OPINION: Mark Warburton link shows Nottingham Forest job still a draw for managers
Following this afternoon's news Nottingham Forest are speaking with Mark Warburton over taking on the City Ground hot seat, here is a comment piece written from the start of February when contact from club to the former Rangers boss was reportedly first made.
Isn’t football a funny old game?
No sooner had Nottingham Forest announced that Gary Brazil and Jack Lester had been made permanent one and two at the City Ground (well, until the summer anyway) than the club had been linked with an approach for another manager at another club.
National reports say Mark Warburton and members of his backroom team were being lined up at Forest before Reds owner Fawaz Al Hasawi decided to stick with Brazil and Lester. The timing of how and when the news broke was unfortunate for Al Hasawi.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find much sympathy for the Kuwaiti in Nottingham.
Quite how Forest’s involvement led to Rangers accepting Warburton’s, assistant David Weir’s and head of recruitment Frank McParland’s resignations is probably best left to those closer to matters north of the border. What we do know is that Warburton wasn’t in the dugout on Sunday.
Following Friday night’s revelations, Graeme Murty, the club’s under-20s coach, took charge of their Scottish Cup match and Rangers responded with a 2-1 win to advance to the quarters. Forest, on the other hand, were comfortably beaten at Norwich City on the Saturday.
Brazil and Lester had earned their new roles and the stability was seemingly having a positive impact around the club. Last minute winners from a teenage academy product, who Brazil and Lester helped to nurture, will also help in getting that feel-good factor back.
Then just as it seemed the waters were calm Forest, whether in name or action, were propelled into the national headlines again - on the eve of a tough trip to Carrow Road where the club have struggled to perform in years gone by. How much that played its part, if at all, is one for the players.
The timing was far from ideal. It was a distraction, to fans at the very least, and took the spotlight away from what looked a sensible move to have Brazil and Lester to the end of the season to the uncertainty that has become all too familiar when talking about Forest in recent times.
When was the approach made? Why go for Warburton when Brazil and Lester have won three from four? Isn’t Al Hasawi selling in the summer anyway? Where’s the CEO he promised? Why did he sell Oliver Burke?! And so on and so on...
Reports suggest that Warburton was interested in taking over the City Ground hot seat, or remains interested, showing the pull the Forest job still has on some. It wasn’t long ago he was being widely praised for his work in getting Brentford to the Championship play-offs.
But Al Hasawi has given Brazil and Lester the deal and to go back on that would not only be unfair to the two currently in the job, would make a mockery of the decision to hire them and in turn open him up to yet further criticism.
It’s encouraging if nothing more that Al Hasawi is looking at implementing experienced figures into roles behind the scenes and the structure which has been widely talked about in lacking. But it is again yet to materialise.
The phrase “actions speak louder than words” are threatening to come back to haunt the Forest owner.