The Championship club have had 19 different managers in the last 10 years and eight in the last three seasons.
So, the news of Martin O’Neill’s departure on Friday morning won’t have surprised many. And the reported nature of his exit won’t be a surprise to Irish fans.
According to Daniel Taylor, writing in the Guardian, O’Neill was dismissed as a result of “growing dressing room disillusionment.” Taylor writes that some of Forest’s most influential players had made it clear that they did not like working with the former Ireland manager. The morale had deteriorated so much that the squad “held little hope of it being a successful season.”
The former Republic of Ireland coach only arrived at the City Ground back in January. In 19 games under the Derryman, Forest won eight matches, lost eight and recorded three draws. It wasn’t enough to secure a playoff place, as the Nottingham club finished in ninth place eight points behind Derby County in sixth-spot.
The Forest players were reportedly “nonplussed” by O’Neill’s appointment. Roy Keane, who had been working as O’Neill’s assistant, left his position earlier this week. Taylor writes that this played a part in O’Neill being dismissed as it prompted those running the club to gauge the mood of the dressing room. The verdict was “overwhelmingly negative.”
The report states that some players found the training methods to be “uninspiring” and “tactically, the players were unsure about how he wanted them to play.” The first week of pre-season, featuring a lot of hard running, did little to change their minds, according to Taylor.
John Percy, writing in The Telegraph, reports a similar story. According to the Midlands football correspondent, O’Neill was sacked because of a “growing mutiny” within the squad. The players expressed concerns over the manager’s “methods and training regime.” O’Neill had taken training on Friday morning before being told of the decision to relieve him of his duties.
The 67-year-old will remain a hero at the City Ground. He was part of the Brian Clough team that earned promotion to the English top-flight, won the league title in 1978 and the European Cup in 1979 and 1980.
However, he was unable to make an impact as a manager and his football proved unpopular with fans. The former Celtic coach has been replaced by Sabri Lamouchi, the former Rennes and Ivory Coast manager.
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