have, so far) then it matters not where they come from.

    Brian Clough also came to us from Derby, and therein lies the lesson of what I'm talking about.

    It's not about where they've been, its where they're at and what they are doing, thats the most important thing, and right now, Earnshaw is top scorer, Camp has gone back to QPR as a Forest legend, and Billy is starting a new (hopefully successful) chapter at Forest.

    I see nothing to be worried about.

  • Comment number 34.

    To #29, I never attempted to suggest that the love affair between BD and PNE ended in an anything but bitter manner.

    However, something happened between Charlton choosing Ian Dowie and Billy joining Derby that I've never seen discussed and all that I will say is that if I'd been Billy - I'd have walked too.

  • Comment number 35.

    Like him or loathe him, Davies has the potential to be the greatest manager for a generation.

    He is very similar to Cloughie.

  • Comment number 36.

    RetiredNo6 -- If its that clear , BD would not keep it to himself because the hatred and vitriolic treatment he suffers when our supporters come into contact with him would affect anybody badly . Also he owes it to the supporters , for us to know the truth , surely . It is nearly 3 years ago now and feelings may not be as inflamed and certainly if he has a material reason for his actions I for one and possibly many of us would like to know .

    We now have one of the best managers we have ever had and PNE goes on from strength to strength with Players , Fans and Board in a united front!

  • Comment number 37.

    As a St Mirren fan I've always had a soft spot for Billy Davies. He was a marvellous wee player for us for a few seasons after signing for us in the 87/88 season and was one of a number of Saints players who were signed by Motherwell and who took that club to a best placed SPL finish (2nd), with the other two ex-saints Paul Lambert and Brian Martin getting Scotland call-ups.

    In time Billy became manager at Motherwell and had a decent start with results and a youngish team playing well. I think in his second or third season there the club were in trouble financially and there was a bad run of results and he moved on.

    I've followed his managerial career in England from a distance. He seemed to do well at Preston North End. To me it looked like he worked minor miracles in his short time at Derby... i was under the impression that not long before he took over there had been something of a big financial rescue package there to deal with the massive debt the club had before he arrived and that he ws taking over a team which had narrowly avoided relegation the previous year?

    Billy and the team performed beyond expectations to reach the play-offs and win a place in the Premier League... even though it was also obvious by the end of season 1 with Derby there were big disagreements between Billy and the board.

    Over that close season it also seemed that Derby were spending at the budget end of the market for the EPL and that compared to Sunderland they were spending less and they did their transfer business later and on that basis having come up via the play-offs and having had a hard time attracting players to a club which 1 year earlier were avoiding relegation from the Championship Derby were obvious favourites to go straight back down.

    Billy was given just 4 months in charge in the EPL and yes, as was perhaps expecting Derby took a few tankings in his time in charge... they also got a few wins and draws and I'm sure that when Billy was sacked Derby were in the kind of position where if results went their way for 2 or 3 games in a row then not only would they move off the bottom of the league they could also move out the bottom 3? Or, in other words, when Billy was sacked Derby faced a big challenge to stay up but it wasn't impossible if they adapted a bit, tightened defensively and starting gettinga few more wins... maybe in time Billy could have done this or some of this.

    When Jewell came in he seemed to rubbish all Billy's signings and said things were so bad that the rest f the season was pretty much a right off and he'd try and improve the squad in January and the summer but it was probably going to be a case of rebuilding and trying to come straight back up again after getting relegated. Given that Derby were still in with a slim chance of staying up you have to wonder how that kind of thinking and public vote of no confidence in the squad is going to turn things around.

    To hold Derby's record in the EPL against Billy Davies is harsh... they had teh most rebuilding to do to have a chance of staying up and he was only part way through that when he was shown the door. Derby's EPL record nosedived to a record breaking low not under Davies's stewardship but under Jewell's. How did Jewell's signings do? The ones brought in to replace Davies's duds? Is it not the case that players dropped and sold by Jewell are now doing ok now they are back in the team or playing elsewhere?

    Having spent from November rebuidling his squad and preparing to build a side that would bounce straight back up how did Jewell's record with Derby in the Championship compare with Billy's record with them in the same league?

    Perhaps in hindsight Derby would have been better giving Billy the chance to mange Derby for the full season in the EPL and say if they were relegated then they were always favourites anyway and regard that crack at the EPL as a learning experience for Billy and the squad and then give him until Christmas the following season in the Championship and if they were in contention for promotion then stick with him and see if he took you up a second time and expect a bit better second time round as he has a year's EPL experience and so would most of the squad and he ahd also had a few years to mould and build a team there.

    It struck me as a crazy decision to sack a manager who took your club from near the bottom of the Championship to the bottom of EPL in 1 season! Where did the Derby board expect the team to be 4 months into the EPL season - midtable?

    And whoever said the comparison between Davies and Cloughie doesn't stand up and that Clougie won the EPL and European trophies... even Cloughie would be hard pushed to win an EPL title or European trophy if he was only given 4 months in charge in the top flight.

  • Comment number 38.

    Great piece of journalism. Well done.

  • Comment number 39.

    Another top Scottish manager and probably now at a club which could suit him.

