Over the last decade, us Forest fans have heard it all when it comes to new signings. There was the so called ‘blow your socks off’ signings under Hart, the ‘sexy’ signings of Kinnear and the ‘stellar’ signings of McClaren. Billy, of course, simply ‘advised and recommended’.
The running theme amongst them being that these so called signings usually failed to materialise. And when they did we were often disappointed. I could make a list but I’m sure no-one needs reminding of most of them. Some still bring a shiver to my spine.
For all its criticism, the much maligned transfer acquisition panel did stem the flow of expensive flops but I digress. This summer has certainly helped exercise a few demons. The influx has added much needed quantity and quality to replenish a dangerously thin squad. And the recent addition of Jermaine Jenas on loan demonstrates that the search for players is not over yet.
He adds to a squad that has been crafted together and now possesses some quality that we could often only dream about less than a year ago.
I will admit to being more than a little anxious when NFFC took its first steps into a new era of foreign ownership. The apparent difficulty in securing a new manager only added to the concern I had. Yet since taking over it is difficult to question the ambition and the judgement of the Al Hasawi’s.
They have invested a substantial amount of money in their short time so far and look to have the best interests of the club at heart. If I was to be cynical, I would suggest it is too early to launch into full scale praise based on throwing money at the club. After all, we’ve seen plenty of owners of other clubs do the same only for the enthusiasm and the cash to disappear at some point down the line.
I think I’m correct in saying that the majority of Forest supporters would be content seeing gradual but visible progress if that is what it takes. We’ve spent millions in the last number of years but we have never acted like a business. Too many times we have seen our better players allowed to run down their contracts and often leave for nothing at the end of it.
For me, the news this week that Chris Cohen has signed a new long term deal is the best move the club has made. Not just since it changed hands but for a good few years. And it is also a great sign of the owners looking at the long term welfare of the club. They have perhaps learned that a more proactive approach to contract negotiations is of far greater benefit.
Cohen has been one of the stand out players since he joined in 2007. He is a player that rarely has a poor game and gives his all every time he pulls on the Garibaldi red. It is a measure of the player that he has forced his way back into the team and has possibly now become one of the first names on the team sheet again so soon after his return from injury. This feat is an even greater achievement considering the competition he faces for his place these days.
He has been one of our better performers in our last three games, even in a very poor team display against Derby. At Peterborough he once again never stopped running and fought for every ball. It helped the Reds to a much needed win; one that helped to ease the pain of the previous Sunday.
Crucially, we rediscovered the art of making chances even if we still struggle to convert them. But the goals will come if chances are made, particularly with the strength we possess in attack. Forest, I feel, are still finding their feet, still gathering momentum ahead of it all coming together. If it does then we are in for an exciting season.
Irrespective of results though, the Cohen news has given me great cause for optimism. Hopefully others will follow suit and days of our best players waltzing out the door season after season will be a thing of the past.