Tricky Trees – pine needles and all…

3 01 2012

Thought for the Day:

‘Enjoy yourself

It’s later than you think!’

(Chinese Proverb)

I couldn’t believe my eyes. The ‘Tricky Trees’ go seven games without a goal, a club record, and then just like Nottingham City Buses along come three, one after the other, delivering something of a Suffolk punch that floored ‘Tractor boy’ relegation rivals, Ipswich.     

It’s been a difficult season, putting it mildly, for Forest players and supporters alike. Despite yesterday’s winning start to the New Year the club is still languishing, in the drop zone, three places from the bottom of the Championship.      

What a difference a year, or two, makes. Over Christmas 2010 Forest savaged ‘the Sheep’ , fleecing them good and proper in a 5-2 victory, with a brace of goals from Robbie Earnshaw, who these days spends most games warming the Cardiff City bench.

I wonder how many of those gilt edged chances, that have gone begging in the last seven games, he might have tucked away? We’ve certainly missed that trademark celebratory somersault and nobody, yet, has come close to filling his boots.        

A year earlier, Forest started 2010 with a victory at ‘the Hawthorns’, tearing ‘the Baggies’ apart in a 3-1 victory, which was arguably our most complete performance under the management of Billy Davies.      

Billy Davies – I wonder what the wee Scot makes of the catastrophic demise of a side he built and took to two successive Championship play-offs? Two managers, and six months after his departure the club’s current predicament only serves to underline what a great job he did – though under estimated by many at the time.  

But that is all past and now is a time to look forward, perhaps with a degree of cautious optimism after yesterday’s performance, to climbing out of trouble, regrouping,  and mounting a promotion challenge next season – ever the optimist!         

635 minutes after he last scored, ironically in the  November home game against Ipswich, it was Marcus Tudgay who finally broke the longest goal drought in Forest’s 146 year history. He deservedly finished  with a brace,  popping  up to head in Andy Reid’s 78th minute cross, sealing e 3-1 victory and raising the flagging spirits of the Forest faithful.    

It was Tudgay’s 5th league goal in 17 appearances, this season. He’s never going to average better than a goal every 4 games but the diminutive striker earns every single one he scores. He’s a great team man, links up play, climbs surprisingly well in the air, tackles back, never hides and always gives 110%.  

I was also delighted for Andy Reid, who set up both ‘Tud’ goals. He’s been the butt of many, ‘who ate all the pies?’ jokes since he returned to the City Ground, but he has undoubted ability and a left foot that can still open the proverbial tin of beans.

‘Reidy’ is a confidence player. Hopefully we will start to see the best of him now and I still believe he has a big part to play in pulling us out of trouble.

I particularly like the thought of him linking up with former striker team-mate, Marlon Harewood, another ‘old boy’ who has found the way back to his spiritual City Ground home, on a short-term contract, after a successful spell in the Chinese 1st division with Guangzhou R&F (‘who are ya?’).

At 32, Marlon is not one for the future, but just the type of guy who might bag enough goals to help us out of the tricky situation we are currently in.

First time around, Marlon netted 52 league goals in 183 first team outings and in my opinion should never have been allowed to leave for West Ham, way back in 2003, at a time when we were just beginning to see the best of him.

While with the Eastenders, he enjoyed a successful spell in the Premiership and reached an FA Cup Final, chalking up 48 league goals before his West Ham bubble burst and he was transferred to Villa Park, where Martin O’Neil used him sparingly, largely as a ‘super sub’.

Before shipping out to the Far East he scored five goals in eleven Premiership appearances, for Blackpool, as their Tangerine dream got off to a flyer at the start of the 2010-11 season. But his face didn’t seem to fit and he was surprisingly loaned out and finally released from his contract.   

I’d love to see him return to Upton Park later this month and pinch the winner!

Changing tack – Christmas may traditionally be be a twelve day affair but it is now officially over chez Aldridge. The decorations were ceremoniously removed from the ‘Tricky tree’, along with copious pine needles (which play hell with the Dyson!) earlier today.

Over the years we’ve developed a family fad for seeking out a Christmas decorations from everywhere in the world that we visit. It’s been a great idea and every year, as we dress the tree, memories of our travels abroad come flooding back.

We now have 30 plus world-wide destinations represented, from old Amsterdam to Livingstone, Zambia.     

I’m particularly fond of the Christmas toucan from Dublin’s Guinness Brewery, Father Christmas punting his delicate glass Venetian gondola (purchased on the Rialto Bridge), a wooden nativity scene from Bethlehem, a raffia Santa from Tanzania, a Beijing panda, and the glittering Thai star from Chang Mai, which always commands pride of place atop the tree.       

Other favourites include a pair of love birds Gem picked up in Camden Market, and a Starbucks cup, bought by Nicci from Oxford ‘Starbys’ – a reference to my caffeine addiction! Talking of which…         

 

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