Ground: City Ground, Nottingham Forest
Competition: Sky Bet Championship 2015/16
Result: Nottingham Forest 1-0 Fulham
Comments: Nottingham Forest’s legendary manager and loudmouth Brian Clough once wittingly remarked “I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business. But I was in the top one“. If Cloughie was top dog, then Fulham’s last five managers must have been not quite the worst in the world, but certainly in the bottom half a dozen. With the likes of Ian Dowie and Tim Sherwood becoming worryingly attractive propositions, Fulham have simply abandoned the concept of a manager altogether. Instead we’ve got Stuart Gray as head coach/senior coach/tea lady/ball boy steadying the rudderless good ship FFC down the Thames.
Unlike most teams who get that intangible boost from a new manager coming in, Fulham played even worse than normal by capitulating three nil at Nottingham Forest – who needs to defend corners anyway? Overrated. The silver lining was that the creaking City Ground was a brand spanking new entry in the Pie Pundit’s crusty archives. Unfortunately, the pie itself was a lacklustre Balti marred by a temperature most commonly associated with a closing time sausage roll from Greggs. The whole pastry felt, for want of a more verbose word, pathetic. Tepid, flimsy and uninspiring all round. In an abstract metaphor, it bizarrely resembled a deflated Mr Blobby in my skewed eyes. But Forest was cold and the football was dire, so I wolfed down the tangy balti in about two bites. A necessary dose of sustenance rather than a delectable treat to ramble about on the internet. Ironically the most impressive part of my away trip to Forest was being able to drink across the road in Notts County’s warm, Sky Sports laden, clubhouse beforehand. Next time scrap the pie, I’ll just have two creamy Boddingtons instead.
Brian Clough famously quipped “They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job”. I think even Clough, with his back to back European championships, would struggle to teach Fulham how to defend, attack, pass, shoot and tackle within his 69 years, yet alone a day.