VIRGO: Freedman not right for Forest
WATCHING Not - tingham Forest recently, it was obvious that the players’ belief in the manager had come to an end. Sacking Stuart Pearce was the right decision.
But what baffles me completely is the appointment of Dougie Freedman, a guy who suffered the exact same problem at Bolton this season.
I saw Bolton play against Brighton at the beginning of the season and I’m being kind when I say they were average.
You look at a manager like Mick McCarthy and one thing you can always say is that his teams are organised. Ipswich are nowhere near the Championship’s strongest side on paper, but they defend well, they have a system, they play to their strengths. It’s simple stuff, but it works.
I saw nothing in Dougie Freedman’s team that made me think ‘Ah they’re trying to play out from the back’ or that they were using a particular gameplan. Like Forest under Pearce, you didn’t look at the team on the pitch and see an identity.
Forest are a massive club and they should be attracting better managers than Dougie. As a player, you pick up a paper, see your club linked with a big name like Tim Sherwood and think ‘I can’t wait to play under him’.You pick it up and see Dougie Freedman and you think ‘Is he really the guy to pick everyone up?’
Is Freedman better than Pearce? I don’t think so. I think it’s down to money. After paying compensation to so many managers these last few years, Fawaz Al-Hasawi must have picked the cheapest option.
Either that or it’s a stopgap to get Dougie back on the ladder and see Forest through to the end of a season that – let’s face it – is now dead in the water. They aren’t going up. They aren’t going down. And come the summer, I would think there will be experienced managers out of work who will be a lot more attractive to Fawaz.
As for Stuart Pearce, his reputation has taken a battering. He got the job at Manchester City thanks to his playing career. He did OK. He got the job with England on reputation. Again, he did OK. He got the job at Forest through his legendary status and failed.
The final performance against Millwall was nothing short of dire. I’ve seen Millwall play a few times this season and they’re rarely anything but poor.
For Forest to be even worse shows you exactly where the club were going under Pearce.The goal they conceded really summed them up.
The players have said they were behind him. I don’t believe it.Yes, his name was ‘Psycho’ on the pitch. He loved a tackle. It was all very heart on sleeve. And when you’re like that as a manager, players can respond.
But if they were genuinely behind him, they would be beating teams like Millwall. They wouldn’t be conceding sloppy goals and they wouldn’t be surrendering as they have.
He lost his way, and there aren’t many excuses.Where does he go from here? People talked about England once but that’s gone. Premier League clubs? Can’t see that either. Other Championship clubs? Yeah, the smaller ones would probably take him for the publicity.
But for me, the best option is to go abroad like Steve McClaren did. Steve had an awful time with England. Nobody here would touch him. But he went to FC Twente, worked miracles over there and has now come back with Derby a far better coach with his reputation restored.
If Stuart Pearce could do that, I know teams out there would love to have him.
TWO OF A KIND: Stuart Pearce, left, and his replacement as Nottingham Forest boss, Dougie Freedman