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McClaren hoping the sun shines on him at Forest

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Phil McNulty | 18:00 UK time, Thursday, 16 June 2011


The sun shone on Steve McClaren as he walked into the City Ground as Nottingham Forest manager. It was his first small victory on the road to rehabilitation in English football.

A defining image of McClaren's tenure with England was the sight of the coach sheltered from a Wembley downpour by an umbrella as defeat against Croatia ended their Euro 2008 hopes and his 16-month stay in the post.

So McClaren, 50, might have regarded it as symbolic and a happy omen that he was bathed in sunlight and spared any unwanted wisecracks as he walked across the car park and into the Robin Hood Suite with Forest chief executive Mark Arthur.

Arthur, after the briefest of introductions, left the talking to McClaren - who mixed defiance with confidence as he insisted his mission at the City Ground was to shape Forest into a Premier League club rather than rebuild his own reputation.

He was not, he said, back in England with something to prove. Not to himself anyway, but there is little doubt his moves will be closely monitored at Forest, as proved by the healthy turn out to hear his thoughts as he made his return to management on a three-year deal.

McClaren, despite his vehement denials, is still fighting old demons lurking from his England era when he was over-promoted in succession to Sven-Goran Eriksson by the Football Association and quickly floundered.

This was proved when his hopes of succeeding Gerard Houllier at Aston Villa were apparently sabotaged by adverse reaction from fans who now find themselves struggling to comprehend the appointment of former Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish.

McClaren replaces Billy Davies, who was sacked last Sunday

McClaren revealed he had an approach and appointment with Villa that was, in his words, "unfulfilled" and virtually provided unspoken confirmation that he was still paying the price for his perceived sins with England.

All this despite showing the courage to rebuild his career at FC Twente in the Netherlands, a story that ended in triumph when they won Eredivisie, a feat that should be remembered above a short and unfulfilled stint in the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg.

Holland is regarded as the home of broad-minded football thinking and the fact McClaren is well-respected there suggests Forest may be the beneficiaries of the doubts of others. Fulham's appointment of Martin Jol was rightly applauded for its wisdom, so it is worth underscoring the scale of McClaren's achievement by recalling that Twente edged out Jol's Ajax to win the Dutch title.

Wolfsburg may have been a failure, but McClaren's willingness to further test his ability in Germany was a credit to his attitude and on Thursday he was keen to present a picture of a better, wiser coach if not a man out to repair lingering damage to his credibility.

Even those of us who criticised his work with England should afford McClaren full respect for the manner in which he went about renewing his career in the Netherlands while also remembering how he won the Carling Cup with Middlesbrough and took them to the Uefa Cup final.

England was a scar on his career, but it was in danger of being carried unfairly forever - as Villa's treatment proved - and there was a fair wind of goodwill behind McClaren as he breezed into Forest.

The mood around the City Ground was that Villa's loss was Forest's gain and McClaren was right to point to achievements before and after his ill-fated flirtation with the FA to present a compelling case for Forest's appointment.

He told BBC Sport: "Forest wanted me. They believed I could make a difference and I bought into their vision and their dreams. I am here to try and help them achieve what they want to achieve.

"We know it is a massive jump to go from the Championship into the Premier League but I've experienced life in the Premier League and I know what it takes to get in there."

Those dreams surrounded McClaren as he addressed the media. As he talked, he was flanked by images of Forest's glory years - Ian Bowyer lifting the European Cup, Peter Shilton celebrating a League Cup triumph at Wembley.

These are not the successes demanded of McClaren now, but he brimmed with self-belief that he can at least successfully negotiate the first leg of the journey by navigating a path back into the Premier League.

McClaren flashed a smile as he brushed aside the inquisition that this famous old club was going to be his ultimate proving ground, displaying the bullet-proofed confidence that has sometimes been used against him.

"This is a great feeling, especially coming to a club like this," he said. "You can smell the history and tradition of Nottingham Forest when you walk into it. We must embrace that and create a modern culture. I don't think I have anything to prove. Before and after England I have been successful."

McClaren added: "I have been abroad to broaden my horizons, experience and knowledge. It has, I believe, made me a better coach and manager and now I wanted to come back home, and come back here, to build something and try to achieve something at a great, traditional football club with a great history."

And as he strolled back out into the Nottingham sunshine, McClaren was in the mood to see the clouds that have hung over his name and reputation in his home country finally roll away.


  • Comment number 1.

    I for one hope McClaren proves a success. I was one of his biggest detractors from the first day he became England manager simply because he was either going to carry on where Sven left off (score first then sit back and try to hold out) or have a completely different approach which would indicate that had he ever suggested a different tactic Sven clearly never listened to him. Credit and respect has to be given to McClaren, not only did he get back into management but he did it in a new country, with a new language and all the other challenges and delivered a league title to a team that few of us Brits would ever have heard of previously. Wolfsburg didnt work out but he wasnt exactly given a huge amount of time, particulary having just sold Dzeko to Manchester City and was trying to take Wolfsburg forward after already punching above their weight domestically and in Europe. I think his tenure at England can be likened to Roy Hodgson at Liverpool, right man (maybe), at the wrong time. He will certainly have learned from it and hopefully that will be to Forest's benefit. Many people are forever complaining that foreign coaches marginalise opportunities for English ones so now that we have seen the national side fail dismally again under another manager, maybe we should show some support for this English coach/manager.

  • Comment number 2.

    Great blog yet again Phil and as a Forest fan I can finally relate to it, which is always useful!

    Upon hearing the news of the sacking of Davies and the supposed imminent appointment of McClaren, I think the majority of people, including myself, showed a huge disgust at the treatment of Davies and appointment of a failed England manager.
    However, the more I and many others read about this appointment, the more fans are slowly being swayed into backing McClaren.
    I was openly Davies' biggest fan. He was a real tactitian, the bags under his eyes proved how he used to stay up all hours watching videos of opposition, and to save us from certain relegation to be followed up with two top 6 finishes, along with a couple of special rival victories along the way resulted in him being possibly branded as the best manager to grace the City Ground since a certain Brian Clough.
    But ultimately, there is always someone better to do the job and in Steve McClaren, I fully believe we've found it.
    A man who's club record speaks for itself. Working alongside Ferguson in MUFC's treble season, the success with Middlesborough and FC Twente and although it wasn't a successful spell in charge of England, it must be remembered there aren't many managers who have even had the opportunity to manage their country.
    I commend the board for acting as quickly as they did, not only has it lifted a dour feeling around the City Ground but has also impacted on players such our influential Guy Moussi into being more interested in signing a new deal.
    There will always be fans of any club who aren't happy with a new appointment, but I can only stress that they look outside the box of 'The wally with the brolly' because what led up to that appointment, was a superb CV at club level.
    The press coverage today has only added to my excitement and I cannot wait for the new season to begin with McClaren at the helm, I think we're in for a good year.

  • Comment number 3.

    Interesting day at The City Ground today. I should state right away that I was as critical as anyone of Steve McClaren for his work with England, scathingly so at times, although I was not alone.

    What I will say, though, is that he earned my full respect for going to Holland, taking a risk and rebuilding his career successfully there with FC Twente. It took courage and while he was only at Wolfsburg a short time that respect has not diminished.

    Also I do not think one failure, bad though it was, should not be held against a manager forever and I got a sense that this was happening with McClaren.

    Of course who he is will add to the expectation and pressure, but he looked and sounded refreshed and raring to go today.

