Nottingham Forest have changed their tune - but big Everton gamble might backfire horribly

Mark Clattenburg has recently taken on a role at Nottingham Forest

Chris Beesley - Forest won't get much sympathy from Blues, or Premier League bosses you'd imagine

Ashley Young said it all with his topical choice of “old skool tunes for today” when he selected Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me a River.’

Not only was Nottingham Forest’s tweet complaining about decisions in their 2-0 defeat to Everton more like the drunken rant of a partisan fan sent around midnight from the ale house than an official club message delivered on the full-time whistle, it also possessed a tone of a vague, menacing threat. Perhaps the Premier League didn’t do themselves any favours by handing VAR duties to someone who is supposedly a fan of relegation rivals Luton Town but it’s quite the jump to question the integrity of officials.

Given the catalogue of dodgy refereeing decisions that have gone against Everton, both this season in particular, and historically under Forest’s ‘referee analyst’ Mark Clattenburg, who made such a hash of handling a Merseyside Derby in 2007, he wasn’t picked to take charge of another game at Goodison Park for over six years, the visitors won’t be getting much sympathy from the Blues. It all seems a bit rich given that the East Midlanders also received a smaller points deduction than Everton despite a bigger financial breach and one which seemed a lot more blatant given that they splashed the cash to the tune of quarter of a billion pounds beefing up their squad for the Premier League with over 40 new recruits after winning promotion while Goodison chiefs have been dramatically tightening their belts in recent years.

READ MORE: Nottingham Forest make new VAR demand with first post since Everton penalty outburst

READ MORE: Everton players laugh at surprise Sean Dyche change as pre-match routine runs late

Given that Forest ‘only’ got a four-point deduction for their PSR case due to their good behaviour in terms of being co-operative with the Premier League, you’d imagine that the powers that be will take a dim view over this latest outburst and many neutrals in football won’t be cheering them on to survive. Given his respect for referees, you also imagine that the legendary Brian Clough, the manager who gave Forest their greatest days, would be turning in his grave over such unsavoury actions.

Matt Jones - Some Forest fume justified but Clattenburg input is farcical

It's actually Everton *scoffs* who have been the biggest beneficiaries of VAR. Didn't you know?

Well, Blues everywhere will know that has not quite been the case this season, but Nottingham Forest's juvenile outburst and the subsequent reaction to it would paint a picture as such.

In fairness to the Tricky Trees, they can feel hard done by based on yesterday's game. For me, the third incident involving Ashley Young is undoubtedly a penalty - the first two feel like 50/50 calls - and that not being given will sting. Like Everton, they will feel the world is against them due to decisions and deductions.

But the manner in which toys were flung out of the pram on the full-time whistle was embarrassing. The way in which Forest's new mouthpiece Mark Clattenburg - a man who once produced a refereeing performance so bad in a Merseyside derby he didn't referee Everton for six years after - has parroted the club's line in his Daily Mail is troubling.

Officials have stunk the Premier League out this season. Any fan of any club would be able to recount a list of decisions that have been given wrongly against them, or VAR gaffes that have brought levels of frustration to boiling point.

When these decisions do go against a club consistently, supporters can sometimes call for official statements. There's something unifying about a club standing up for itself against these perceived injustices and at times this season, one may have been well received from Everton.

But there is a way to make such grievances clear. To casually insinuate bias after the fact is a staggering step for a football club to take, especially when it would appear such biases weren't as strongly put forward pre-match as the club or Clattenburg would claim. Around 36 hours on from the game, the situation has already become extremely tiresome.

'Our patience has been tested' said Forest in their statement. Yeah, we're already starting to know how that feels.

Joe Thomas - A risky strategy for a club with little room to gamble

When I asked Sean Dyche for his view on the penalty incidents he did what I reckon almost everyone of a Royal Blue persuasion also did when they heard of Forest’s outburst - think back to a long season of frustrating calls that have gone against Everton this season.

From the overturned Dominic Calvert-Lewin red card at Crystal Palace to the inconsistency that saw Everton denied a penalty against SpursDejan Kulusevski then Brighton win one, days later, for a mirror image offence by the same player, to the failure to show Ibrahima Konate a second yellow at Anfield, this has been some season.

In many ways, the only consistency has been the inconsistency of the decisions. Maybe that makes it fair, maybe decisions do eventually even themselves out?

I think Everton had a bit of luck on Sunday. We have seen penalties given for tackles such as Ashley Young’s on Gio Reyna but for me the crucial part of the VAR explanation is that the dismissal of Forest protests was deemed consistent with other calls in recent weeks. I think back to James Garner being clipped in almost exactly the same position against Burnley and Calvert-Lewin being brought down by Tyler Adams at Bournemouth - if they were not penalties then neither was this.

The interpretation of the handball rule continues to confuse me - I think a penalty for the second claim would have been harsh but we have seen enough of those claims given to know that it could easily have gone Forest’s way. The big one is the third though. Anthony Taylor made clear he thought Young got some of the ball and I think that was a fair call in real-time - this was not clear-cut to him. But once VAR looks at this it should quickly be able to see Young did not steal ahead of Callum Hudson-Odoi and at that point surely Taylor should be called upon to review his original decision.

I therefore think Forest have grounds to be frustrated. But the club’s childish reaction was pathetic and embarrassing and not the right way to go about highlighting concern. I’m also hugely confused by Forest’s approach towards the footballing authorities. The club received substantial benefit for what was deemed exceptional cooperation over its breach of Premier League spending rules. The points that cooperation knocked off the club’s deduction are the ones that currently mean the club is not in the bottom three. Yet since that reward for playing nice, Forest has gone hell for leather at officialdom - lambasting the deduction it did receive, launching an appeal and now, for the second time in two months, plumbing new depths in its criticism of refereeing decisions. Surely it is a risky strategy for a club with little room to gamble.