October 2012
Have you ever wondered if the grass is truly greener for supporters of other clubs in the championship? What if by a strange quirk of fate your loyalties existed elsewhere, what would your experience of the last season feel like?  
We invited Pat from the obsessive-compulsive Nottingham Forest site Seat Pitch to give us an overview of their club's 'Annus Horribilis', spent up to their necks in the dark stuff. Or as Pat puts it so eloquently - "A Year In The Merde"!

Saturday 6 August 2011: Steve McClaren’s first game in charge of Nottingham Forest after being installed — by the bookies at least — as favourites for promotion. An uneventful 0-0 draw with Barnsley is played out in front of a home crowd against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute between the media and the Football League over terms of accreditation.

Just eight weeks into a reign, that would last only another eight, ‘Schteve’ must have realised by this stage he had unwittingly joined a club going through complete and utter turmoil. This was a season that would go from bad to worse to even worse, with just a glimpse of the silver lining to come.

The sacking of Billy Davies was inevitable to some, and a complete shock to others. The two-week silence from the City Ground — not long after the club’s second consecutive play-off semi-final defeat — resulted in the departure of the Scotsman, credited with reviving the ‘sleeping giant’ after returning from League One, and the arrival of the ex-England and Twente manager.

What happened next — a combination of factors — saw McClaren gone by early October, the resignation of the chairman Nigel Doughty and the appointment of Steve Cotterill, tasked with what had become a relegation battle.

Boss, Keith Hill, was clearly disappointed not to take all three points at home from Crystal Palace in midweek, but the manner of Barnsley’s comeback from a goal down suggests the squad have that willingness and resilience to muck it with the top half of the Championship.

Going a goal down after just 11 minutes, Hill should be commended for switching his side around quickly rather than wait for the half-time break, which could have been too late to save the game. Hill brought Chris Dagnall off just 17 minutes into the evening and, suddenly, the Reds looked a lot stronger, with Matt Done bolstering the midfield.

Image: Barnsley News & Sport

We created the better chances during the end of the first half and Marlon Harewood really should have done better with a decent opportunity, while Done tested Palace keeper, Julian Speroni, to his limit.

Palace may have been without a manager on Tuesday night but we should not understate just how good a point is against this playoff-chasing side. Unbeaten in eight heading into the tie, Palace looked keen to show their caretaker boss just what they can do but Hill’s quick tactical change stifled their progress.

Indeed, it was just reward that David Perkins squeezed in his shot just four minutes from time. Palace had defended well and it was clear a set piece was the only way we were going to break through that resilient side, as Hill admitted to BBC Sport afterwards:

“I’m slightly frustrated. We once again help the opposition’s tactics. They defend excellently and exploit the counter-attack but it was helped by our inadequacies. It took a marvellous piece of ability from David Perkins, because I couldn’t see us breaking down the block.”

1-1 is a decent result and the manner of our late equaliser should give fans who bet football home and away confidence heading into the Forest clash at the weekend. Hill will be hoping for more attacking flair but should be pleased with a point from Tuesday’s game