    And as someone who watched Forest in the Premier League and remember their great successes under Brian Clough - the greatest British manager ever in my opinion - I hope he makes a success of the job.

    By the way, I should stress that Clough opinion is purely personal!! I don't want to have to get the tin hat out.

    Let's hear the thoughts of Forest fans...and perhaps some Villa fans too.

  • Comment number 4.

    Great blog Phil, always interesting to see Championship coverage so keep it coming.

    As a Forest fan I was fully supportive of Billy Davies but it got to the stage where it was best for both parties to go their separate ways. For Forest to act so quickly and snap up McClaren given his record at club level his somewhat of a coup. Time for many Forest fans, including me, to give our much criticised management team of MA and ND some credit here.

    So what next? Well if rumours are true that Forest have a quite exceptional batch of academy graduates coming through (Wenger has highlighted these on several occasions) then McCLaren's appointment makes even more sense. His record at bringing through young talent was excellent at Boro so the talent in our academy will hopefully be well uitilised over the next 2 or 3 years.

    That's a little further down the line, in terms of next season you would hope that we give him some cash to exploit his undoubted array of contacts. Can there be another manager in the championship with his knowledge of foreign leagues? I suspect not.

    All in all I'm delighted, and am trying to manage my own expectations of how we'll do next year. He highlighted the reputation of Forest for playing good football which was music to my ears, add in a sprinkling of new signings and the injection of some young talent then just maybe this will be our year.

    Somewhat ironic that the 'wally with the brolly' has brought the sunshine back to the city ground. Super Schteeve's Red n White army!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Another excellent blog entry, Nottingham Forest will achieve PL status next season IMO if they can hold on to their top players, a few are linked with moves away and could be pinched, especially the ones most loyal to BD.

    For another view on football check out; it's my fav' PL/footie blog - well, aside from the mainstream ones...

  • Comment number 6.

    Fantastic blog Phil.

    I echo many Forest fans initial sense of disappointment at Davies' sacking, but I think it is important to commend the board for acting swiftly and ambitiously in appointing someone of McClaren's pedigree.

    I was not shocked to hear of BD's dismissal, as he was forever his worst enemy at times. His fantastic passion often leads to a lack of pragmatism and professionalism when it comes to relationships within the club. The chairman handed him a sizeable kitty in his first window, which was reciprocated with a show of disloyalty when he publicly invited clubs to approach him in the close season. It is no wonder then that the board thought twice about the next step of investment with someone they didn't trust at the helm.

    McClaren will hopefully lure the talented players we need to make it to the next level. I think his most immediate task should be to ensure Guy Moussi and Robert Earnshaw sign a new contracts.

  • Comment number 7.

    An interesting appointment - I expected Martin O'Neill to replace Billy Davies, but Steve McClaren is a decent enough manager. Not too sure if he is the right man for the Tricky Trees though...only time will tell.

  • Comment number 8.

    Steve McClaren is a great signing for Forest. Strange that he had to drop to the Championship to get a job.

    He's proved himself to be an excellent club manager, taking Middlesborough to the UEFA Cup final was some feat as was winning FC Twente's first league title.

    He's got international and good European experience including winning the Champions League as an assistant.

    Amazed that Villa (that would have been a good fit) or some other Premiership club didn't take him.

    I like his straightforward and informative approach when seeing him on Sky Sports too.

    I expect good things from Forest next season.

  • Comment number 9.

    Given a choice between Forest and England I would choose Forest every time. Therefore, I had totally forgotten about this 'wally with the brolly' stuff. After all, it was just another in a long line of glorious England failures.

    Somebody on Twitter said that Forest have now had the best manager that England never had and the worst manager England ever had.

    He obviously didn't see the last world cup or the last England performance. Capello only looks competent compared to the clowns who employ him.

    Getting back to the important stuff, I was initially underwhelmed by this appointment but it begins to look better and better.

    Billy did finally talk himself out of the job and I believe his constant complaining became a barrier to us being able to sign any decent players. I think Mclaren will be able to do that is also a much better bet for bringing through the young talent at the club.

    I am now quietly confident that we can look forward to a period of harmony and progress.

  • Comment number 10.

    @onenessuk - McClaren didn't have to drop down to the championship. He stated he would have been able to get a premiership job, but he wanted to join Forest

  • Comment number 11.

    Good article as ever. I like many others was horrified when the announcement of Davies sacking combined with the appointment of Mclaren first came out. However, the more I think about it, I am becoming a lot more positive about the change. There was a danger of Davies reign at Forest becoming stale, and if we werent within the top 8 by October/November (as is the usual case with our slow starts) I think he would have walked or been sacked.

    This may sound ridiculous, but it is arguable this is Mclarens last chance in English football, as a manager at least. There are many good, proven managers such as O'Neill, Dave Jones, Curbishley, Gordan Strachan and Avram Grant (joking!) available at the moment. Mclaren must take us up this season or he should worry for his future and, more importantly, we will worry about the state of our finances as I cant see Nigel Doughty continuing to plough money in.

    I hope Mclaren adopts a strict approach with our players which is what a few of them need. Billy Davies may not have been liked but his discipline was key in his success during the previous 2 and a half years. He did an outstanding job for us and I would like to wish him all the best in the future.

  • Comment number 12.

    ok first off well done notts forest for taken on steve .............

    now heres the fun bit ... i am a rangers man ( glasgow not qpr ) love the blues and all that so yes am scottish but guess what i dont stay in the uk i stay in ENSCHEDE yes the home of fc twente and trust me steve is welcome back here any time he wants to come ( if he watied a week he could have been back as they cant seam to find there manager ) so forest look like they have got a great manager at club level lets ignore the English bit he was not ready and thank god for that as fc twente needed him

  • Comment number 13.

    McClaren had no chance with England, you can only pick English player's, which im sorry just aint as good as people make them out to be, and people need to seriously wise up to it!

    He took the title from the big 3 in Holland which isn't exactly a piece of cake, in my tender year's watching football only Twente and AZ have won the Dutch League other than PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, and Schteeeeve join's a very small group of English men that have won trophies outside of England.

    Great appointment for Forest, I think promotion will be a doddle for them this year with West Ham and Leicester.

  • Comment number 14.

    Sorry to see Davies go and I would have preferred McLeish but still wish him all the best.

  • Comment number 15.

    As a Villa fan who has resided in Nottingham for many years I think this is a good call by Forest.
    Davies is a very good manager but could start a row in an empty room. He always improves teams and pssis off people who employ him.
    That said, McClaren is not a good manager - this was demonstrated by his appaling job at England.
    However he is a very, very good coach and Forest's set up with Pleat et al will suit him. This would not have worked at Villa as no such buffer between coach and board exist. Plus Arthur generally knows what he is doing whereas Faulkner (at Villa) doesn't. McClaren would have been slaughtered by the fans at the first sign of a bad trend of results.
    On a related note, Villa have made a catastophic error in hiring McLeish. As bad as when Houllier was hired. On balance Houllier is the worst ever Villa Manager as turned a Top 6 team into relegation fodder for 90% of the season. Obviously though due his Liverpool connection, Mr McNulty thought that was a good appointment. I don't care McLeish managed the Blues - his record is average at best and his football negative and dull.

  • Comment number 16.

