Nottingham Forest: Turbulent times return to the City Ground

By Colin FrayBBC Radio Nottingham's Nottingham Forest correspondent
Nigel Doughty celebrates Nottingham Forest's promotion from League One with the players
Nigel Doughty invested £11m in Forest in 1999, money that ensured the club staved off the very real threat of administration

The fourth of February 2015 marks the third anniversary of the death of Nottingham Forest's former owner and chairman Nigel Doughty.

What he would have thought about the lurid headlines regarding the running of the club this week, it is, frankly, not hard to imagine.

From a position of respect, reliability and repute, Forest have descended into a world of resignations, reprimands and reputational damage.

Freedman right Forest fit - McGovern

While Doughty may not have got everything right, and many disagreed with his decisions, few can doubt that off the field he ran a tight ship, and had Forest operating in a professional, business-like manner.

In a week when Stuart Pearce has also been sacked as manager, Forest look anything but business-like.

Already under a transfer embargo for a breach of the Financial Fair Play guidelines, they now have another, full embargo on them, after failing to pay Peterborough United the latest instalment of Britt Assombalonga's £5m transfer fee.

And while managerial changes do happen from time to time, it is not very often that a chief executive walks out of his post after just five months.

Whether Paul Faulkner's departure was due to the Peterborough situation, the managerial situation, or something else entirely remains to be seen, but at a time when supporters have been clamouring for stability, the opposite appears to be the case at the City Ground.

It was against this backdrop that Dougie Freedman faced the media for the first time as the club's manager on Tuesday and he handled it well.

Dougie Freedman
Former Forest forward Freedman (right) was appointed within hours of Stuart Pearce being sacked

A measured, balanced, focused yet relaxed approach enabled him to come across as someone with very clear ideas as to what he can do to turn around Forest's fortunes on the pitch.

It seemed a shame that questions had to be asked about the off-the-field issues too.

They distracted attention from Freedman's appointment, and it was certainly a shame that club ambassador John McGovern, who is not involved with financial matters, was the man left to field those questions. Chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi was elsewhere on business.

The Reds turned down significant sums of money for the likes of Michail Antonio and Henri Lansbury towards the end of the transfer window, so the recent problems do not seem to be the result of Mr Al Hasawi having financial problems.

Freedman undaunted by Forest job

So, we are left to assume that an error has been made, and the hope from fans will be that the error can be corrected quickly. Paying Peterborough what they are owed will be the first, small step towards restoring the club's reputation before the damage becomes irreparable.

If Dougie Freedman's task is to stabilise things on the pitch, Mr Al Hasawi should be doing the same off it.

He has always said he is at Forest for the long haul and has spoken of the club's great reputation from the past. He is the current custodian of that reputation and says he remains fiercely passionate about restoring it.

To use an on-the-pitch analogy, he may have conceded an own goal or two, but the final whistle has not yet blown. Now is the time for a comeback.

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