Q – How long have you been following Forest and do you remember your first game?
My Dad took me to my first Forest match in the 1972-73 season when I was four years old. It was against Aston Villa and we lost 3-2 I believe! I was as interested in the box of Tic-Tacs I was given as a treat before the match as the game itself. We used to sit in amongst the cigar smoke in the main stand in those days. As we lived in the West Midlands, we only used to come to a couple of games a season but that changed in the early 80s when I moved to Loughborough. I have had a season ticket since the mid 1980s. There are now 3 generations of us who go to every home game as I sit with my Dad and my son.
Q – What are your most memorable moments as a Forest fan? Good and Bad.
I know how lucky I am to have been a Forest fan at school in the late 70s – particularly as I was in the West Midlands and so the only one in the school!! I was too young to go to the big games of the period and so my own fondest memories tend to be from the late 80s onwards. So in no particular order the good moments…
Any trip to White Hart Lane where we used to win every year and yet the locals always seemed surprised. Jemmo’s goal in the League Cup and Keano’s in extra time in the League Cup Semi final particularly stand out.
Winning away at Arsenal in the FA Cup, Wilkinson’s goal was amazing but the moment that Brian Rice scored was even better still.
Scoring six in consecutive games against Villa & Chelsea and going top of the league.
Stuart Pearce’s free kick at Old Trafford against Les Sealey – This was the season after Italia 90 when Pearce was getting grief at every away ground. However he scored over 15 goals that season from left back.
Gary Charles’ own goal against us at the Baseball Ground.
Peterborough away. 2-0 down to then win 3-2 and get promotion.
Cloughie’s last game. Ipswich away. Sneaked into the home stand thinking I would have to remain quiet and then realising that we had 90% of the tickets!!
The Forest supporters at Chelsea reminding them of our European Cup heritage and at the time their lack of one!!
Rob Earnshaw’s winning goal at Pride Park (of course!!)
As this is Forest, there are also plenty of bad moments…
The shabby treatment of Cloughie in his final year. Hang your heads in shame.
Yeovil play off sticks out a mile. More so for me than the Blackpool game because Holloway got that one spot on and by the end even we realised they deserved it.
The ref missing the blatant handball against Swansea in the dying minutes. We deserved to take that game into extra time and Swansea were out on their feet. And look where they have ended up!
Sacking Billy afterwards. The biggest balls up since getting rid of Cloughie.
The entire Gary Megson reign. Chester away a particular low point. The Ginger Menace 1
Return of the Ginger Menace – the Schteve McClaren months!!
The Ginger Menace 3 – who in their right mind thought Alex McLeish was the answer????
Q – Since you have been following Forest, what would your best starting eleven be and who is your all time favourite player?
Shilton, Anderson, Pearce, Walker, Burns, Keane, Bohinen, Robertson, Francis, Clough, Collymore. John Robertson is the best player to ever wear a Forest shirt, a magician. However Psycho is my favourite because of the passion he showed for the shirt.
Q – What is your best and worst moment of the 2012/13 season?
My best moment of the season would be Billy returning against Bolton. My worst was watching us at St Andrews a couple of weeks before and realising that if we kept on playing like that we could go down.
Q – In your opinion, how have the new owners performed since taking over the club last July?
They have moved this club forward more in 12 months that Nigel did in 12 years. That’s harsh on the previous owner who I honestly feel did have the best interests of the club at heart but he was myopic in his managerial appointments which with the exception of two (Paul Hart was based on saving money and Billy Davies was in desperation!) were frankly bizarre. Fawaz has made mistakes and I do feel that we would be more comfortable and stable if there was a football man in a Chief Executive role. However, having said all of that, I do feel that whether by accident or design we now have a Manager who is probably ideally suited to the current structure – although if there is one person in football who could probably fall out with himself then Billy is that man (only joking!!)
Q – Best and worst away ground visited?
The Etihad was very nice, particularly as we won! Would love to see Forest at the Emirates soon!!. Peterborough is a dump but because we can stand up I’m not going to say that. Selhurst Park is always pretty grim as is Vicarage Road.
Q – Who is your Nottingham Forest player of the season?
