Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nottingham Forest Season Review 1993 1994

The immediate post-Clough period was just as confused and unpredictable as the one it had just displaced. Brian had wanted Frank Clark to be his replacement. Frank had gone into management with Leyton Orient and in his nine-year stay at the little East London club, he had not only steered them into the Second Division, but had impressed the board so much he had been appointed managing director. Whether it was because Frank was dough's choice is not clear, but the Forest board wanted Martin O'Neill, who was enjoying huge success at Wycombe Wanderers. Martin was very interested but wanted John Robertson, his No. 2, to come with him. For some reason the board didn't like this idea and asked him to work with Clark. That line went no further, Martin's interest waned and this left Frank Clark as the only positive candidate and he took the job. Although Frank did a lot of great work at the City Ground, it begs the question what might O'Neill and Robertson have done for Forest, particularly when we examine their achievements at Leicester and Celtic? Back in Nottingham, Clark quickly formed his own team, using experienced and committed Foresters such as Alan Hill and Liam O'Kane, sadly excluding Archie Gemmill, who had been with the club since giving up his playing career. The playing staff, too, saw many changes. Nigel Clough didn't want to stay after the later treatment of his father and moved to Liverpool. Roy Keane went to find even greater fame with Manchester United and Gary Charles went to Derby. The combined fees of nearly £7,000,000 did much to ease Forest's financial plight and also provide funds to help regain that First Division place. 

 There were many astute signings, too, as Stan Collymore came in from Southend, Colin Cooper from Millwall, Des Lyttle from Swansea, plus talent such as Gary Bull, Tommy Wright and Lars Bohinen. Perhaps most important of all was Clark's ability to persuade Stuart Pearce to stay. The England full back epitomized the Garibaldi spirit and he did much to influence the successes that followed. There were other bonuses at home, too, as players such as Steve Stone, Ian Woan and Lee Glover started to push for regular first-team spots. The season had a stuttery start and, at the end of September, Forest were in 19th position. Then it all began to click into front was looking extremely dangerous. Two great runs, one in the winter and a final spell of just one defeat in the last 16 matches saw the Reds finish second behind Crystal Palace and nine points clear of third place Millwall. Frank Clark had brought them back into the top flight at the first time of asking. A quick exit in the FA Cup probably helped and a reliably decent run in the League Cup brought in much appreciated extra revenue. This was put to good use in the close season as Forest splashed out nearly £3,000,000 on Bryan Roy, the exciting Dutch forward from Italian club Foggia.

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