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"We are considering a three-to-five-year business plan to bring this club back on the map where it should be" - Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi, July 14.
If there's one thing that you should learn in football, it's not to get attached to people. Players will leave when someone shinier offers them more money, managers will lose their touch and you'll wonder why you ever trusted them, and owners that seemed to be making perfectly sensible decisions will hang a left and do something massively moronic.
This is the reason following team sports is much more emotional than simply having a favourite sportsman or woman. You can get involved with a team for a lifetime, safe in the knowledge that the team will (probably) be around for as long as you will, rather than for the 15-20-year career of a single athlete. Or, perhaps 25 years plus for a golfer, if you don't follow sport.
Nottingham Forest sacked Sean O'Driscoll on Wednesday evening, around five hours after beating Leeds 4-2 and putting in one of their better performances of the season. If the timing seemed strange, that's because it was. Forest were (and indeed are at the time of writing) in eighth position in the Championship, one point outside the play-off places, having spanked a team who'd won five of their previous six games.
Under the circumstances, O'Driscoll did about as good a job as could reasonably have been expected. In late July, while everyone else was planning for the new season, Forest had no owner, no manager and no senior defenders on their books. Since then, the Kuwaiti Al-Hasawi family bought the club, O'Driscoll was appointed and 14 new players have been signed. Expecting instant success with that sort of preparation was unrealistic.
Like in any relationship, the new owners were loved because they were a reaction against what came before. While Nigel Doughty (the previous chairman who died in February) was a good man and saved the club, he was reticent about spending money and countless transfer targets seemed to slip away as Forest dawdled. The new men spent, and did it quickly - players were signed with little fuss, with many arriving from Premier League clubs. It all seemed rather sensible and efficient.
As was the appointment of O'Driscoll. Bringing a man in who had been a first-team coach at the club last season and was liked among the squad looked like the work of shrewd men who weren't keen on flashy gestures, not worried about having a manager with a lo-fi approach. Which makes O'Driscoll's sacking seem even more ludicrous and odd - if they brought in a manager who wasn't one for the spectacular, why get rid of him five months later after solid results?
There have been signs lately that something was amiss among the owners. A couple of weeks ago Omar Al-Hasawi stepped down as chairman for 'personal reasons', with his cousin Fawaz taking over. Reports emerged shortly afterwards that the club credit card was refused at a hotel, while players were paid late and other bills remained outstanding. Following that report, in a classic 'Your shoelaces are untied!' move, Fawaz announced that big screens would be installed at the City Ground as a 'Christmas gift', presumably expecting a slack-jawed and pliant fanbase to coo their approval and clap like performing seals.*
One explanation for the decision may lie in something that was regarded as a strength a few months ago. The Al-Hasawis seemed to pride themselves on listening to the fans, making moves that would please and appease supporters. However, the past month has been some fairly vocal criticism of O'Driscoll from people who for the sake of good manners (because I'm a polite young man who was raised correctly) I shall simply call 'thundering cretins'. Every club has these mouth-breathers, but the trouble is these are the people who seem to shout the loudest, meaning the owners may have heard some spittle-flecked complaints and acted accordingly. The quietly contented, those willing to give a manager some time and those with half a thought in their heads, do not scream and shout.
When owners start listening to fans too much, they're in trouble. For one thing, there is no such thing as a 'consensus' when it comes to football support, so if anyone listens to the assorted thoughts of fans and tries to come to a rounded conclusion, they'll start confused and end a raging schizophrenic. In any case, listening to the fans is usually a mistake - one could argue that Newcastle only started to turn things around once Mike Ashley stopped trying to placate the Geordie hordes.
Of course, the dismissal of Sean O'Driscoll is not necessarily a bad decision - only the performance of the new man will tell us that. As I wrote here a few weeks ago, making ostensibly unpopular and knee-jerk calls like this can work, a comparable example being Nicky Barmby at Hull. While the circumstances were different (Barmby was dismissed after bad-mouthing the club's owners in the press), Hull finished eighth last term under the hugely popular Barmby, and his dismissal caused some uproar. Now they're second. A shoddy way to treat a human being it may have been, but at the moment it looks like a decent football decision. If Forest are promoted this season under their new manager, the treatment of O'Driscoll will be regarded as a shame but little more than that.
Still, for the moment it rankles. Forest are in danger of becoming one of those clubs, a basket case owned by interlopers with no concept of how to run a football club. And just for a moment, us Forest fans were taken in - we thought our lot were different, and wouldn't make silly decisions on a whim, thinking success should be now and balls to caution and prudence.
There's an old proverb that says 'the corruption of the best is the worst'. In football when we think we have someone good, we cling to them, which makes it all the more disappointing when we turn out to be wrong. Don't do it. Don't have heroes, don't think your lot are better than the rest and don't get attached to people. You'll only be disappointed.
* The screens, first used in the Leeds game, were very nice. But if it's an either/or thing, I'd prefer Sean O'Driscoll to still be Forest manager, please.
Nick Miller - follow him on Twitter