    Interesting article here Phil and as a Forest fan I can relate to some of your comments and some of the comments from fellow fans. Initially hearing about BD's sacking I was both devastated but also unsurprised. Billy Davies was always heading for the door from the moment he started making gestures to other teams to come and sign him (Celtic in particular). That combined with his volatile relationship with the board and his outright and very public criticism of the acquisitions panel. This same board and acquisitions panel which encouraged him to sign names such as Scott Sinclair and Henri Lansbury, players which this year were heavily involved and, in some cases, were pivotal in getting their respective teams into the promised land of the premiership.
    Those were some of his faults but Billy will remain a hero to we Forest fans who remember the days of Forest teetering on the brink of relegation back down to League One. Let us not forget Forest were the first European Cup winners to be relegated down to the equivalent of the third division. Forest are used to heartbreaks.
    Listening to Steve McClaren talking earlier, you could sense an air of wisdom, composure and most importantly, freshness which sadly, Billy Davies had begun to lose. As much as I loved BD, I honestly believe we need a new direction, a whole club effort and with McClaren at the helm, I sense the whole club, board and team coming together, regrouping and hopefully pushing ourselves into the premiership. If not this coming season, we will make it the season after.

  • Comment number 17.

    As a Forest fan, I'm reserving judgement. I'm not buying straight into the slick PR job like a lot of forest fans are. Thats not to say I dislike the man or think its a bad appointment, its just to say, I know how fickle football (and football supporters) can be, and all it will take is the first dodgy run of results for the brolly remarks to get trotted out again.

    Positives: An excellent COACH, got himself up off his diamond and got some european experience (English counterparts take note, you're learning nothing from the English game), must have access to better/different pools of talent than the previous incumbent.

    Negatives: The sickly way in which he ingratiates himself to people (fake dutch accent, presents for the press during England reign). The fact that his failures with both England and Wolfsburg are just being written off willy nilly, whilst the positives like Twente are being put exclusively in the spotlight - thats unbalanced.

    There is definitely a PR job going on at the moment regarding his public image.

    Having said all that, I will neither buy into the PR hype, nor boo the man. I will look on with interest. Further interest will be added from seeing how much he is backed from the board, since its the board who really runs the football club. You have a situation in English football (and especially at Forest) whereby you could put the best manager in the world in charge, but if the board/chairman/ceo are a bad lot then it does'nt matter how great the manager is. And Mr Doughty has made a LOT of mistakes during his 12 year reign.

    So I'm sorry, not buying into this PR job, although I do remain hopeful for the future and wish Shteve all the best.

  • Comment number 18.

    Can't wait to see Shteve on the touch line with brolly in hand! Not sure what to make of it as a neutral, for the decent jobs he's done at m'boro and fc twente he's had nightmares with england and wolfsburg. Despite winning the eredivise, he is best known for being the 'wally with the brolly' and speaking with a dutch accent.

    The championship will be even more competitive next season, i think he will have do well just to get forest into the play offs, even if billy davies has been sacked for doing just that.

  • Comment number 19.

    I am a Manchester United fan and met Steve on a few occasions away from football. All I can say to Forest fans is that he is a fantastic guy who is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about football.

    I hope that Steve proves his critics wrong (I am sure he will) and that he can put Forest back where they belong... in the top flight of English football.

    Good luck Forest and good luck Steve McClaren, you both deserve it!

  • Comment number 20.

    Greatest 'English' manager Phil lets be fair about where you cover your football. Keep the tin hat on!

    But Clough was an exceptional manager. England really should have had him as their manager instead of Greenwood. You missed out with him.


    Anyone who reads the Scottish press knows why BD won't be coming back to manage any Scottish club anytime soon.

    More generally, I was disappointed but not surprised BD was sacked by Forest given the boardroom relations. He'll find another club no problem.

    McLaren? Did well with his lower profile clubs - Boro and Twente - but failed on the bigger stage with England and Wolfsburg. Good solid coach and very brave to go to Holland after England. He did get lucky with the quality of the squad he inherited at Twente which was built by the guy now managing PSV. But that said he took them to the title.

    Has an unfortunate media image and hopefully won't go from the 'Wally with the Brolly' to 'Lost in the Forest'

    McLeish to Villa? Don't know why he ever took the Brum job in the first place but did well to get them a trophy. But the move to Villa is just unfathomable in many ways. Big Eck would have better at a club without the pretensions of being one of the big boys. He has the ability of always been a lucky manager (for himself).

  • Comment number 21.

    Leicester fan so apologies in advance...

    I think from Forest's point of view this is a positive move but I simply wouldn't want this man to be manager of my team. Yes he did well at Twente, but he was awful at Boro, beyond horrific for England and things went sour very quickly at Wolfsburg.

    He reminds me a lot of Rafa Benitez - they both have experience at the top level but when you look at the decisions they make, they seem sadly deluded.

    As a Leicester fan, very glad he has gone to Forest.

  • Comment number 22.

    I have always wondered why McLaren was given such huge credit for reaching the UefaCup final. The last 3 games they played, I think - could be wrong, his tactics at the start of each game did not work and he reverted to throwing on all the attackers he could. Luckily it worked twice but got shown up in the final for the desperation it was when they got thrashed after his substitutions. I can also never forget the game when the season ticket got thrown at him.

    Anyways, results in holland show he must have something and he must have also learnt a few tricks under Sir Alex so I will actually wish him all the best at Forest.

  • Comment number 23.

    "England was a scar on his career"

    The England job is a scar on everyones career. Definition of a poisoned chalice. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemies. I felt for him (and everyone involved in the England team really, especially Beckham) for the way he was treated by the red tops.

    It's funny how quickly your character and reputation after a few bad results in the England team, and how quickly all your previous good work is forgotten. I wish him well.

  • Comment number 24.


    And as Forest fans we are glad Sven has gone to Leicester. As he has done what exactly since his days @ Lazio? Talk about a manager living on past glories. Sven goes wherever there are idiots willing to throw a big salary at him.

    Oh, sorry nearly forgot there was the tremendous recent Sven 'era' of Notts County!

    See you next season Foxes ;)

  • Comment number 25.

    I have a feeling this will either go really well- promotion- or very sourly- relegation/sacked by February. As a Forest fan, obviously I hope it is the former, but knowing Mcclaren's record it is seemingly impossible to tell!
    IMO, the chief factors are going to be who can he convince to stay this summer and who can he attract to the Club in the positions we need filling the most (LEFT BACK!). Loan signing are all well and good, but if they leave you half way through the season it can seriously disrupt the squad, and we didn't even keep Konchesky for the playoffs, who we were fortunate to get in the first place.....
    To summarise, I pray he does a fantastic job here, rebuilds his reputation, and gets offered the England job again in 10 years, after he's won us a third European Cup! Good luck Stevie Boy. YOU REDS!!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    I personally think that Steve McClaren should have stayed abroad. No matter what he does, he will always be tainted by his England stint here. At club level he has done well except at Wolfsburg, where he wasn't really given much time.

    I don't know if he will do well at Forrest but he has experience at the top level both as manager and coach. Luckily for him, unlike Roy Hodgson, he has a somewhat stable board and the backing of most of the fans. If the players support him and follow him, I am sure he can achieve and do well with Forrest.

    Only time will tell how successful he will be. But while he is in England, he will never lose the reputation that he gained when he managed England.

    And onto England. The national team is a disaster. I blame the press more for this than anything else. They build up expectations when England are a side that is at bed World Cup Quarter finalist. It was the very press that wanted and seemed to campaign for a Gerrard and Lampard partnership for England as when they first broke through were seen as the future for England. It is the same press that was asking for Scott Carson to be introduced. And then the fans mindlessly follow these "suggestions" as it is their own and when all these, through hindsight, do not work or come off, all blame is gone to the Manager. Or a scapegoat.

