Nottingham Forest’s disgraceful defeat to Burton Albion in the Carabao cup can only be described as a slap in the face of our supporters.
Regardless of the the Premier League being the primary goal for Aitor Karanka, for us supporters, it was a fantastic opportunity to reach a first major cup quarter final for Twenty Two years.
So, when I saw the starting line up at the Pirelli Stadium I already had my doubts.
The glaring anomaly was the deployment of Ben Osborn at left back whilst Jack Robinson sat collecting splinters on the bench.
If this had been the first or second round I could understand such a tactic, given the injury to Danny Fox and the lack of cover in that position. However, there was a quarter final place to play for and once again the Forest fans had purchased every available ticket in the away end.
You got the sense that Karanka assumed that any old Forest side would turn up and roll Burton Over at a canter, and the very fact that he made a staggering Ten changes backs up that theory.
As for the players, those who started the game at Burton, need to have a good long look at themselves after the contempt they showed for a competition won no less than four times in the club’s history. I could barely believe what I was watching at times, as experienced, well payed players ambled about the pitch, misplacing passes on an unimaginable scale. Off the ball, they were even worse, as Burton players zipped into any given space without being tracked or thwarted as they bombarded the Forest goal.
It would be remiss not to heap praise on Nigel Clough and his League one outfit, they were outstanding and fully deserved their passage into the quarter finals of the League Cup. Their energy and application were second to none, which only magnified the ineptitude and lack of interest showed by the away side.
It was also pleasing to see Dimitar Evtimov revelling in first team football once again.
At this point I must take a deep breath and apply an ounce of humour to this piece, featuring on the Forever Forest Podcast prior to the cup tie, I gave a state of the nation style proclamation that Forest would definitely progress to the quarter finals, dismissing any suggestions of defeat from my colleagues.
I’ll be eating humble pie for quite some time to come, no doubt about that!
Forest return to Championship action this weekend against table topping Sheffield United and I’d like to think that the performance will be considerably better than the horror show at Burton.
A win against the Blades may well soften the blow, but the bitter taste of cup failure will not be an easy one to dispel.
Others may well argue that the league campaign is indeed the primary directive for this club, especially having been outside the top division for nearly two decades. But, as I alluded to earlier in this piece, when you are vying for a place in the last eight of a trophy that’s currently held by Manchester City, you give it the respect it deserves.
The anger and resentment I harbour as I finish this piece will no doubt be cordial compared to that doing the rounds on social media.
And, for those who regularly read this column, you’ll be well aware that the undertone within this one is somewhat out of character for me.
I pride myself on applying diplomacy and balance to the vast majority of my Forest articles but for once I can accept no excuses.
Our supporters have waited patiently since 1996 for the chance to see their beloved team play a major domestic quarter final tie, and having filled the away end yet again they have been slapped in the face by one of the most disgraceful displays ever produced by a Nottingham Forest side.