Date:Friday October 17 2008
Nottingham Forest boss Colin Calderwood has been under considerable pressure in recent weeks, but Vital QPR speaks to a Forest fan optimistic of positive change.
Kevin Finnegan aka Guinless editor of Vital Forest is confident that his beloved reds can turn the corner after a bout of injuries and bad luck.
Forest are back in the Championship since they were relegated at Loftus Road courtesy of QPR, how does the current team compare to the team relegated under Gary Megson?
There's no comparison, thank God. That was without doubt, the worst team ever to put on a Forest shirt. I was at that game and the performance that day just about summed us up back then. My abiding memory of the day, (apart from the magnificent away support) is of the pathetic foul by Darryl Powell, that earned him a sending off. He even had the brass neck to argue with the ref.
Colin Calderwood was appointed but after a couple of disappointing seasons what was the feeling in the City Ground surrounding his future prospects.
He arrived with a reputation of playing defensive and negative football and he didn't disappoint. It has to be said, that his first two seasons have been uninspiring from a spectators point of view. With as few as three games to go last season, I think I can say the majority wanted him out. I certainly did, even though we were safely in the playoffs. But he did the unimaginable and got us up, even if it was at the expense of Donny and Carlisle gifting it to us.
You were defeated by Yeovil in the play-off semi final in unbelievable circumstances - how did it feel as it unfolded before your eyes.
It still hurts to think of it. I never thought for a minute we were home and dry, even at 2-0 up from the 1st leg. But you couldn't have written the way it turned out. We were something like 7 mins from a Wembley Playoff Final and we bottled it. Nothing less than we deserved, but it was gut wrenching to go through. I've been watching Forest for nigh on 30 years and that night was the worst night of my entire life.
Eventually you achieved promotion against all odds on the final day - Can you describe the roller-coaster of emotions that ensued that.
With three games to go, we were third favourites to go up. Not many thought we'd go up automatically then. I was preparing for another playoff disappointment, probably against Leeds. The final day was unbelievable.
Just as in the Yeovil game a year before, you couldn't have written the way the day unfolded. A packed City Ground witnessed what was more akin to a Houdini act. We were 3-1 up at half time and results elsewhere meant that the Playoffs were looking odds on. Yeovil pulled it back to 3-2 with 15 to go and the tension was unimaginable. As news came through that Carlisle and Donny were faltering, the hopes began to rise.
We needed Donny or Carlisle to draw, but both were nailed on for a win. Carlisle took the lead at already relegated Bournemouth and Donny were 1 down at Cheltenham. The rest as they say is history, because not only did both teams pull a goal back, but Cheltenham went on to win right at the death. It all made for a very long, but very exciting summer.
A succession of summer signings including Rob Earnshaw and Joe Garner have bolstered the squad, why do you think it hasn't come to fruition yet?
In fairness to Calderwood, he's been hampered by injuries, bad referees and bad luck. That said, it's no fluke we're bottom. We can't score and we can't defend. The injuries are clearing up and the game this weekend will see us looking stronger than we have since the season started.
Rumours about Calderwood job have surfaced in recent weeks, has your opinion of the Scotsman changed at all during this season?
Although I'd have sacked him with three games to go last season, he got us up. For that he deserves a chance. Once he has a fully fit squad to pick from, then we'll know more. He's got us playing some tidy football again and we're a lot easier on the eye than we have been for some years. He could be the one we've waited so long for, but he doesn't have long.
You are without a win on the road this season, do you come to Loftus Road with confidence of breaking that duck, or is there trepidation?
I take the view that all bad runs have to end some time. If we are going to turn the corner, we have to do it now, starting at Loftus Road. There's no sense or reason to back up my feeling that we'll win, but I think we will and I think we'll do it comfortably. There's nothing quite like the blind faith of a football supporter, eh.
What player should R's fans watch out for as a potential match winner?
We have Lee Martin on loan from Man U. He's a lively winger with pace and skill. He's the sort of player who gets fans off their seats. All eyes will be on Earnshaw, but watch out for Martin, he's a good 'un.
Conversely is there a player you fear in the Rangers squad.
Dexter Blackstock could have a very good day, depending on what defenders Calderwood picks. If you see Morgan and Chambers in our starting eleven, tell Dexter to fill his boots.
Finally, what is your prediction for Saturday.
I have an unusually good feeling about this one. It's time to turn the corner and get our first win on the road. I'm going for a 3-1 win! I should say though, that I am notoriously bad at predictions.
Many thanks to Kevin for his heartfelt views!
My views can be viewed by visiting Vital Forest >>>
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Date:Friday October 17 2008
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