  • Comment number 27.

    Good article Phil as usual. But I'm surprised at some of the mails on this blog : so many folk are setting hope in McClaren at Notts Forest. I have supported my own team, currently in the Premiership for over 50 years. I also have great respect for Notts Forest , who have given me many great memories over the years----a great tradition and a great club.
    But how sorry I feel for Notts Forest now that they have appointed McClaren, who, as a manager, is a walking disaster. The only place he can "hack" it is with small clubs where he can act as if he was "big" ( when he's not): he should go to Belgium, Albania, Liechtenstein or somewhere desperate , and poor enough, to appoint anybody who has the slightest experience.
    One writer earlier said it was brave of McClaren to go to Holland after losing the England job. The fact is he was so despised in England after being a national disgrace that he HAD to slink off to foreign parts until he thought the heat would die down in England. Well, now he thinks it's been long enough for his rubbish management to have been he sneaks back to England. And it's poor Notts Forest who will suffer.
    McClaren is all mouth and trousers. He's been Number 2 to 2 great managers : Alex and Sven. He is a born number 2 ( or, more appropriately a number 3 or 4----a scouting job would be a bit above his ability IMHO). His managerial experience in England consists of Middlesborough----with little success------and the worst England national coach I have see for very many years : the man who phoned a legend (Becks) and told him he was finished ; and then brought him back as England lost more and more matches in the qualifiers. And with Becks back, England started to recover : but McClaren had left it too late. He is a pompous and useless man as well as manager.
    I feel sorry for Forest , a club who deserve MUCH better.

  • Comment number 28.

    Nice to read about Forest in the headlines for a change, and a decent article Phil.

    I woudnt worry about needing the tin hat either, if anyone needs a tin hat it will be RobVilla (comment 15) if Forest fans read his comment that Mark Arthur "knows what he is doing"!!! Id be surprised if that man could dress himself on his own in the morning...Only kidding Rob, but 'Marthur' is not the most well-loved chap at NFFC, by the fans at least, Doughty seems to like him.

    Anyway I digress...I think my reaction to all this was similar to many fans. Shock that Billy had gone, followed by anger that our board had left it until mid-June and would probably take 3 weeks to appoint a useless manager, then surprise that McClaren was in talks, followed by feeling pleased that wed got a decent manager so quickly. The full gamut of emotions! Although thats generally what you get being a Forest fan....

    After stewing the decision over a bit, Im pretty happy. I have no delusions that we will walk the league next year (leave those to Leicester), but the more I think about it, the more the appointment seems to fit. Hopefully a bit of internal club harmony, some money to spend for a manager the chairman trusts, and a few of our good kids being brought through should lead to success.

    Now, sign me a left-back and I'll be ecstatic.....

  • Comment number 29.

    I have watched football avidly for over 50 years. Although I support a team , all my life, who are currently in the Premiership, I have tremendous respect for, and happy memories, of Notts Forest. They are a great club.
    And they deserve better than McClaren. In all my years, it is my opinion that he is one of the worst managers I have ever seen. He was a number 2 ( probably the right place for him----or better still number 3 or 4) to 2 great managers. As a manager in his own right, he has had success with one minor foreign team, and just been sacked by an ambitious Bundeslige team.
    One writer on this blog said he had been "brave" to leave England after his disgraceful spell as England coach----I think he had to slink away to foreign parts because he was so despised in England.
    He now thinks all that is forgotten and forgiven. We'll see if Forest fans feel that when he assuredly will lead them downhill.
    This is the man who phoned a legend of English football, a national captain with 100 caps and told him he was finished. Then, after his England side lost match after match against poor qualifier teams, had to ask Becks to return. And England started improving hugely---so much so that they nearly qualified. If only McClaren had recalled Becks earlier. If only he had not had an obsession about Downing ( who is a mediocre player IMHO). If only he had been a decent manager. But, no---he set England back in world terms after 10 years when Sven had qualified for every tournament.
    Now it's Forest's turn to take Wolfsburg's cast-off. Forest deserve much better.
    But perhaps he'll sign Downing ----and then Forest will be in Europe within a year .
    I don't think so, and I am genuinely upset for a proud club that deserves a decent manager.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm glad to see someone taking a chance on a manager who has some actual success behind him, rather than the so called top quality managers with a bare trophy cupboard.

    It'll be interesting to see who now gets the Cardiff and Birmingham jobs, we could see some real quality fighting it out for a shot at the Prem, which by this time next year with inflation and over zealous journalism, should be worth about £420 million to each club.

  • Comment number 31.

    @27 Thank you for your sympathy, which I do not necessarily believe will be justified. However, please stop referring to us as "Notts Forest". It's Nottingham Forest; there's no S in Nottingham. @21 & @24: You're welcome to your sarcastic "glad X has gone to Y". I'm a Forest fan and I like Leicester. Imo you're wasting valuable hostile energy that could be directed at Derby. :) I had an extremely vitriolic reaction to this news back on the 12th and 13th; however I quickly calmed down and am now, as always in the long term, cautiously optimistic.

  • Comment number 32.

    "....he was over-promoted in succession to Sven-Goran Eriksson by the Football Association".

    This is the reason he doesn't enjoy the best of public images Phil, and it is often SM himself who is doing his own over-promoting. For example, he says he knows what it takes to "get in there", i.e. the PL, but no he doesn't. When he was at Middlesboro, he inherited a team already in the PL, and had the financial backing of a very generous chairman that enabled him to steal a march in foreign imports. Self praise is no praise, unless you're the FA, in which case it's "praise indeed."

    I disagree with some of your analogies. He didn't primarily go to Holland to broaden his horizons, he went there because he couldn't get a job he deemed worthy of him at home, or failing that, in one of the other major leagues in Europe where his name would continue to be in lights. I would argue that actually in his final season at Boro, their league form had already diminished his reputation and in fact the England appointment resurrected his fortunes.

    And just as Randy Lerner should have supposed that if Gerard Houllier had a heart condition 10 years ago, in all likelihood it wouldn't be any better in 2011, should we suppose that Martin Jol is any different a manager now to the one that was dismissed by Spurs? There's a reason he and SM were facing each other in the Eredivisie. Congratulations to SM and Twente for winning Eredivisie, but respect from the home of "broad-minded thinking" didn't count for much in his time in the arguably tougher Bundesliga, which you oddly state should be regarded as a lesser gauge, as SM was only there for a short time. Because it was a failure.

    I'll be interested to see how he gets on, firstly, to see if he can get Forest into the PL, and then if he can manage that, whether there's progress, or if it peeters out. Forest may be happy just to go up, I don't know, and good luck to them, but I'll have to be convinced SM is a cut above, let alone a 'special one'. At least when Ol' Big'ead said it, it was with justification, and we loved him for it.

  • Comment number 33.

    I, like most Forest fans it seems, have mixed feelings about McClaren's appointment. I believe he will be either a huge success and provide those final few pieces of the jig-saw that we need to gain promotion or, an unmitigated disaster, Forest will plummet towards relegation and McClaren will be seeking overseas employment for the rest of his days.
    One small point of concern was McClaren's reference to "dark days ahead" in his press conference. What dark days, Steve? Were you trying to prepare us mentally for your forthcoming failure from day one? Forest fans have had sufficient bitter experience over the past couple of seasons to be more than mentally prepared for failure, thanks very much.....what we need is preparation for success!

