STEVE Cotterill may have been at Nottingham Forest only a week, but he has wasted no time making his presence felt.
A replacement for the beleaguered Steve McClaren (how he must regret coming back from Europe), Cotterill has told his new players he will fine them £1,000 a word if they slate the club or its fans on Twitter.
That was a reaction to striker Ishmael Miller’s ill-advised rant after the recent defeat at Coventry.
Angry that some fans had accused him of lacking passion, Miller tweeted: “I don’t wanna hear anything bout I don’t look interested. Everyone can ****, if don’t like it, don’t follow me.”
Miller apologised (not just for his language but for his bad grammar as well hopefully) but Cotterill, appointed after Miller’s outburst, says next time there will be a hefty fine.
“If someone wants to write a nice paragraph with 20 words in it, then it’ll cost them about £20,000, so I don’t anticipate it happening again” said Cotterill. “They can Twitter about anything else but not about the club.”
If the players don’t like Cotterill’s approach they didn’t show it during the manager’s first game in charge, producing a fine display to beat Middlesbrough 2-0.
That was Forest’s first home victory of the season and lifted them out of the relegation zone.
Cotterill, 47, quit Portsmouth to take over at the City Ground and was understandably delighted.
“To beat one of the best sides in the division was a big boost for everyone connected with Nottingham Forest,” he said.
“I thank the players and everyone else that has helped me since I came through he door. We played some great football. The goals were fantastic and the passing up to our first goal was amazing, sublime.”
Forest certainly have the players to move swiftly up the table. It depends on whether Cotterill can, unlike McClaren, get the best out of them.
Local lad Lewis McGugan is the star of the team but can be inconsistent.
He scored against Middlesbrough and Cotterill said: “He has fantastic potential. People have failed to get it out of him. I may too but that will be down to Lewis himself. He is a wonderful footballer, though.”
Up front, Forest have Marcus Tudgay, who Ian Holloway tried to sign last season), former Manchester City frontman Miller and Matt Derbyshire.
Lee Camp is one of the Championship’s better keepers, with man-mountain Wes Morgan and the talented Chris Gunter at the back.
Andy Reid, on loan at Pool last season, joined Forest in the summer but has been axed from the line-up despite a decent start.
Forest have been better away than at home, winning at Doncaster and Watford, but losing the other four. Pool also have six points from six away games, with one win and three draws.
Cotterill is confident he can guide Forest to better things, though he has made it clear he needs help.
“I’m not the big saviour – the saviour will be the 20,000 fans who come here every week,” he added.
“I never had any money at Cheltenham, Burnley or when I was over the river at Notts County, and people know what I had at Portsmouth.
“I seem to have done OK with that, so this situation does not hold any fears for me.”
Forest are looking for their first win at Bloomfield Road since a 2-0 success in League One in August 2006.