Let’s fall back in love

9 Mar

Saturday 8th  March 2014

Barnsley                   1.0      Nottingham Forest                      


Is it just me or is it quite a traumatic and demanding experience being a Forest fan these days?

I seem to be the recipient of an increasing amount of piteous looks from friends and colleagues: you know the look I mean – the one where the head ever so slightly tilts to one side in a look of simultaneous pity but also relief that they aren’t you. This is usually followed up by the statement, ‘’you’ll make the play-offs though.” But it’s not a statement is it? It’s more of a question, a wondering, a tentative thought-out aloud.

So there’s not just that to contend with but also the ‘Billy Davies’ situation. No, not the ‘should we cut him loose or allow him time to get the injured players back situation’. Even though this question reached fever pitch on Saturday night, I am referring to the ‘pro Billy’ or ‘anti Billy’ camps that seem to be binary opposites with absolutely no wiggle room in-between.

It’s like some kind of civil war has broken out. It’s almost as if you need to gently joust in conversation with fellow fans in order to establish where their preference lies. Only then can you broach the ‘Billy’ question, or indeed not if they are in a different field to yours. The thing is that you’re almost half afraid that you will be denounced as a ‘happy clapper’, ‘armchair fan’, ‘Derby fan’ or ‘lacking loyalty’ should you express an opinion on this oh so divisive situation.

Of course, this stupid game that we love is all about opinions and we all have them. However, rarely has it been the case that a man has split fans into diametrically opposite sides.

It really hasn’t been a good weekend: Nigel Clough has led the Blades into a winnable semi-final FA cup tie against Hull City (‘it could’ve been me!!!’) Burnley have picked up the ball labelled ‘promotion’ and stomped off with it like a child taking their own ball home. James Perch (James Perch!) has scored the winning goal against Manchester City for Wigan Athletic. And us? I sat this one out at Oakwell but what I did see didn’t look pretty.

Even if Mackie had put that header away, hands up who thinks we’d have held on anyway? No. Thought not.

I am concerned at the manner in which our reputation as a team that most other football fans (and non-football fans) ‘kind of liked’ or had a ‘soft spot’ for is ebbing away alarmingly. No doubt you’ve read this already but if you haven’t, erstwhile Forest fan and journalist Daniel Taylor’s column is worth a read (http://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2014/mar/08/football-association-fa-england-under-20s-steven-gerrard ). He too seems to get it in the neck whenever he voices an opinion regarding a club he clearly loved and continues to do so dearly.

So, at the risk of sounding like a supply teacher cowering at the back of the classroom while a riot takes place, can we please stop being so nasty to each other?

Thanks. That’s clearly learned you. Right. As you were.


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