I think it is important at this point that I record my feelings about liquorice.
I love and respect liquorice. My birthday is
in December, which means that a late birthday present doubles as a Christmas present, and my birthday presents are always late. One of the presents I got in December was a box of liquorice allsorts - not the Bertie Bassett sort, but a box stuffed with every sort of liquorice sweet you could remember. It was a red box the size and weight of a large brick.
It contained the following:
Jelly Buttons - these are the liquorice jelly blobs covered in hard candy bobbles, and they are sometimes called spogs. They look cute, but are irritating to eat.
Catherine Wheels - these are liquorice bootstraps wound around a spog. They are quite good, but a little tasteless.
Liquorice Sticks - simple sticks of liquorice with the end stamped flat; sometimes, as in this box, they are formed from hard liquorice, which is stronger and more bitter than soft liquorice, and is made of iron with a high gloss stove finish. Eating them is a dangerous but rewarding activity.
Liquorice Wands - these are soft liquorice sticks dipped in spog bobbles. They are okay, though a bit unnecessary.
Liquorice Gums - these small rectangles of hardish chewy liquorice are a pure delight.
Liquorice Cream Rock - these are soft candy tubes wrapped in thin liquorice, and are far too easy to eat.
Liquorice Torpedoes - sometimes called Liquorice Comfits by people who never eat them. These are worms of liquorice in a hard candy shell, and present the eater with the challenge of sucking the shell to death without crunching, a challenge which has never to my knowledge been met.
Liquorice Cuttings - these are twisted liquorice sticks cut into small bits. They are the bits-and-pieces leftovers of liquorice assortments, like scraps from the chip shop. Do they do scraps any more?
Liquorice Satins - these are coloured boiled sweets with black stripes. Like all boiled sweets, they are only suitable for long boring journeys or throwing at sparrows.
Liquorice Toffees - these are one of the most delicious confections ever invented - chewy, juicy, and perfectly designed to lift fillings.
Unnamed Things - these are bits of soft liquorice of varied shapes and sizes. Some are diamond shaped gums, some look like fake Pontefract Cakes, some just look like extruded deformities.
The reason I speak highly of these liquorice delights is that they provided the only satisfaction during the otherwise grim experience of watching Forest struggle against Villa. It was like Arsenal never happened. The same old problems reared their ugly heads again - the lack of penetration up front, carelessness at the back leading to their single winning goal, a general lack of urgency and a flatness about the play and the crowd, the obvious need for some good, experienced additions who could ignite passion and provide decisiveness and direction, and the recurring problem of the opposition bringing their own officials.
It will go well for Mister Karanka eventually, I am sure, but for the moment Forest resemble a team of Liquorice Cuttings. Liquorice Cuttings are fair enough, but they are disappointly small, they lack discipline, and they don't half give you belly ache. What they need is some hard Liquorice Sticks. These also give you belly ache, but at least they don't pull your fillings out.