  • Comment number 34.

    The division between Forest fans when Billy Davies was sacked, and Steve McClaren was appointed, was apparent. The internet was full of such vitriol when the news leaked. After 11 years of imbalance, Forest fans had finally seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Billy Davies had seemingly turned the clubs fortunes. Some even proclaimed him as "King Billy" but there were a few of us who were on the side of the fence that believed not only were Forest ready for a change in manager, it was essential, as Mr Davies' tantrums in the media were belittling to his teams efforts and achievements, and for some of us, tarnished that 2 1/2 year tenure.

    When I heard that McClaren was inline to takeover, I was elated. Has you have mentioned in you blog, his achievements abroard should not be overshadowed by England failure. There was a rumour 2 weeks ago on that Billy Davies had been sacked and Steve McClaren was being courted. Its been a long 2 weeks!!!The future is bright the futures Forest.

    The King is dead, long live the King!!


  • Comment number 35.

    Lets face it, McClaren was never given a chance in the England job. After three matches in charge, England had acheived three victories and had yet to concede a goal. He was hounded from the start.

    Steve will be a surprise package at Forest and I think that, given two or three years, they will be mid-table Premier League......

    ..... and I am NOT a Forest fan !!!

  • Comment number 36.

    A final throw of the dice maybe (for both McClaren and Forest) .... he will get some funds, and if he gets it right, 'Glory' ... but failure, is probably terminal for both of them.

  • Comment number 37.

    Great blog as usual Phil. I reserve judgment on McClaren's appointment which is probably much to the disgust of most I my friends on the subject. Yes McClaren is a bigger name, yes he has achieved a club football level, he may be able to bring some bigger names back to the city ground I do not deny any of this.
    However the Championship is a difficult league to get out of and he may not get the same level investment he had a Middlesbrough to make a push for the premiership. BD talked himself out a job, you can't deny his passion for the club, but state your case and then leave it at that. However the top clubs (with the exception of Chelsea) have managers who provide stability, I hope to god McClaren can do that otherwise he will be leaving by the same door. Contracts might as well be fifty year contacts, the are not worth the paper they are written on.

  • Comment number 38.

    McLaren was unfairly condemned by most of the country out of frustration for not qualifying for the Euro's. People tend to forget, we had Russia and Croatia in our group, two very tough away fixtures - Russia's artifical pitch & Croatia's home record that year had extended to almost sixteen years unbeaten! Furthermore, both sides were ranked 6th and 8th at the time - when you put that in perspective, Argentina are currently ranked 5th, England 6th (generous) and Portugal 8th (again generous). If England were to play in a group consisting of Argentina & Portugal, I have my doubts we'd finish in the top two.

    McLaren started very well with the thrashing of Greece (at the time European Champions) and made tough decisions that needed to be made at the time, namely the dropping of Beckham as captain and the introduction of some much needed young blood, e.g. Micah Richards was a breath of fresh air in comparison to an ageing Gary Neville.

    McLaren's achievements at Boro were fantastic - bringing a team full of local kids up through the ranks and to the UEFA Cup final. Twente was another top achievement and Wolfsburg was a challenge too far after that had overachieved the season before. Think McLaren will do well at Forest. About time they returned to the top flight.

  • Comment number 39.

    21.At 23:34 16th Jun 2011, jimmy_sids wrote:
    Leicester fan so apologies in advance...

    I think from Forest's point of view this is a positive move but I simply wouldn't want this man to be manager of my team. Yes he did well at Twente, but he was awful at Boro

    How is a Carling Cup Final win, a UEFA Cup Final, A UEFA Cup quarter final, 2 FA Cup Semi finals and an improvement every season in their league position (finishing 12th, 11th and 7th) within 4 seasons awful exactly. Sounds like a run that a lot of medium sized clubs like Boro would be happy with and better than a lot of managers have achieved.

  • Comment number 40.

    I honestly think McClaren will revive his career with Forest, and while I do not think they will be promoted this season I do expect them to be challenging the likes of West Ham, Birmingham, Cardiff, Reading and Leeds until the final day of the campaign.

  • Comment number 41.

    As a Forest fan, I respected the work of Billy Davies, whilst not exactly liking the man, as he always had a reputation of someone who could start an argument in an empty room.

    His sniping at the Board had no doubt a contribution to his sacking, which is sad, as he's been the best Manager we've had for many years.

    But upwards and onwards; with Steve McClaren, we now have a Manager with a genuine pedigree, who has been successful in a top European League; I've seen his Twente side play in the flesh, and they were capable of some fantastic attacking football, and in the Netherlands, he broke the traditional stranglehold of the "big three" of Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV to land the Dutch title - not a bad achievement.

    His time at Wolfsburg was constrained by a hostile board, a dictatorial Sporting Director and the dismantling of a squad; little wonder many other managers passed on that opportunity.

    I firmly believe he will be a success at Forest, and is the man to bring pride back to Trentside.


  • Comment number 42.

    As a lifelong Red I'm genuinely excited at the prospect of Schtevie managing us. I felt sorry for Old King Billy, who would still be in the job were he a Merry Old Soul. I wish him well as long as it's not against us (same with Tyson - I wish him 1 season of abject failure, then a move and lifelong success).

    I look forward to some quality signings, a deeper squad and most importantly to our young talent coming on even stronger. Lewis McGugan could be a household name in 2 years' time, with Raddy and Moussi others who'd benefit massively from his coaching.

    Finally, for the definitive word on what's really going on -

  • Comment number 43.

    @ 22 - "21.
    At 23:34 16th Jun 2011, jimmy_sids wrote:

    Yes he did well at Twente, but he was awful at Boro"

    He was "awful" at 'Boro?!!!! He won the league cup and got them to a UEFA CUp Final. He was a resounding success, just ask any Boro fan and they will attest to that.

  • Comment number 44.

    I wonder what accent he speaks in now.

  • Comment number 45.

    The England job is probably one of the worst managers job anyone could take. A side with so many superstars that always underperforms and then it is the managers fault.

    Harry Redknapp has created a great name for himself. Stay at Spurs Harry, don't wreck your career. Take a lesson from Steve here.

  • Comment number 46.

    I am not a huge fan of McClaren, but I feel for him to some degree. The media over-play his 'failure' with England and seem to forget about the players, or how close we were to qualifying. We narrowly missed out on qualification in a group with two good sides (Croatia and Russia), and may have qualified but for a couple of unfortunate, individual errors (Robinson, Carson etc).

    That said, I think McClaren's got a tough job at Forest. Billy Davies is a good manager and was unlucky to get the sack, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 47.

    I think Mclaren is a good choice for Forest. England aside (he was managing a set of players that had become complacent and he wrongly underestimated Beckham's influence and dropped him), he was successful at Boro and very successful in Holland. He is a trophy winning manager and it's that sort of experience that Forest will need if they are to get back in the Premier League after so many years.

  • Comment number 48.

    As a Forest fan living in Germany, I am extremely disappointed by the appointment of Steve McClaren. Billy Davies took over a team in the relegation zone and led them to successive play-off finishes, in which they lost to excellent sides which would go on to achieve promotion. Does this really count as failure?

