Kinky Boots

3 Nov

Saturday 2nd November 2013

Nottingham Forest         0.1          Blackpool

(Dobbie)

As the players lined up for kick-off, there were numerous items to note.  Firstly, Cox, Reid and Majewski were nowhere to be seen. Few would have any quarrel with Cox not making the starting 11: for all his hard work and running of the channels in an effort to create chances for gallivanting midfielders, he looked a broken man at Yeovil after his penalty miss. Reid makes us tick but perhaps it was time that his little body had a bit of a rest. Majewski is essential in maintaining possession in the opposition’s half; even if his shooting is increasingly erratic. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, what’s with all the luminous, Day-Glo, hi-visibility football boots?

Back in the day, only the trequartista (playmaker, for all you non-football hipsters) would dare to be different and wear white boots. The most exotic boots I had were Nike ones which were endorsed by loads of famous players but for me, most notably, Neil Webb. They were the plain black ones with NIKE spelled out around the heel and backed by a quite arty ad campaign:

nike[1]

This is one of several, largely featuring Liverpool, which may or may not depict Aldridge trying to decapitate either the unfortunate Colin Foster or Terry Wilson as Paul Wilkinson looks on and reflects upon how he will only really ever be remembered by Forest fans for that goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup quarter final which paved the way for possibly my favourite Forest goal: Brian Rice through on goal after a glorious pass by Nigel Clough. I digress. John Aldridge: possibly the most hated player by Forest fans of a certain age (ask Brian Laws if you’re not sure why). Incidentally, how shocking was, and remains, our record at Anfield, especially in the 80s? And this was when we were good! I digress again. The boots. Correct me if I’m wrong in recollecting that Roy Race (he of Roy of the Rovers fame) also emulated Neill Webb and got a Nike boot endorsement.

Such footwear extravagance did not bode well.

With the loan signing of David Vaughan and the encouraging performance of Jara Reyes in the shielding role, it struck me on the drive to Nottingham that a 4-2-3-1 formation might well the only way to go today if both payers were to be accommodated. As the teams lined up, I felt like a tactical genius on the same wave –length as King Billy. We differed in personnel though as Abdoun hugged the left wing, thus depriving us of that magical Cohen/Reid interplay. I was surprised: I have stated before how unconvinced I am with Abdoun’s defensive play and doubly surprised that Billy, being how defensively minded he is, felt Abdoun had earned a starting place. Still, at least THAT didn’t impact upon today’s result in ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, DID IT!!!???

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and to be fair, we looked decent for the first half hour in front of perhaps the quietest crowd I can remember for a while. This might be explained by the fact that deep down, we all knew Blackpool would win anyway; it’s what they do at the City Ground and the next 90 minutes was prolonging the inevitable.

And then Abdoun found himself in the left back position, panicked, grabbed a shirt, conceded a penalty and got a red card. Darlow produced a superb double save but we were up against it. As a footnote, I found it interesting that Abdoun, clearly in genuine distress about his red card, was simply ignored by our multitude of coaching staff as he walked past them; not a consoling pat from any one of them . I think it might be a while until we see him start a game again.

The second half saw a tactical shift and although extremely defensive, it worked for the most part. Blackpool’s attacks continually foundered upon the rocks of Lascelles and Hobbs. They grew frustrated. Ince was getting no joy from Cohen. Admittedly, we never looked like creating a chance of our own, never mind scoring. Even when Henderson held it up, he had no one around him and on the occasion when we broke from defence and a midfielder looked up for an option, there were none. However, with the tangerines struggling to get their thumbs beyond the rind, we made some attacking substitutions: Reid and Paterson on.

Darlow was voted man of the match and he has been magnificent since stepping up to the plate. However, he was again beaten at his near post in extra time at the City Ground. This is not meant to be a criticism; just an observation and although he may have been unsighted with bodies in front of him, he may feel disappointed about this.

And congratulations to Stephen Dobbie: by making a point of confrontationally celebrating directly in front of the Trent End, you have managed to achieve John Aldridge status amongst the younger generation of Forest fans. And as for you, Michael Chopra, what’s with your fist-pumping redemptive celebration? You were after all, only here for 5 games on loan and barely any Forest remember this anyway. In any case, go and share you’re your joy with your own fans and stop bothering us.

After witnessing various away days under Billy Davies, I am not his biggest fan in terms of tactics but I don’t think he got much wrong today: we were a whisker away from a point against a team in excellent form while playing with 10 men for an hour. I also felt that we had a chance of snatching it in the last 10 minutes with our offensive substitutions, just when it looked like Blackpool had run out of puff: Abdoun’s red card changed everything though.

There is no denying that this has been a disappointing run of results and form since beating Derby County and some stats seem to be masking bigger problems: 6th in the table, 6th highest goal scorers in the league, only 3 defeats all season. Try telling a Wednesday fan or Birmingham fan that this is a disappointing season thus far. However, so much money has been spent and Billy is like Charlie Bucket: he’s been given everything that he ever wanted in terms of resources. Still, it’s only Leicester away and then Burnley at home in the next two games. Gulp.

Forget tactical changes, personnel, injury lists: change the boots for simple black Gola ones.

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6 Responses to “Kinky Boots”

  1. D Morgan November 3, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    You write as though you have never seen a red card before. All clubs and all coaching staff traditionally ignore a red carded player as they walk down the tunnel. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen a ‘consoling pat’ from any coaching staff under those circumstances!

    Abdoun is a class act at this level. I just hope Billy’s tactics doesn’t ‘break’ him

    • marplesdavid November 3, 2013 at 11:19 am #

      A fair point. I was not suggesting that Abdoun was deserving of a ‘consoling pat’; merely that the lack of any acknowledgement from the Davies, Kelly et al indicated to me that they had no sympathy for him and that he was deserving of the red card. I agree with you that he is potentially a class act but I get worried at the thought of him being asked to perform anything like approaching defensive duties.

  2. Rob Steel (@theRedun) November 3, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Got to agree about the boots, we needed sunglasses to avoid the glare from the day glow orange and yellow.

    A few years ago i remember John Mcgovern saying about a player “he must be good, he’s got white boots;” with the multi-coloured boots around today, are we to assume that the “good” players now where plain ‘black’ boots?

    • marplesdavid November 3, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      …and as for tattoos…well, that’s for another day!

  3. Phil Lengthorn November 3, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Perhaps the Billy ‘playoffs’ Davies phrase we hear get banded about should actually be Billy ‘mid-table’ Davies. On a day when Forest were dropping points at home the mighty Addicks were winning away – it may seem times are changing. There’s only one Chrissy Powell! Talking of Chris Powell, did you know he is the longest serving manager in The Championship…and he’s not even been in charge for 3 years yet!!!! A very sorry stat….

    • marplesdavid November 5, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

      The mighty Addicks are putting together an impressive run whilst remaining very much under the radar.

      A very sorry stat indeed.

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