O'Driscoll's common sense approach rarely appreciated in the modern game
Thursday brought the return of Billy Davies to the City Ground, though the combative Scot is not expected to be in the dugout today. He has proven form with Forest and you would expect an upturn soon.
It all amounts to a whirlwind. After such steadiness, 55-year-old O’Driscoll could be forgiven disorientation.
But the first signs are that he has found stability in Bristol, a city with potential. Although praised as a creator of purist football, he is a pragmatic individual, whose attitude to the circus around the game crosses into cynicism.
O’Driscoll said this week: “Nothing surprises me in football anymore. Football is like a bubble and, in many ways, it is detached from the rest of life.
“I cannot get emotionally involved in what has gone on at Nottingham Forest in the past. If I’m honest, I have enough problems getting my own team ready for Saturday.”
One of his core beliefs is to get players to think for themselves, for them to find their own solutions, not to provide them. Hear O’Driscoll talk and the common sense shines through. But English football tends not to treasure such a commodity, which is why Davies is the fifth Forest appointment in two years.
People who run clubs, especially foreign owners, don’t seem amenable to common sense. They want fireworks, David Beckham in pants. They don’t want to hear O’Driscoll say: “The only certainty in English football is that you will lose matches.” Or add: “But you cannot, whenever you lose a football match, tear up the paper and start again with something else. You have to say: ‘This is the way we have to build, this is the way we have to do things,’ and try to be as consistent as you can. What most clubs need is stability, organisation and a little bit of direction.”
After a spell of such comparative turmoil, O’Driscoll has some of that for himself again. Bristol City should feel the benefit.
Trapattoni's blind spot Creative midfielder Hoolahan still surplus to requirements
Even in victory Giovanni Trapattoni failed to convince this week. His reference to Wes Hoolahan – “We have seen him many times for his club” – cannot simply be allowed to pass. How many times?
It has been apparent to plenty of observers in England that Hoolahan was one of the creative reasons for the rise of Norwich Cityunder Paul Lambert. Norwich have gone from League One to the Premier League – and stayed there – in three years. Yet Trapattoni wasn’t seen in East Anglia until of late.
Hoolahan played in 33 of their Premier League games last season – more than Glen Whelan played for Stoke City, for example. But you know which one Trap trusts, and it’s not the one who springs from an Irish tradition of small, ballplaying, intuitive inside forwards.
Given the creative limitations of the squad, for Hoolahan to have been consistently overlooked and even now to be considered as some kind of luxury is so disappointing.
Wes Hoolahan is a good footballer and even in the third division was better than some of those
two divisions higher. Now he’s got there, he’s still not the one Trap wants.