Soccer AM/MW - the home of lively and humorous discussion from the Football and Non Leagues

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Billy Davies - Saint or Sinner?

Love him or loathe him, it's difficult to escape Billy Davies in the Championship. The outspoken Nottingham Forest boss incensed Sheffield Wednesday fans at the weekend with his side's timewasting tactics and post-match comments branding the Owls a "long ball" team.

So, is the man who was once interviewed by all three of the Soccer AM/MW team, a saint, or really a sinner? Lakes and Turls discuss his merits or lack thereof.

Billy Idol

"Davies made that club overachieve constantly."

Billy Davies is one of the greatest Championship managers of this era - FACT!

A little over the top I hear you saying.... well pipe down you worthless son of a bitch because you haven't got a clue what you're talking about. I'm going to throw some statistics at you.

Preston - two play-off finishes with a team that should just be languishing in mid-table mediocrity considering their squad. BAM! Derby - took one of the worst teams in the Championship to the glory of the Premier League. BAM! Forest - saved a poor team from relegation. BAM!

While you bandage yourself up after that barrage of statistics, I'm going to let you ponder this. In every full season that Billy has been charge, his team have finished in the play-offs.

Admittedly, he can come across as an obnoxious little scrotum from time to time but can you honestly tell me that Alex Ferguson is a likeable person? Nice guys finish last in football. The only person to ever succeed as a football manager and be considered pleasant is Sir Bobby Robson.

Now I can hear what Lakes is saying, Davies engineered a move away from Preston instead of taking them to the Premier League. Now, no offence, but Preston were never going to be able to reach the top-flight on their current budget, no matter how good he is.

Unless they received heavy investment they were always going to be the nearly club. Davies, and I'd also like to acknowledge that Alan Irvine is doing a great job at Deepdale, made that club overachieve consistently.

Onto the shambles that is Derby County, and I want to say this before I completely dismantle the Pride Park club - I do not hate Derby. Although I am a Forest fan, I have no ill feeling towards the Rams, especially considering they now have the Burton Albion legend Nigel Clough in charge.

Davies won promotion with Derby County in 2007

Billy Davies took a sorry excuse for a football team to the top-flight at the first time of asking. It was a remarkable achievement that would ultimately cost him his job. He was a victim of his own success.

Derby are the worst team in Premier League history. I'm not saying Davies would have done any better, but had Derby kept faith in the man then the Rams would be battling for at least a play-off place these days rather than fighting relegation.

And now we move on to the moment of magic Billy Davies entering the City Ground gates to take them into a new era of success. He came to a club that had been floundering in League One for three years and was now struggling to adapt back to the Championship.

Forest were a club of Premier League status with a League One squad. Now most people will say why is keeping Forest in the Championship an achievement? Well, Forest's team was poor last year and if we had kept Calderwood then we would have probably have been relegated. Safety was achieved and now the revolution begins.

Having spent over £5 million in the summer, some moronic fans expect Forest to win the league this year, or at least make the play-offs. Now this is nonsense, but I am genuinely excited by the future of Nottingham Forest.

Some genius signings like Paul McKenna to bring in the experience and Chris Gunter to bring in the future and some bargains, like £250,000 for Paul Anderson, have made me, for the first time since the days of Paul Hart, quietly confident that we can get back to the Premier League in the next few years.

As much as he is a tosspot nobody can deny that he is a fantastic manager at this level and, if Lakes is honest, he'll wish that Davies never left.

Billy Liar

"Undoubtedly talented, but a deeply flawed genius." Lakes.

Billy Davies is a man I've had some dealings with.

I was bequeathed a can of Fanta by the man in response to helping out on Deepdale's Town End. But months passed and that can of Fanta soon started tasting sour. It eventually left me choking on its decompositional gasses.

It was all a sickly metaphor for Billy Davies's reign as Preston North End's King of Hearts - and how his ambition tainted his crown in the eyes of many PNE fans.

Ask a cross-section of Preston fans who they consider to be a great ex-manager and a small number will say Billy Davies. "His managerial expertise cannot be flawed!", they crow like sick, demented sheep, drunk on the taste of their own noxious urine.

To those people, I ask this: What makes a good manager? Is it the ability to create a side with a good work ethic? Yes. But isn't it also to manage everything else that goes with the job? Shouldn't a manager be capable of forging relationships with the board and the fans? Shouldn't a manager be loyal to the cause, without jumping ship at every opportunity?

Sadly, Billy Davies is not the complete package. His proven inability to accept boardroom decisions is a fatal flaw in his character. His mercenary nature will be his undoing. And worst of all, we've proven he isn't the be all and end all.

Compare Billy Davies to Alan Irvine. Two different managers, but united by a similar aim: to get teams playing consistently well, in harmony with each other and instill a determination to succeed into the dressing room.

Look at how much Alan Irvine has spent. Certainly not the £5 million Nottingham Forest have spent this term.

While Matt will argue that his side needed strengthening, one cannot dismiss that Forest have targetted expensive players who Davies has assumed are going to give him an instant return, rather than building slowly in his usual, successful method.

Alan Irvine has the tact and diplomacy to get him far in the game. He's already shown loyalty, too, by turning down an offer to manage West Brom.

Compare that to Billy Davies, who attended interviews left, right and centre whilst at Preston, and ultimately threw his toys out of the pram once we rightly blocked a move for him to have an interview regarding a drop down to League One.

He made a laughing stock of Preston by treating a drop down as a step up. Not what you want a manager to do.

Then there was the Derby saga. Using an offer from a rival club, Davies gained leverage - allegedly for a larger paycheck at Preston. Having secured a new contract at Preston, he went on to leave the following year to Derby after a number of boardroom bust-ups.

So, as far as I can see, Billy Davies is a sinner. Undoubtedly talented, but a deeply flawed genius whose inability to see the bigger picture must have undoubtedly hampered the perception of him within the game.

And you can have your say in the comments section below.

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