Promotion contenders? Looking likely! I said in my last post that if we managed to get 4 points from Sheffield United and Swansea (both away), I would really think that we could do it. The football played may have been gritty and far from pretty, but it was effective and we ground out two results. Prior to us, the only team that had beaten Swansea on their own patch were league leaders Newcastle. Elsewhere, even though Simon Cox grabbed a late, late equaliser against QPR, West Brom are now 3 points ahead of us instead of 5 and we are sitting pretty in 4th place. Remember, we are only fourth because of goal difference. It was also nice to see David McGoldrick score the winner against Swansea, after missing plenty of good opportunities in previous games – such as Cardiff. His confidence may have taken a knock, but that goal should have restored it.
A far cry from last season then, when at more or less this time we were in the bottom 3 and looking dead certs for relegation. We then went into a game with Doncaster Rovers, a game which ultimately cost Colin Calderwood his job. This time around, with Billy Davies at the helm, we are about to play Preston – one of Davies’ former clubs. We are now trying to maintain our unbeaten run of 13 games, whilst also pushing for a play off spot at the least. What a difference a year makes! It will also see the former Mr Preston North End go up against his former club. In case you do not know who I mean, I’m talking about our captain Paul McKenna. Apart from one game against Watford (and even in that game he got an assist) he has been very consistent. He injects vital experience into a young squad, which can only have positive benefits in the future. After 14 years at Preston, you would like to think he would get a good reception.
So things are looking great on the pitch. However, after hearing some news today, it seems things are not so good off it. Don’t worry the club isn’t in debt (I hope), something else. Nottingham was named as one of the areas that will be used should England get the 2018 World Cup. This would mean a move away from The City Ground, our spiritual home since 1898, and moving to a new stadium with a seating capacity in the region of 40,000 – 50,000 seats. This has annoyed me a lot. If you have been to The City Ground, you would have heard the line in the chant, ‘It’s always to be, The City Ground.’ I don’t recall hearing, ‘It’s always to be, an eco-friendly dustbin in a field.’ We don’t need to move grounds. All we need to do, is make the Main Stand two tier and give the place a clean on the outside. It is already a Premier League ground, but it seems some of the hierachy don’t see it that way. My first game was Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Wednesday, Saturday May 1st 1999. It was a Premiership fixture. I was 5 years old, and I adored it and if there is such a thing at love at first sight, then that was it. I just hope that our amazing stadium sees top flight football at least once more before the seemingly inevitable move away.