    Steve McClaren on the other hand has done nothing to convince me that he will do well next season. He was noted for negative, defensive tactics at Middlesborough despite an expensive squad - the league cup win (over the mighty Bolton, no less) does not gloss over that. Beating the likes of Basel and Steaua Bucharest in Europe is commendable, but Boro capitulated as soon as they faced a half decent side in Sevilla.

    There is no need to discuss his England tenure any further than has already been done, so let's skip forward to his spell on the continent. He won the Eredivisie, which is probably the greatest achievement of his managerial career. However, it is a substandard league, in which Eindhoven, Ajax and Feyenoord were all in decline at the time. It is a fine achievement, but like winning the Scottish Premier League, not really relevant to managing at a competitive level. I'm surprised that everyone is glossing over his disastrous spell at Wolfsburg as if it were purely circumstantial that he failed abjectly and was sacked after 6 months. He was given a squad full of internationals and star names including Brazilian playmaker Diego, the two previous Bundesliga top scorers in Dzeko and Grafite and experienced internationals such as Friedrich and Benaglio. I watched them several times over the course of the season, and they were absolutely shambolic. No discipline, no will to win, no sign of tactics. This was McClaren's chance to prove that he was a decent manager in a good league, and he failed miserably.

    This last time Forest appointed a manager based on name rather than ability, David Platt wasted millions and paved the way for relegation to the third tier. This experiment is going to go horribly wrong, whereas Billy Davies will probably achieve promotion with whichever side he takes over.

  • Comment number 49.


    I liken Roy Hodgon's attempt at managing LFC to a commercial 747/Airbus Captain trying to fly the highly maneuverable Red Arrow Jets, and for sure moving from Midllesborough to Team England was a bridge too far. The Championship is a safe place to relaunch a managing career, but as some have found out success is not guaranteed, and failure will mean even greater devaluation!

  • Comment number 50.

    Mark - why the dig at the SPL and Eredivisie? Bit rich coming from the fan of a championship team. Or are you suggesting that the English second tier is better than the top tier in Holland and Scotland? Ha ha ha oh please give yourself a shake.

  • Comment number 51.

    #50 - You seem to have misunderstod me, I wasn't trying to belittle the SPL or the Eredivisie. Clearly, the top few teams in those leagues (and others, such as the Portuguese or Turkish leagues) are probably stronger than most of the teams in the Championship. I just don't think that there is any real level of competition in those leagues. Winning the SPL as manager of Celtic or Rangers is just like flipping a coin, you've basically got a 50% chance. Winning the Eredivisie is slightly more challenging, because there are 3-4 half-decent teams, but with Feyenoord heading towards oblivion and Ajax and PSV in steep decline it is not a competitive league. I said that I thought it was a good achievement to win the league with Twente, but it is not comparable to succeeding in a league in which you have to be on your toes every single week. If Rangers are playing Hamilton, or Twente are playing Venlo, they just have to show up to get three points. In the Championship on the other hand, ostensibly stronger teams such as Forest do lose to the likes of Scunthorpe - similarly, the gap between weaker and stronger teams in the Bundesliga is much smaller.

    I hope I've managed to make my point clear. I don't think that Forest are better than Rangers, Celtic, Ajax, Twente, Porto, Fenerbahce etc. I just think they play in a more competitive league. Most critically-inclined football fans would agree that gaining promotion from the Championship, staying up in the EPL or finishing in the top half of the Bundesliga are greater achievements than winning the SPL with Rangers or Celtic. I would go even go as far as to suggest that finishing 3rd in the SPL with any other team is a greater achievement than winning it with one of the Glasgow sides. Much in the same way as correctly anticipating the throw of a dice is more challenging than flipping a coin.

    To return to the topic, I believe that McClaren's greatest successes as a club manager have come in competitions which essentially consist of a small number of very tough games, such as the league cup, the UEFA cup and the Eredivisie. In competitions which require good performances every week, his record ranges from average (Middlesborough in the Prem) to dismal (Wolfsburg). Conclusion: we might manage a cup run under McClaren, but he isn't the man to win us promotion.

  • Comment number 52.

    I cant help but think this is a case of the right manager at the right club at the right time. McClaren's supposed toxicity in the English game is Forests gain, they would of not had a chance of getting a manager of McClaren's experience without him having that experience with England. You only have to look at what he has done with Middlesbrough and FC Twente to see he is a good club manager.

  • Comment number 53.

    @39 and @43 - He was awful at Boro.

    Four seasons of negative, directionless football with a lot of erratic and questionable decisions made... My reading of the situation at the time was that if England had not have taken him, Boro would have soon shown him the door.

    Boro had quite a bit of cash in those days too. Those league positions might seem respectable but Boro probably were hoping for a little more. They were extremely lucky to reach the UEFA cup final too, winning two games 4-3 in the last minute of injury time to get there.

    Results-wise his record might not appear so bad, but the manner in which they were achieved was awful.

    Perhaps it might be useful to quote Massimo Maccarone, a player McClaren signed for 8m and then didn't really give much of a run in the first team to:

    "Only in England could they appoint someone with such obvious limitations to become the national coach."

  • Comment number 54.

    50 macca

    dunno about the eredivisie but the championship is a better standard than the spl.

  • Comment number 55.

    What a load of turncoats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Billy Davis is twice the manager McClaren is, two playoffs and its not good enough for you. Wait till christmas stuck in mid table, I am no Forest fan but I think you had a better chance of going up with Davis.

  • Comment number 56.

    A few points if I may;
    To suggest that winning the Dutch league was not an achievement in poppycock - it was the equivalent of Dundee winning the Scottish league !
    To berate McClaren for his England time is also a little cruel - who the hell HAS had success with England in the past 10 years ? Ultimately S-Mac (!) was 15 mins away from taking us to Euro 2008. He was not responsible for the defensive lapse that cost England their place, and him his job. He's even admitted that the England job maybe came too early for him, but who if offered it would turn it down !?
    As for the Villa fans - well be careful what you wish for ? No McClaren, but McLeish instead - ha !
    No, Villa's loss is very much Forest's gain. I think that he will be a tremendous success at Forest. Billy Davies has his limitations - not least his own belief that he's the greatest manager in Div 2. He's not. 5 play-offs in 7 seasons sounds (and is) very admirable. 1 success out of 5 isn't very good. The Forest hierarchy had I suspect lost the belief that Billy could ever go one better - and I now hold that view too. In fact, before Billy's sacking, I was sure that this coming season would see Forest outside the Top 6. But with S-MAc in charge - and renewed backing from the Owner - I am now MORE confident that we can again reach the POs.

  • Comment number 57.

    Mark - thanks for the explanation. On that logic though Sir AF is not really much use as a manager either - as the EPL is also a 2 horse race (8 out of the last 10 won by 2 teams and one of those will win again next season (3 horses if you want to be pedantic)). Bit like a coin toss as you say but people still watch it.

    Meido - I'm not saying the quality in the championship is not good. If you assess it purely on the level of competition I would say it beats the EPL which is quite a lopsided league - with the top 6, and all the rest. The championship is a much tighter league, but I'm not sure why you would say the standard of football is better than the SPL.

    How many SPL games did you watch last season? Granted it's not like watching Real v Barca but to be fair I saw plenty of duff games in the EPL too last year, never mind the championship.

  • Comment number 58.

    It is also wortyh mentioning that the major problem with English football is not Mclaren, Capello or Sven but rather the press (particularly Mr McNulty) who insist on hyping average English players (Wayne Rooney, Gerrard etc) as world class (thereby raising expectations to an unreasonable level) whilst they are no more than 'English class'. Inevitably when they get to the world stage (against Germany, Spain or Barcelona) they fall flat.

