OPINION: '˜Could Billy Davies really make another return to Nottingham Forest?'
Whenever the manager's position becomes vacant at the City Ground, one name always crops up for the hot seat under the current owner - Billy Davies.
He is a manager who has been out the game since his last spell at Forest came to an end in 2014 but yet the same arguments are made for and against another return for the marmite like Scotsman every time the position becomes available.
It seems for better or worse that he will forever be associated with the club while Fawaz Al Hasawi is at the helm and to be honest, they’re quite well suited. They certainly appeared to get on well during his second spell here.
The footage of them in Kuwait remains fresh in the memory and at parts makes for cringe viewing. We are led to believe their relationship soured towards the end, and for some it couldn’t have come soon enough.
But, if Al Hasawi’s tenure has taught us anything, it’s that he is not afraid to make impulse decisions.
Could a reconciliation between the two be beyond the realms of possibility? And, even if it could, would fans welcome Billy back for a third stint? Given the position of the club right now, does it matter, as long as we stay up?
At the time of writing this piece Davies is 3/1 favourite with Sky Bet to be the next permanent Forest manager. Does it have legs, this time?
Bookies have a job to do, like anyone else, but what is it about Billy Davies that makes them believe he is a realistic option, or that they believe supporters would believe he is a realistic option?
There must be something still there. Whether it’s nostalgia playing it’s part, primarily from his first spell at the club under Nigel Doughty, there remains a sense of what might have been with Davies and those play-off campaigns.
I started watching Forest in 1993 and was fortunate to have seen Frank Clark’s team promoted, finish third in the Premier League and reach the last eight in Europe. It’s never been better than that for me, and many others.
Dave Bassett’s title winners were good for a season, Paul Hart’s young play-off team gave us all, well, heart, but once past that it has been a tough time of it on and off the pitch. Davies’s first spell in charge is probably next in that list.
It was the best football I’d seen there for a long time. For too long you’d hear there’s no bite about Forest, they don’t look interested, the weight of expectation was too much... but all that seemed to fade.
We beat Derby, Newcastle and Leicester all at home and who could forget West Brom away in that first season? That team did us proud and that was Davies’ team, falling just short in the play-offs.
The disappointment to Blackpool lasted long and we were well beaten by Swansea in the play-offs the following season. He hit the ground running with six consecutive wins in 2013 and gave hope of a top six finish.
Time can be a great healer.
Which makes me think ‘what if?’. If it’s helped heal for Fawaz? Is there a chance Davies could return? Football is crazy at times and would it be the craziest thing if he did come back, again?
For me, if - IF - he were given the job to the end of the season there’s no doubt in my mind he would keep Forest away from the drop zone. He’s done it before. But there are other managers out there too.
Former Brighton and Watford boss Oscar Garcia (7/2), Gary Rowett, formerly of Burton and Birmingham, and current Forest U23s boss Jack Lester (4/1), ex-Manchester United man Ryan Giggs (8/1) and another familiar name in son of Brian, Nigel Clough (14/1).
It’s a guessing game at this stage.
There are many names in the shake-up. I made it clear in my last post, after the dismal defeat to Barnsley who I’d want in charge and that remains the same now.
I guess I’ll always remember (most of) that 2009/10 season fondly and writing this blog has convinced me that what the ‘unfinished business’, that became so notorious the second time around, feels more like the unfulfilled potential of that time.