Nottingham Forest were tipped to be pushing hard for a return to the Premier League this season.
Considerable investment has been made over recent years, and chairman Fawaz Al Hasawi made money available again over the summer.
He was eager to back incoming boss Stuart Pearce and give him every opportunity to enhance his legendary status at the City Ground.
A firm favourite from his playing days, Pearce is back on Trentside hoping to enjoy similar success as a manager.
He has, however, found the going tough, with an alarming run of results dropping Forest off the Championship promotion pace and leading some to question his position at the helm.
European Cup winner Garry Birtles acknowledges that things have not gone to plan, but be believes Pearce needs time in which to get things right.
He told Sky Sports: “I think everybody expected the big bang to come when Stuart came in. I think they expected Stuart Pearce and the legend he is as a Nottingham Forest player to come straight in and make things right. But a lot needed turning around from when Stuart came in.
“He started the season very well indeed, but they have hit a bit of a bump at the moment – two wins in 15, I think. But I believe they played very well against Birmingham City and the fans applauded him at the end. I think he needs time, but in football now time isn’t relevant to managers anymore.”
Birtles added on the need for an underperforming squad to help Pearce shoulder some of the blame for Forest’s struggles: “You listen to all his interviews, they are very balanced and well thought out. He will back the players 100 per cent, but sometimes the players have to stand up and be counted because it is always the managers that get the stick. He’s the front line and he needs a little bit of support.”
You get the feeling that Pearce will be given time in which to turn things around as the vast majority of Forest supporters remain on his side.
Expectations inevitably lifted upon his return, but he was never going to be able to work miracles.
Injuries have gone against him at important times and a transfer embargo will keep his hands tied in January.
He remains the right man for the job at present, though, and will as determined as anyone to get Forest back where they believe they belong.