Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Bonjour Philippe Montanier, Olá Pedro Pereira

Bienvenue Philippe Montanier. Welcome to the City Ground mad house. Let's hope it's a little less mad with you at the helm.

Today came the fresh new start we've been waiting for. Of course, we've been here before. Most managers come in and sweep us off our feet with their opening press conference. They're media trained to say the right thing after all.

Yet, cynicism aside, Montanier did his duty well. With his Gallic good looks and decent English (the interpreter only provided small assistance) he made a smart introduction. His CV is not to be sniffed at either, even though it is difficult to gauge how relevant this will be. His record at Rennes was mixed but at Real Sociedad he pulled off the amazing feat of getting the San Sebastian side into the Champions League. Both clubs, it should be noted, were performing at a higher standard than the one Montanier now finds himself. Perhaps it's getting Boulogne into the French top tier, at the start of his managerial career, that is most relevant and impressive in a Forest context.

Esteemed French journalist Philippe Auclair described the appointment as an 'ambitious good' and described Montanier as being quite a catch, although did stress he's yet to decide what type of coach he really is.

It's clear that it's not so much his words that he needs to translate as his management style and adjusting that to England and the Championship and only time will tell if that happens.

That translation should be helped by the fact that Montanier is fitting into a structure at the City Ground, albeit one that is still under construction. The new boss, a head coach, comes in after new director of football Pedro Pereira joined the club. In many ways you could argue that Pedro is the more important of the two appointments and it will be he that sets the tone for the club going forward.

I found it striking, for example, that German side Schalke recently made a decisive move for Mainz sporting director Christian Heidel to try to challenge at the top of the Bundesliga. Heidel has been an important part of the club that launched the coaching careers of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel and the Gelsenkirchen club want him to replicate that magic on a bigger stage.

It's clear that big clubs value people like this very highly. These are the men who sit behind the scenes, establish a clear playing style and strategy and pinpoint the right managers and players. They're there before anything else and underpin the structure with the sort of smart thinking that we've seen scarcely little of in recent times.

It's also wrong to see this as a 'continental style'. Football has moved on since we were last sitting at its top table. With the sums of money so eye-wateringly large and the competition so fierce, the vast majority of Premier League and top Championship clubs fall back on a solid structure to chart a path to success. We need to match this. It's not about being continental, it's about being professional.

Pedro has completed his first task in finding a manager that he wants to work with. It sounds like he's also got a few signings up his sleeve too. He needs to provide the best possible tools for the coach to do his job and in turn needs support from Fawaz and the new investor, should he come to the fore. The element of support is often what has been lacking - in terms of patience if not money - in the past. While Fawaz and Marinakis play a part in this, so too do we as fans. We wanted change, a clear structure and some better football to cheer about. The first two have begun, let's hope we get the third come August. In turn we need to be welcoming, patient and supportive. I'm game if you are? Allez les Rouges?!