Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Lewis McGugan has opened up on the circumstances that led to his departure from Nottingham Forest and his move to Watford in 2013, suggesting he never wanted to leave the City Ground.
McGugan was a popular figure amongst supporters and he had been a crucial player on the field for the Reds in the three seasons before his departure from the City Ground. The midfielder had managed to register eight goals in 30 Championship appearances in the 2012/13 campaign (Sofascore), as Forest missed out on the play-offs.
That summer would see the midfielder exit the club and move to Watford on a three-year deal. A move that came after he was not handed a new contract by Forest with negotiations over a new deal failing to progress over the summer.
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Speaking to the Dore on Tour YouTube channel, McGugan outlined that he never actually wanted to leave Forest that summer, stressing that he was hopeful that he would get a new deal sorted out with the club and that it was not his plan to leave the club.
He said: “This is one of the biggest things that I’ve always wanted to explain and I think a lot of people have never got to understand.
“I think that when Billy (Davies) came back in, obviously the new ownership, things were starting to happen around me in terms of there was players who were also out of contract. Radi (Radosław Majewski) was also out of contract at the time and people started to get contracts offered and signed and stuff like that around me.
“I was just kind of just nothing was happening so I was in the back of mind just thinking to myself well something doesn’t add up. There’s people getting contracts, they are looking to what they want to do so. But at that point I’m involved (in the team) I’m scoring. I was contributing.
“So in my head I was thinking, well listen I’m keeping relevant, I’m contributing and I’m helping the team. Yes, I don’t know what’s going on. Do I want to get something sorted? In my head, I always wanted to stay.
“I never thought about going. It comes to the end of the season. I still thought something will happen. There was mentions of, yeah we’ll look to get something sorted. When sometimes things just feel off, for whatever reason it didn’t feel like anything to do with football. I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t anything to do with what I can offer on the pitch.
“Like I say I don’t know what it was, but for whatever reason, my contract, or my kind of discussion wasn’t really progressing.
“So, the season ended and we didn’t get in the play-offs. In my head, I’ve still not heard anything from Forest, but in my head, I’m still thinking I don’t want to go. I’m still thinking in my head I’m staying because I didn’t want to leave.”
It is very interesting to hear from McGugan over what his thoughts were around the time he left Forest in 2013. There have been a lot of suggestions and thoughts expressed over the move to Watford that summer, but it seems that the midfielder always wanted to get a new contract sorted out.
McGugan had been an important player for the Reds, and he was one of the best goalscoring midfielders in the Championship during that period. It was always therefore a shock when the Reds allowed him to leave to Watford on a free deal without putting up much of a fight to keep hold of him.
The midfielder’s comments should go some way to clearing up his side of things around the time. However, it remains still bizarre why the club did not work harder to sort him out a new contract when that is what he clearly wanted to happen.