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 - You are right to a certain extent about the EPL, it is quite predictable at the top. However, though there is a gulf in class between the top 2-6 sides and the rest, I don't think the divide is quite as large as it is in Scotland or Holland. The SPL is like if Man United and Chelsea were playing in the Championship. Teams like Blackpool and Wolves are far more likely to give the top teams in England a tough game, whereas the top teams in Scotland and Holland routinely thrash lesser opposition.

    As for Alex Ferguson being a poor manager - he won the Scottish league with a team from outside the Old Firm, before going on to win a European trophy with them. And he is almost single-handedly responsible for creating the duopoly which the EPL is today. Not necessarily something I approve of, but an impressive feat nonetheless.

    The worst league in terms of excitement is La Liga, at least the Dutch and the Scottish can point to the small size of their respective territories and populations as an excuse for having such a concentration of top teams. Fortunately, the teams I support play in the Championship and Bundesliga, which are both very evenly balanced in terms of quality. Having said that, I won't be complaining if Steve McClaren does get us promoted - I just don't believe that he will.

  • Comment number 60.

    Very poor appointment shows a complete lack of ambition from the forest board I feel we wont make the play offs this season and ill be amazed if McClaren is still here at the end of the season. I'm not a big fan of his he comes across as very smug Should never have been England manager!

  • Comment number 61.

    Much has been made of McClaren's time with England & while it's a period of his career that won't be forgotten, what should also be remembered along side that period, is the previous 50 years of England managers that has seem nothing but failure to a greater or lesser extent, even the great Sir Bobby faced fierce media criticism while in the job & what Sir Bobby did next, was to go & prove himself a great manager at club level all over Europe. McClaren is on that same journey.

    Sad that i am to see Billy leave us after doing a fantastic job with us over two & a half years, it was becoming glaringly obvious that while what we needed 30 months ago was somebody to drag the club forward (kicking & screaming if needs be) & to force the issue with the board while challenging them and taking on the people in power, that kind of relationship with an owner can only have a limited shelf life, what Billy did for us was fantastic & he shall forever get a warm welcome when he returns, whoever that may be with. It was though, sadly, time for both Billy & the club to move in different directions, a parting of the ways was best for all concerned and while we thank Billy for putting us where we are today (& Calderwood before him) the move for McClaren shows that NFFC are ready to take the next step forward. Nobody was pleased to see Davies leave, but the vast majority i feel have accepted the move was inevitable and needed to be made.

    In McClaren, as a club manager, we have a man with a proved track record that has taken two unfashionable clubs to their first success of any real note, a league cup, a Dutch title & a Europa league final show he has what it takes at club level to be successful, what is important to remember about this appointment for anyone left out there making snide remarks, is that NFFC is a football CLUB, his National disappointments, accents or desire to use a fully functioning umbrella when it's raining, really are completely & utterly irrelevant (seriously though, as a Country, are we really so desperate to to find criticism that we will use a man with umbrella, standing under it in the rain as stick to beat them with. You would think if common sense was applied, people would be more critical on the lack of intelligence held by someone who has an umbrella & refuses to use it in the rain, THAT would be odd)

  • Comment number 62.

    I really hope that McClaren does well at Forest. My impression is that he is the sort of coach that improves the club as a whole, rather than just being interested in what happens on the pitch on a saturday afternoon. I hope he is given time to really put his stamp on the club and build something, because I think that is his strength. Would be good to see Forest back in the big time as well.

    Phil: Any chance of an Under 21s blog? I would be really interested to read what you have to say on that subject.

  • Comment number 63.

    To all of you that continue to harp on about McClaren's failings at England and Wofsburgh.
    Suggest you read articles by many succesful people, Duncan Bannatyne for one.
    You learn more from your failings than you do from your sucess'.
    Good luck Mr McClaren, in my opininion you have nothing to prove, I just hope you can bring some sunshine to The City Ground.
    Graham Taylor, Sven and Capello three most boring football managers to be given an England job.

  • Comment number 64.

    Speaking as a Boro fan, I take my hat off to Forest on this appointment. McClaren did an excellent job at Boro. First trophy with the Carling Cup, two consecutive European outings one with a UEFA Cup Final. He moulded and built a team with solid foundations and made is into a difficult to beat Premiership side. The rot set in after he left and I would give anything to have those days back with McClaren at the helm.
    I believe he will get Forest into the Premiership, maybe not this coming season, but give him time and he will deliver.
    18th October 2011 & 14th February 2012 will be interesting nights!

  • Comment number 65.

    @23 Too right the England Manager job is a poisoned chalice!

    Even the great Capello, ordinarily a legend given his achievements, has become an object of ridicule. Which makes me respect Mourinho even turning down the job (twice) he dodged the bullet.

    The problem with England is simply. The press have to hype ordinary players to sell their stories, as a result, expectations are unreasonably high. Of course England will continue to beat the likes of Malta, Andorra and Wales.

    Generally speaking, Egland are quite good....just not against any top side. It cannot be Cappello or Sven's fault that England have not won anything since 1966!

  • Comment number 66.

    mclaren says that he joined forest because he felt wanted,well, so do criminals.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think this blog shows a more cynical reason as to why McClaren to Forest is such a great match. Look at the media attention both are getting. I'll pop back another time and go into some detail about how I feel towards this, but needless to say, I am absolutely buzzing about this appointment, as are a lot of other Forest fans. Billy was such a hard act to follow, despite his glaring flaws he was a well loved manager by the Forest faithful, but this appointment, Steve McClaren, it just feels so right.

  • Comment number 68.

    I am fascinated by Phil's turnaround, re McClaren.

    To go from slating the man, to respecting the man and publically admitting to a turnaround of opinion - thats whats fascinating coming from a journalist.

    So Phil, what happens if McClaren bombs at Forest? What happens if he again becomes a figure of ridicule. I'd love to see your reaction to that if it happens.

  • Comment number 69.

    "Billy was such a hard act to follow, despite his glaring flaws he was a well loved manager by the Forest faithful" - stillbrighter

    Hmm, I think that depends on who you talk to. The Forest fans forum I post on is busily dissecting all of Billy's bad points and some of them are gleefully sticking the boot in, whilst at the same time lauding McClaren's achievements and ignoring his failures.

  • Comment number 70.

    @20 Are you saying that there has been a scottish or welsh manager who was better than Clough?

  • Comment number 71.

    McClaren inherited a very good team in Enchede but fair play to him, Twente deservedly fought off Ajax to win the title. He never built a team from scratch and Twente would of finished in the top three without a decent coach.
    What impressed me the most was his manners and general courtesy when talking to the press. He won over both the public and media throughout the Netherlands.
    Twente played decent football, McClaren's not a long ball merchant like some in England. That should go down well at the city ground.
    He's allegedly interested in ADO Den Haag's Wesley Verhoek, his talent would be wasted in the second division but he's some player if he does sign for Forest. A fiery winger, certainly not a shrinking violet.
    A good appointment in my opinion.

  • Comment number 72.

    We have to back McClaren now he has been appointed and I think his appointment can be good for the Forest academy, and the bringing of young players through into the first team. I thought that Billy was unwilling or unable to do this. That being said I am gutted for Billy Davies as I thought he was a very good manager, in fact one the best we've had since Cloughie. He took us from relegation candidates to promotion hopefuls. I admired his passion, determination and enthusiasm but I think it was his unbridled passion that probably led to his dismissal. In that sense Billy was his own worst enemy I'm afraid.