    His problem at Derby was success. He did too well too early and paid the price, although it still baffles me as to why.

    I think Forest could be a couple of years away from fighting for promotion which could just give BD the chance he needs to assemble a sqaud who can compete.

    I wish both BD and Forest the best of luck, and hopefully next time he's in the prem the management will give him time to prove himself.

  • Comment number 40.

    Just to add something on the Derby situation (where incidently I do not claim to have any inside knowledge of what went on)!!

    I believe that just before Billy was sacked the club had a new board and a new chairman come in. There had already been some tension between Billy and the previous board (mainly over their faliure in 12 months to secure David Kelly as his assistant) but it seemed that the chairman that had brought him in knew what he was getting and was willing to stand for the tension because he trusted Billy as a manager.

    As often happens (Mike Ashley and Big Sam at Newcastle for instance) it looked like a case of the new chairman not fancying the man in charge and wanting to bring his own man in. That is fair enough - although it now looks a poor decision.

  • Comment number 41.

    I was one of the few Forest fans who was hoping we'd get Billy.

    I remember seeing Preston become almost impossible to beat and then his run with Derby.

    He will do a great job with Forest and next season I think Forest will be in with a shot of going up. First things first and 7 more wins will guarantee survival.

    Good luck to Billy tomorrow and also good luck to Derby and Cloughie for the rest of the season.

  • Comment number 42.

    Someone has suggested that Billy Davies is a 'loose cannon' and there are implications that he is difficult to get on with (from a Boards point of view). Other posters suggest that he has an high opinion of himself.

    Now that reminds me of another Forest manager who managed to win several trophies - if Billy Davies only does half as well as he did I am sure all the Forest Fans will be happy with just the one European Cup;.)

  • Comment number 43.


    I find it very interesting reading through the above posts. Clearly some people don't like Billy Davies much as a person but very few are arguing about his record as a manager.

    A popular manager who has a good relationship with the fans is always likely to be cut a bit more slack when times are difficult but I'd take a winning manager over one who always says the right things but doesn't deliver.

    At the time of his appointment it seemed a good move by Forest.

  • Comment number 44.

    As as been said earlier, Billy Davies was successful too early for my beloved Derby with no time build depth in his squad. The likes of Steve Howard were never Premiership material.

    I have a lot of time for Nigel Clough, before becoming an ex-pat living in sunny Spain my last job in the UK was in Burton and he had the sense to serve a long apprenticeship and build his knowledge of the game. Fortuneately for Derby we now have a manager with Derby blood running through his veins and I believe Nigel was always destined to manage at Pride Park. Allied to this he is a true family man who knows his limitations and will build the team slowly but surely.

    I will be watching the match on TV on Friday night and as a Ram through and through I hope we thoroughly paste Forest as I have never forgiven them for achieving what Cloughie would have done with Derby had Sam Longson not been the biggest fool to ever have walked this earth.

    As for Forest being populated with Derby rejects, I seem to remember it was an ex Derby player who lifted the European Cup for them!

  • Comment number 45.

    Everybody knows that for years now, Derby county have been Nottingham Forests feeder club. Nigel Cloughs apprenticeship didn't end at Burton. Let's see how he cuts it at Derby and then he might get a crack with the reds. I like the way that he's got the sheep baa-ing over his affection for Derby. Very clever fan-management skills telling people what they want to hear rather than "I've been stuck in Burton for a decade and noones come in for me. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I'll say anything." That said, I think that Billy Davies will be around for some time yet. Another legend in the making and he served his apprenticeship at Derby too.

    costaram hits the nail on the head. It was an ex Derby player who lifted the European Cup for Forest! It's also going to be an ex Derby manager who'll get us back to the premier league and an ex Derby player, who'll bag us 20 goals or so getting us there. ----pattern ----- emerging ----- here ---------.

  • Comment number 46.

    Slightly off track, did Billy Davies get convicted for trying to impersonate his brother John (played a bit in Scotland for Clydebank and St Johnstone if I remember) whien pulled over by the cops for speeing or was it his John who impersonated Billy?

  • Comment number 47.

    Mr Fletcher,
    Top article about Mr Davies. Thank you.
    Feel very emotional listening to the match tonight for some reason. All this history is incredible. Been a Forest fan all my life and recently read Duncan Hamilton's fantastic book about Cloughie. Everyone should read that. Even though it's 1-1 right now and I'm desperate for Forest to win, I think that if Derby do win, I'll be gutted tonight but tomorrow I think I will just be pleased to see Nigel do well.
    And best wishes to Billy Davies and his son and family too. Some things are more important.

  • Comment number 48.

    I think Billy Davies should have stayed at Derby. They may or may not have stayed up but I said from the start the Jewell would be a disaster and very sadly it proved to be true. I wish Billy all the very best but hope Forest get stuffed in every game they play - that's what being a Ram is all about!

    I think Nigel will be a great manager - but it may take time. If we go down this year (God forbid!) we should stick with Nigel and he will come good.

    Good game tonight - very strange to hear fans wishing each others managers all the best! I think Derby will win the replay but we could do without the extra games.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.