If repeated on television, the above sentence would make little sense as a weather forecast. However, had you placed a sizeable amount on Manchester United and their nouveau-riche neighbours, City, being crowned Premier League and FA Cup winners in the same day, this is what you might have said.
The weekend’s results taught us two major lessons; firstly, that money can buy you love, happiness, and a team capable of not only qualifying for the Champions League but ending the Sky Blues’ 35 year wait for a major trophy. Secondly, that the FA remain hell-bent on bringing English football into ever-increasing disrepute.
What a couple of months it has been. Exhilaration, devastation, disbelief, agony, ecstasy and consternation have – at one moment or another – consumed QPR fans as they waited desperately to see if the R’s would be crowned Championship winners. The Alejandro Faurlin affair, because all major media events have to be described as such, has consumed more column inches than most other issues in the game these past few weeks. Yet from the plethora of varyingly informed stories that have made their way onto newspaper pages since April, none were proven right by the course of events.
For Nottingham Forest, tonight’s game is a chance to take the first, tentative step towards restoring one of England’s great football clubs to its former glory. Rivals Swansea, meanwhile, will be looking to stake their claim to become the leaders of Welsh football by making the step up to the Premier League, and show Cardiff City how promotion is won. Forest are currently the bookies’ least-fancied side for this year’s play-off lottery, and their run of nine games without a win earlier this season has perhaps contributed to this consensus. However, they are certainly one of the Championship’s in-form sides, having won five of their last six matches and veritably stolen a place in the top six off a wasteful Leeds United.
Swansea are also in good form, winning three games on the bounce in the run-up to this tie to snatch third from Welsh rivals Cardiff, but Billy Davies’ side have been here before. Despite losing to Blackpool at this stage last season, Forest will have the experience of such a big occasion, and this should contribute to a much-improved performance second time around. Despite playing some of the division’s most attractive football, indeed few would disagree with the Swans being awarded this title, one would have to fancy Forest for the first leg, especially at home.