Well don’t say I didn’t warn you. No, not about retirement. Football, silly. In my last but one Forest blog I suggested that giving Bully Davies a seven year contract was madness. A man generally regarded as abrasive, self-opinionated and Scottish (and a good Championship manager in my opinion and one blighted with a ridiculous injury list) was never going to rub comfortably along with a powerful, self-made man from the Middle East used to having his own way. And so 13 months into his seven year contract verily it has come to pass. Bully has been sacked.
He even made The Observer which is quite a feat as he refused to speak to them in his role as manager. A classic entry into the Said & Done column : 22nd March, Fawaz al Hasawi said “Every club has this, even Manchester United had this with Sir Alex Ferguson in the old days. But they continued and started winning and winning. Billy Davies is doing the right job.” 24th March. He isn’t. How I laughed, my own club now the subject of derision. Actually not so funny now. Boy, we’re getting through some managers these days.
I still haven’t written a blog about Brian Clough and this is not it but Brian’s managerial tenure was positively epic compared to the run of recent holders of the post. Steve, Steve again (another one), Sean, Alex and now Billy come and gone in the flash of the referee’s card. It’s difficult to be critical of an owner who has put millions into the club and thank God we’re not in the same position as Leeds United but it does begin to look like Mr Hasawi is quite a difficult chap to work for. But hark, what’s that I hear? Another young, pliable, easy-going football manager in the wings waiting for his chance to work hand in glove with Fawaz. Who can it be? Glenn Hoddle, nope; Neil Warnock, nope; Emile Zola (sic), nope; Roy Keane, sorry only kidding. No it’s Stewart Pearce, otherwise known, for very good reasons, as Psycho, a mild mannered man who will fit perfectly into the cap touching , forelock tugging requirements of Mr Hasawi.
Let me just run a few of Psycho’s credentials passed you. First, I have to say that this man is one of my all time heroes. I love this man and that’s not a sentence that you will hear many times from these lips. Not for nothing did I adopt his name for my New Zealand pint glass in the Handle Club (read it here). Yes, the clever play on my job title (psychologist in case you hadn’t worked it out) helped but it was this man, this living God, that made my knees turn to jelly. Which interestingly was the effect he had on most of the forwards he ‘marked’ and I use that word specifically. Matthew le Tissier said he was the most frightening man he ever played against. When, after a long and successful career with Forest, he went to Newcastle, Rudd Gullit was so intimidated by him that he made him train with the reserves. This after Psycho had kicked him up in the air at a training session. Psycho is a legendary punk rock fan, Mr Hasawi and he will have something in common there I’m sure. His brother is a BNP candidate, that’s always handy when you have a foreign owner, but, hey, we all have our dark horses in the family skeleton cupboard if I may mix my analogies with my metaphors.
So then there we have it, this is probably our new manager. Interestingly Stewart, for that is his name, mild-mannered Stewart, originally turned the job down, for personal reasons. I can only imagine what they might have been but probably something about being allowed to kick or punch players in training (an allowance or quota being given each week) and not having to make the bloody silly little videos that Bully engaged in as part of his charm (as he understood the term) offensive (that he understood) when he first came to Forest. He made himself available to the press, well Natalie (pretty local TV reporter), anyway but then when he got cross he banned the press and refused to speak to them. That’s Bully not Stewart, Psycho would just have kicked them up in the air.
Am I thrilled that my hero is ‘likely’ to become our new manager? Well, no, actually I’m not. The fact is Psycho does not have a good track record as a manager. He has already been unsuccessful as caretaker manager with Forest, and Manchester City and the England Under 21s. Of course he’s a more experienced man now and so unlikely to repeat the fairly basic mistake he made as Forest manager when he selected his first eleven as manager. He liked what he had got and it was only when his wife pointed out that he had forgotten to choose a goalkeeper that he realised there was more to this selection business than meets the eye. Still if it’s true (and I’m sure it is not) that Mr Hasawi likes to choose the team, then things should work out fine. Brian Clough and Peter Taylor all over again. Oh dear.
So I’m a bit worried, quite anxious in fact. Most of all I’m frightened that my idol will have feet of clay instead of the iron which he used to kick his opponents over the stand. We retired people cannot afford to be giving up our heroes at this late stage in the proceedings. But good luck, Psycho and if I were to meet you in a dark alley I would certainly wish you all the very best.