Andy Read was player of the season until April when he tailed off. Chris Cohen therefore probably deserved it.
Q- Which player(s) would you like to see Forest sign this summer (realistically)?
I’d love to see Wes back actually (and I think he would love to come back too). Billy Sharp, Jara and Ward would be good as they already know the set up and so wouldn’t seem like new signings. If we are looking to radically change the playing staff as has been suggested (10 in and 10 out) then bringing in players who know the club would be sensible. I wouldn’t be upset to see Gunter, Shorey or McCleary return for the same reason. I’d agree with most that Craig Dawson would be a great signing. However, the biggest thing we need is pace and so a winger such as Adomah has to be the priority.
Q – All seater stadia. Good thing, or a bad thing?
Despite what I said about Peterborough and being able to stand, in the main all seater stadia is a good thing. I watched the Hillsborough documentary a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t believe how old and shabby the ground looked. We were treated like animals in those days.
Q – What are your thoughts on how the team performed last season and how did it compare with your expectations?
I said I’d be happy with 8th before the season started and so can’t complain. We played some lovely stuff in the first month but became more and more inconsistent during SOD’s reign. McCleish’s month was abject and under Billy we played some exciting stuff without ever having the guile needed to break teams down.
Q – What are your expectations for next season in the Championship/Where will we finish?
It’s hard to say at this point because we’ve not changed the squad at all yet! If we begin to bring in the players we are rumoured to be chasing then with Billy’s track record I have to expect the play offs. A glorious failure to go up after finishing the season in 4th place!!
Q- Much has been said about the wealth of our new owners. Do you think they will spend their way to promotion, or adopt a more frugal approach in trying to achieve it?
I think they will spend what they feel they need to without blowing any budgets out of the water. We are at least being able to compete for players again which for many years we haven’t. I remember the shock I felt when we missed out on Tommy Miller many years ago when Platt was manager because I couldn’t understand why a player would not come to Forest. In those days it was a rarity for us to not get the players we were chasing. Things went full circle under Marthur’s tenure when as soon as you heard another club were interested you gave up on them coming to Forest.
Q – Name a former Forest player you were most disappointed to see sign for another club?
Wes is the obvious one although it was a necessity at the time. It was hard to see Stuart Pearce play for another team too. I would also have liked us to keep Nigel when he returned on loan before Bassett came in.
Q – What’s your opinion on Billy Davies and will he bring success to the club?
Billy is the best manager we’ve had in the last 15 years and I think he will get us up. Also, he’s got a point to prove if we do get up and that may well bring us more success. However, with our supporters they way they are I’m not sure what would be deemed success if/when we do get up. Would it be deemed success to finish 17th in the Premier League? I would think so but I don’t think that would be good enough for the supporters and if I’m honest I’m not convinced Fawaz would settle for that either!!
Q – In your opinion, was it the right or wrong decision to sack Sean O’Driscoll?
At the time I couldn’t believe it. It certainly wasn’t the right decision to sack him and then bring in Ginger Menace 3! If he’d been sacked and we’d brought Billy in straight away then it may have proved to be a master stroke. As it was, I’d probably have stuck with SOD until the end of the season and then looked at the situation again.
Q – New stadium, or renovate the City Ground?
I think a new stadium. If we were getting a stadium like Schalke’s then I think very few would complain. That’s not to say there isn’t something extra special about walking over Trent Bridge and seeing the ground against the river.
Q – If you could put one question or make one request to Mr.Fawaz Al-Hasawi, what would it be?
To be fair to Fawaz he has answered most of them. As a supporter I always want more – new signings, more money spent on players etc. Like everyone else I guess I’d like to know what was going through his mind in January because the whole month seemed crazy and out of keeping with everything else we’ve seen before and since!!
Q – Where do you sit/stand at the City Ground?
Trent End lower.
Q – Name the celebrity you would most like to meet
Cheryl Cole, Rihanna, Kaley Cuoco, Mila Kunis & Alicia Keys… not all at once preferably – two at a time will do.
Many thanks to BarrowRed for taking the time out to answer the questions. If you would like to take part, you can find a copy of the questions Here. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Vital Forest Fan Interview: BarrowRed
Q – How long have you been following Forest and do you remember your first game?