A telling memory of How Things Used To Be from the recent Clough documentary: Forest players in the centre circle, turning to greet and be greeted by each of the stands before kickoff. We used to do that too, a line of players in the middle of the pitch. It meant something. Now, it’s not until we’ve had a pedestrian parade of players and officials across the full width of the pitch, followed by an extended mingle with nibbles and a free bar, that we get to applaud and be applauded by our team. Or the first two or three of our team, to be precise: by the time you get halfway down the line-up, everyone’s got bored and the remaining players just wander into position rather than bother to sprint purposefully towards the Rookery. Something essential has been lost here…and for what, exactly?
Having rightly come under considerable fire in his early days, the manager has done a remarkable job of steering the ship away from the rocks since dropping his hardline allegiance to possession football. Bolstered by some extremely timely signings – Mike Williamson and Jack Cork particularly, but Don Cowie too – and aided by a transformation in the likes of Jobi McAnuff and Tamas Priskin, he’s managed to create a perfectly functional, thoroughly mid-table Second Division outfit. And a team that’s suddenly quite easy to like again, that seems comfortable with itself again. As ambition goes, that ain’t Aidy Boothroyd. But it’ll do just fine for now.
Straight from the kick off their intentions were clear. No silly passing it back, or hoofing it out by the opponents corner flag. An instant attack resulted in a throw in. From it, they beat our offside trap and put the ball past Loach for 1-0. They continued the first half in the same manner and scored a second after Bromby failed to clear.
I’m almost glad they scored their fourth. Almost. Would have been too cruel to see City protect a one goal lead by jockying around in the corner to the cheers of their fans for five minutes. After all, it was ten years to the day since Gifton was doing precisely that to them, in the same corner of the pitch…