    Personally I hope McClaren succeeds at the City Ground not just because, as a Forest fan, I want to see us playing in the Premiership but also because I want to see Macca's reputation restored. He was vilified by press and public after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 and even today his reputation from his time as England manager has prevented him from getting a job at a big Premiership club, so I would like to see him prove a few people in this country that he's a good manager after all.

  • Comment number 73.

    Steve Maclaren went to Holland but FC twente were already on the up and he took a lot of credit for work that others had done before him. His overall record is nothing to shout about and the fact he failed at Middlesbro' (Carling Cup yes but at what cost) and his abysmal reign as England manager suggests that Nottm F will struggle this year.

  • Comment number 74.

    Like most Forest fans, I hope McClaren will be a success. But the way Billy Davies was got rid of leaves an unpelasant taste in the mouth. Nigel Doughty signed him two and a half years ago on a three year contract - to keep Forest from being relegated in the first 6 months, then challenge for promotion. He maanged that - two play-off spots (more than any other Forest manager acheived in the Championship). But i suspect he told Doughty that if he wanted an automatic spot in 2011/12 he'd need to spend £Xmilion, £Y million more than Doughty wanted to spend. Fortuitously McClaren suddenly became available, so Davies was sacked. I fear we're getting more of a Yes-man, who'll fail to achieve the promotion Forest fans want so desperately, but allow himself to be the fall-guy for Doughty, whereas Davies rightly piointed out where the problems actually are at Forest. Yes - Doughty has put a lot of money into the club, but if he has clear cash limits & if these inevitably limit our ambitions, he should say so, rather than pretend he's seriosuly intesrested in promotion. Promotion on the cheap (if you're extraordinarily lucky with a run of form like Blackpool in 2009/10) generally brings instant relegation, as Davies learnt with Derby. The mood music now is of ANOTHER 3 year plan for promotion, using the phenomenal talent in the Forest junior ranks (entirely overlooked by Davies, so it's said) with, we suspect only a little money to spend. Unless McClaren and his new team are marvellous coaches, the risk is all downside, I fear.

  • Comment number 75.

    McLaren could win the Champions League with Forest and he still wouldn't be rehabilitated for his mistakes while in the England role largely thanks to the media coverage

  • Comment number 76.

    McClaren has to go one better than Davies to win the fans over.

    Billy took over a team heading for League 1 and transformed it into a team almost capable of promotion, had he had the backing of the Forest board they would now be a Premier League team.

    Steve McClaren has a hard act to follow and if he doesn't deliver he'll be out !

  • Comment number 77.

    Glad to see Billy Davies gone, really. I got sick and tired of him bleating about not being backed when the Chairman was backing him and the club with millions, year after year. His disloyalty at offering himself to other clubs was too much for me. Anyway, I am thankful for him establishing us as a reasonable force in the Championship. Happy to have Steve McLaren on board. I think this could be a real step in the right direction. If it doesn't turn out like that then maybe we could open a few 'Dutch style' coffee shops around the ground so that we'd have no idea as to what was happening - I'm sure it would attract some more away fans too! Good luck Steve.

  • Comment number 78.

    I'm very positive about McClaren's appointment. The key phrase in Phil's blog in my opinion was "Villas loss was Forest's gain". If there is any truth in the gossip that the Villa board reacted unfavourably to his application due to fear of the fans reaction, there is a sweet irony that, they then went on to appoint Alex McLeish. How the fans must love Lerner and his board now!

    I want to make two further points: Firstly, about Billy Davies. My first instinct is usually to stick up for managers who have been sacked after doing a good job but, on this occasion I think the board may have made a very wise move. I challenge any Forest fan who doubts this to consider how they might react to a manager who regularly whined about lack of funds when you have put 25 million of your own money into the club in two years. Does anyone doubt that if Celtic had made him an offer last summer that he'd have been off in a shot? And, about that 25 million, was it purely the transfer requisition committee's fault that Forest spent so much on several strikers - who largely failed to score - rather than a left back? I'd like to wish Billy good luck in his next job - even if it ends up being Birmingham City.

    The second point I want to make is that I think many fans' sneering about McClaren is largely undeserved anyway. The British press that they have this tendency to build up people, only to kick the boot in when things go wrong and, sadly, the public seem to swallow it every time. Let's face it, on most other nights England would have beaten Croatia, and qualified for Euro 2008 as group winners. The difference between success and failure in football is cruelly slim and McClaren paid the usual price through a nightmare moment from Robinson and bad luck. So - he used a brolly - who cares!? It was raining!! So he spoke to the media once with a bit of a Dutch accent - so what? It just shows he was closely involved with the community there.

    I hope Forest fans get behind the new boss quickly and that he gets the luck that seemed to evade Billy Davies for the last two years. A quality left back, a reliable goal scorer, a more reliable holding midfield player than Moussi, and I think Forest will be a major force in the championship next season.

  • Comment number 79.

    To disagreed with my statement that Billy was well loved by Forest fans. Non-sense. There was a small vocal minority that seemed to glory in our failures, but generally speaking Billy was immensely popular and will be remembered for many years with gratitude and fondness. Don´t pay attention to what a few idiots in forums say, pay attention to what those that regularly attend games and understand football say.

    Also, to those saying McClaren just capitalised on his predecessor´s work at Twente, 7 of the key players in his title winning season were his own purchases, so I´ve no idea where this myth has come from that McClaren inherited his success. Rubbish.

    I also don´t believe that McClaren will have a tough time winning over the fans at all. The sense of optimism is far higher now than it has been in the last two years, and is probably higher than in 2009 simply because we expect a promotion push, not a season of consolidation.

  • Comment number 80.

    "but generally speaking Billy was immensely popular and will be remembered for many years with gratitude and fondness."

    No. I'm sorry but thats just not true. I have heard MANY complaints about Billy in the last week or so. Quite a few people I've spoken to were glad to see the back of him and take great pleasure in listing his bad points.

    For you to sit there and say my comment was nonsense, whilst maintaining that the Forest fans are as one and that we all loved Billy is simply not true.

    And for the record, I was a massive BD fan, sorry to see him go and would have preferred to see him left in his job for his last year, which I believe he was entitled to.

    But it's just not true to say that he was liked by all. Pull your head out of the clouds, sir. The people who I speak to on the forum I post on ALL go to games. A few of them are a part of our marvellous away support. And not all of them liked Billy.

    Deny it until your blue in the face, but BD is a man who split opinion, especially in the aftermath of his sacking. I can provide proof of my comments, can you?

  • Comment number 81.

    Humm, this is why I wasn't sorry to see 606 get shut down, so few reading comprehension skills on there... Right, I never said Forest fans are as one, I explicitly said a vocal minority criticised him endlessly whenever we did badly, almost as though they revelled in our failures. So please read my whole posts, not just one line that you object to.

    Can I find proof that Billy was loved by the majority. Yes, plenty, look at the comments of the majority of Forest fans. Stop looking at the vocal minority. Are you even a Forest fan? You're just talking about people you spoke to on forums, what about the real world?

    I can't be bothered with this, if you want to debate, we can debate, but first of all you need to stop inferring things in my posts that I never said. It's impossible to talk to someone who hears only what they want to hear and ignores everything else.


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