Saturday, 14 January 2017

What next for Forest after takeover collapse?

We've been a football club on ice for some weeks now. The Champagne has been on ice in expectation of the American takeover and talks of a protest were on ice with a sale in the pipeline. The ice melted last night and a fiery and uncertain future now surely awaits.

In some respects, the failure of the takeover should be no shock. When there's Fawaz Al-Hasawi and paperwork involved things tend not to end well, do they? Recent delays only served to make me nervous. With Forest, you always have to expect the worst don't you? Doubly so with Fawaz's Forest.

It doesn't seem like either party can be completely absolved of blame here. The Americans are said to have tried to drive the price down at the last minute and they do have form - getting close and failing to buy two other clubs. Fawaz, though, also has form in courting would-be buyers and failing to get them to agree to terms which, according to some reports, have been laughable.

Yet one thing I can't get my head around is quite why the sale was ever even close to £50 million in the first place, given the losses we regularly post. Surely only the very distant carrot of the Premier League can justify that? Maybe the Americans realised just how far away we are on and off the pitch after having time to assess the mess Fawaz has created?

Regardless, Fawaz is the one left amid the ruins and he'll now shoulder the blame. How much of his 'investment' does he really think he'll recover if we slip down the trap door and end up in League One? We're probably already worth less today as a result of the image of chaos we're projecting to the wider football world. Protests are now inevitable - starting with those hardy souls travelling to Birmingham today.

It used to be the case that I worried about protests against his regime. I feared he might just cut his losses and leave us in administration. Given his ego - and the fact he's learned nothing - it seems he wants to plough on for the time being by himself. Yet we're now left pondering whether or not administration, a 10-point deduction and near-certain relegation would be preferable to relegation anyway under Fawaz.

Even if by some miracle we stay up this season under a new boss, does anyone really think we won't slip further backwards under Fawaz in the next few years? League One beckons.

So, what are we left with in the short term? A 'dead man walking' manager, who was seemingly the choice of a long-abandoned alternative path, leading a band of bargain bin recruits, overrated and underperforming senior pros and young kids who risk being ruined by it all.

You do have to wonder how many of the players have asked their agent to hit the phones and find them a way out of the club in January. Whatever we think of the players, I can't imagine they're that enamoured by working for Fawaz for much longer.

A fire sale of Henri Lansbury, Ben Osborn, Ben Brereton, Matty Cash, Britt Assombalonga etc. could well happen, especially if Fawaz needs the money to run the club. Don't even mention the Oliver Burke money.

Then there's the manager. Philippe Montanier has been dealt a shockingly bad hand in his time at the City Ground yet, in recent weeks in particular, he hasn't played his poor hand very well. Maybe deep down he's resigned to his fate? Absolutely no-one would be surprised to see him join Steve McClaren and Alex McLeish in the list of managers sacked after games against Birmingham. A 'Sunday sacking' defines us more than anything we do on the pitch these days.

You'd have to wonder then who would be daft enough to follow him into the hotseat. Certainly not Gary Rowett, who was exactly the sort of manager we need and someone only within reach if we had been taken over. We'll no doubt end up dumping the burden on Gary Brazil and Jack Lester, distracting them from their work on the academy.

Protests, fire sales, a sacking and, in all probability, more listless displays on the pitch - grim times indeed.

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