The biggest game in the East Midlands just got spicier, Forest and Derby will face each other with debutant managers at the weekend but we have the better of the two in my opinion.
Despite saying that I would back Gary Brazil to the hilt earlier this week, I’d be an absolute fool to berate the appointment of Mark Warburton as the new manager of Nottingham Forest. He comes with a decent pedigree and his teams have always tried to play the right way; especially his Brentford side from a couple of seasons ago.
His West London outfit tore us apart back in November of 2014, I vividly remember them pinging the ball around like Barcelona at times in their 3-1 victory. The Forest side that night included the likes of Britt Assombalonga (before injury), Michail Antonio, Jamaal Lascelles, Karl Darlow and Tom Ince.
Fate has certainly played its part in this Saturday’s showcase clash with Derby, Gary Rowett could well have been in charge at the City Ground a few months earlier had the John Jay Moores takeover been accepted.
Although not as revered for his style of play, the former Derby player certainly knew how to get results. His time at both, Burton Albion and Birmingham City was very successful considering the budgets he had with each club.
I would have taken Rowett at the time or Nigel Pearson if he’d have been interested. Pearson is a similar character to Rowett; not pretty but he gets the job done.
Mark Warburton has a decent record himself during his short time in management; winning automatic promotion from League One and making the Championship play offs the very next season with Brentford. His next venture was with the recently reformed Rangers club in Scotland, there he won the Championship division and the League Cup in his first season in charge.
His Glasgow outfit also reached the Scottish FA Cup final and confirmed their re-emergence as a force to be reckoned with north of the border once again.
Given the success of both Gary Rowett and Mark Warburton in recent years, I’d say we have the slightly better of the two here at Forest.
As I said earlier, most Forest supporters would have accepted Rowett despite his tactical approach, but Warburton certainly fits the shoe more comfortably.
Since Brian Clough spoiled us with nearly two decades of slick passing football, we have craved any such urbanity ever since.
The 54-year-old Londoner will certainly attempt to resurrect the passing game that we have become accustom to over the years, and will no doubt recruit meticulously in the summer based on that blue print.
One of the main reasons for my reluctance in bringing in a manager at this period of the season, was due to the Sunderland effect.
They continually hire and fire their managers in the hope of an eleventh-hour survival, which has just about worked up until now. With Fawaz Al-Hasawi still in charge at Forest and the renewed possibility of Evangelos Marinakis being involved again, Mark Warburton could possibly keep us up and be sacked by Christmas if he has a bad start to the next term. The biggest potential stumbling block could be player recruitment; the very reason that Brentford parted company with Mark Warburton.
The Bee’s Owner at that time Matthew Benham introduced the Mathematical Modelling recruitment programme; basically, scrapping traditional scouting methods and replacing them with a statistically based system. This in effect, deskilled the manager and swung the balance of team selection well away from the guy who was supposed to oversee the playing side of things.
Although there is no solid proof to date, Fawaz Al-Hasawi has been accused of meddling with team selection at Nottingham Forest on several occasions and you have to question some of the madcap signings during his tenure. Names like Khaled Al-Rashidi, Rafik Djebbour and Djamel Abdoun are but just a few of a long sordid list of misfits.
With nine games to go, the task ahead for Mark Warburton is certainly achievable considering that we are still two points above the drop zone.
This will tell you a little bit about how dedicated Warburton is when it comes to playing proper football.
He once used his own money to travel around Europe and study the coaching methods at the following clubs, Sporting Lisbon, Barcelona, Ajax, Willem II and Valencia.
I suppose I let my heart rule my head when I said that Brazil and Lester would have kept us up in the end but we’ll never know now anyway. I would like to thank them for the level of commitment they showed during their time in temporary charge, and we’re truly blessed to have them running our academy. If our owner is prepared to let Mark Warburton do what he’s good at, the only way is up for Nottingham Forest. Regardless of the result against Derby on Saturday; I’m positive that we have the better of the two managers.