Kinnear held to blame as Forest slide into League One

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The Independent Football

Mark Arthur, the chief executive of Nottingham Forest, criticised their former manager Joe Kinnear after the club's relegation from the Championship on Saturday.

Forest's 2-1 defeat at Queen's Park Rangers confirmed their drop into League One 25 years after they were European champions under Brian Clough. Arthur, though, feels it could have been avoided given the resources at Kinnear's disposal. The former Wimbledon manager left the club in December with Forest entrenched in the bottom three.

"Last season our player salary budget was £5m, with the chairman adding £1m for this season to make it £6m and one of the highest wage bills in the Championship," Arthur said. "But we haven't attracted the right players. We've not had the right discipline and I don't think we were fit enough at the start of the season.

"Certainly you can blame bad management at the start of the season. You can't lay any blame at the door of our current manager [Gary Megson] because he came in with 18 games to go. He has tried his level best to turn things round, but has been incredibly frustrated about what he has found in the dressing-room at Nottingham Forest."

One of Crewe, Gillingham or Brighton will join Forest and Rotherham in League One next season, with Crewe favourites after stretching their winless run to 19 matches against Ipswich.

Gillingham moved out of the bottom three and are two points clear of Crewe following a 1-1 home draw with Cardiff, which was enough for the Welsh side to stay up, but the Gills ideally still need a result at, of all teams, Forest.

Their assistant manager, Ronnie Jepson, said: "Every game has been massive since coming to the club in December and the situation will be no different in the final game at Forest."

It required an own goal from Paul McLaren to give Brighton a 1-0 win at Rotherham and so ease their relegation fears, but they still need a point from their last game at home to Ipswich to be absolutely certain of safety.

"We have to believe we can get something off Ipswich and not worry whether Coventry are doing us a favour against Crewe," said the Brighton manager, Mark McGhee.