Carry On Nigel, Your Time Is Not Up
Due to a combination of work pressures and newborn baby responsibilities, we’ve taken a small international break ourselves over the last few weeks. However it’s high time we got back in the game, so here’s some thoughts on today’s news that Nigel has signed a new 3 1/2 year contract with the Rams.
Regular readers of Ramspace will be well aware that we have, for the most part, always been supporters of Clough and have generally bought into what he and GSE were trying to do. So it’s been interesting over the last few weeks to see the increasing noise and pressure on the board to get Nigel signed up. Interesting because a lot of those getting spooked that Nigel might just jump ship and, god forbid, end up at Forest are probably the same people who have spent the last 18 months trying to get the guy sacked!
Football is a results driven, fickle game where the concepts of recency and immediacy almost always outweigh normal common sense. Key appointments in multi million pound operations, which in any walk of life would take months, are done in days. Good people with a proven track record are shown the door because of 1 months poor performance. People with a questionable track record are awarded silly contracts because of 1 months good performance or perhaps a suggestion that a rival may be interested in their services (Hello Fabio Capello).
Look at Kris Commons. For 2 years he was on the odd occasion brilliant but mostly moody, inconsistent or injured. It was absolutely the correct decision not to give him a new contract any earlier than it was offered and most fans were ok with that. Then Nigel gets him fit, he has a purple 4 months and everyone says give him what he wants for how long he wants. Ok we did ultimately try to meet his demands but fast forward 6 months and guess what? He’s unfit, inconsistent, moody and trousering £20k per week at Celtic.
I’ve written a few times that at probably 71 other football league clubs, Nigel would have been sacked last season. So whatever you think of them, it’s great credit to GSE that they stuck with him and I also think it earnt them the right to renew his contract at their pace.
It’s probably also worth noting that, as hard as it’s been, The Rams are probably 2 years ahead of most other championship teams in terms of trying to do things properly and run a professional ship that isn’t built on sand or a boom/bust mentality. Again, Clough and his employers can take credit for that, especially now that results are starting to match the theory.
I don’t think our current team will win the league, but with a fair wind and a few tweaks, we’ve definitely got as good a shot as anyone at top 6. But whatever happens this year, I think everyone would agree the tide has finally turned and today’s announcement at least means Clough can continue his project (labour of love anyone?) to its natural conclusion of getting the Rams back into the Premier League.