I touch upon this subject in this afternoon’s podcast (out at 12), but with another article from our local media this morning, I feel I have to talk about it before then.
One article got me a little worked up, with a reporter from Nottinghamshire Live saying they thought the loan might be reviewed. Now, we have comments from Chris Hughton not saying whether he’ll be recalled or not. Maybe I’m a grinch, maybe they’re only doing the sort of thing I do about other players, but I feel this sort of article is a cheap attempt to get clicks and discussion. I appreciate the Echo has advertisers to keep happy, but where is the value in this sort of speculation.
Here are the facts – if there is a recall clause Forest will look at it, that is obvious. Players can be recalled, he belongs to them and he’s doing well. The question is, why start scaring supporters at this stage of the season? Any review is likely to take place at the end of January, which is two-and-a-half-months away. What on earth is the point of releasing not one, but two articles that make fans think he might be recalled?
I’m happy to get comments back on this subject and as I say on the pod, I believe the Echo have plenty of great articles keeping us informed on injuries and the like, but this sort of thing is below them, in my opinion. It’s November 20th and already there is that fear, that ‘will he be recalled’ question. I’ve seen it prompt people in the know to start discussing it on social media too, already stating they know he’ll be recalled. How long before Brennan gets asked the question in a post-match interview? What does it achieve? It’s like worrying that the weather will be raining on your wedding day in six months time – it might rain, it might not, but what good is worrying about it going to do? Seriously?
With social media these days, flames of discontent are always burning, somewhere. I firmly believe the media, both ‘proper’ and fan-driven, have a responsibility to act sensibly and in a manner that doesn’t fuel unfounded fear, which talk of recalling Johnson does, in my opinion. I’ve even seen one post with a link to the Echo piece saying ‘he’s going to be recalled’, which others then see as gospel and start repeating. We’re doing well, he’s with us until at least January, why can we not sit back and enjoy that? Losing him would be a huge blow, of course, but in January we will have a chance to bring faces in too and Michael’s transfer business has, so far, been pretty much spot on. In terms of successes and failures, I can’t see anyone who came in over the summer being classed as a failure, so why would we worry that losing a player wouldn’t lead to us getting someone else in?
I know we haven’t had many games recently, but these speculative articles based on little more than opinion and hearsay are of no constructive use to the club at all. I am not having a pop at the journalists personally, they have to fill their pages with something, but surely analysis, tactic dissection and the like are better, are they not? Nobody knows if Johnson will be recalled or not and trying to second guess a couple of months before it can happen is utter madness. It even feeds into an anti-Forest rhetoric that would be grossly unfair. They’ve been good to us in recent years, loaning Walker, Bridcutt and Johnson, as well as letting Grant come here on a deal that was hugely beneficial to us. If they recall their player, in the right way and with notice to us ahead of it happening, that is their prerogative, is it not? Having Lincoln fans getting angry about it on social media when nothing is confirmed or certain is not fair on anyone.
Would I even suggest that with fans not allowed into stadiums and lockdown gripping the country, that local reports have two responsibilities; one is to report news, actual things that happen, and the other is not to further worry and unduly concern fans who already feel detached and isolated. That is what headlines like Will Nottingham Forest try and recall Lincoln City loan star Brennan Johnson lead too – fear, uncertainty and concern. Instead, coverage of bailouts, government intervention and the like is important. Has the Echo covered the 617 campaign for instance, or the Save Our Clubs campaign? I don’t know, I haven’t read everything they’ve done recently, but as a voice for fans and a former focal point for news and views, this is where they could use their weight, rather than fearmongering.
Those embers of discontent and negativity I spoke of earlier always glow somewhere, and I believe all media outlets have a responsibility not to pour petrol on them unnecessarily. Yes, report news, but don’t play on fears for clicks, it isn’t fair on fans, the Imps’ squad, MA or even Brennan himself.