Currently sat fourth in the Championship table after a good 1-1 draw at Charlton in the week things appear to be going swimmingly under Billy Davies at Nottingham Forest.
With one of the best squads in the division, one of the most recognisable names in English football and a fine history, the idea of Foresrt returning to the Premier League is an attractive and seemingly realistic one.
But that’s on the pitch. Behind the scenes things are apparently not so simple.
Forest recently banned the Guardian and Observer from its press box in strange circumstances – senior reporter Daniel Taylor was banned for attending a match in the press box and not writing a report on the game he was attending, a common practice according to Taylor. The Guardian Sports Editor Ian Prior said: “In 18 years of working in sports journalism, I’ve never come across a case of a writer being banned for going to a game.”
And this week a report in the Guardian itself revealed more information about just what’s going on behind the scenes at the club.
According to David Conn, the Guardian’s reporter, Jim Price – who is effectively working within the club at director level – is set to fail the Football League’s owners and directors test due to his suspension from the Law Society in Scotland where is he is currently under investigation for possible impropriety in the collapse of a law firm he played a major role in. Being suspended by the Law Society is one of the reasons for a person to be disqualified from operating at a director level and above within a football club, according to Football League rules.
Conn continues to explain that Price’s role within Forest remains unclear as he has been described as the ‘General Manager’ since he joined the club until the weekend when he was listed as an ‘adviser to the board’ in the match day programme. The situation is further complicated as Price is reported to be the cousin of Forest manager Billy Davies.
According to Football League rules, a person shall be deemed to be a director if he “exercises or is able, legally or beneficially, to exercise control over the affairs of the club” and the Guardian report that they are aware of at least one legal contract which Price has signed on behalf of Forest, binding the club to an agreement.
It appears to be a very tight knit and suspicious regime at Forest, and it is not just journalists from the Guardian and Observer who are banned from the City Ground; a freelance journalist who has covered Forest for 40 years was banned at the end of last season for asking Billy Davies why he was holding his post-match press conference before the game and according to Daniel Taylor’s column in the Observer, the local BBC radio station are ‘out of favour’ and the Nottingham Evening Post has been ostracised.
And yet despite the ongoing problems behind the scenes, Forest really are doing superbly on the pitch. With four goals from Andy Reid and just one defeat so far in the league, the return of Billy Davies has got Forest looking like one of the favorites to reach the play offs.
Davies will be hoping these off field issues don’t affect the wonderful job his players are doing on it – and that they can keep it up till the end of the season.
Forest’s next home game is against AFC Bournemouth on Saturday 19th October and you can purchase tickets here.