Q – How long have you been following Forest and what was your first game?
I’ve been going since I was 5, and my first game was against Sheffield Wednesday in the Premiership. We won 2-0 and Mark Crossley saved a penalty. That was my first, and so far only, Forest Premiership game.
Q – What are your most memorable moments as a Forest fan? Good and Bad.
Best moments would be beating Derby 5-2, beating Bristol City 3-2 to swing momentum for that 6th position back in our favour whilst experiencing every emotion possible, and when Gareth Taylor scored against Bradford in the 92nd minute to win 2-1 – a result which set us on our way for survival.
Worst ones would be losing 3-0 at home to Plymouth – my abiding memory of that is hearing ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ sung very loudly from all 3 and a half home stands of the pitch, and losing 3-0 at Gillingham despite having at least 18 clear cut chances.
These choices are more personal ones as I was there for them. It’d be easy to say when we got promoted in 2008, or losing to Sheffield United/Yeovil/Blackpool/Swansea in respective play offs, but things don’t mean as much unless you’re there for them – that said, I was absolutely distraught after that Swansea play off!
Q – Since you have been following Forest, what would your best starting eleven be? And who is your all time favourite player?
It’d be Camp; Gunter, Dawson, Walker, Brennan; Gareth Williams, Scimeca, Jenas, Reid; D. Johnson, Harewood. Subs would be Ward, Morgan, Louis-Jean, McGugan, Cohen, Earnshaw, Lester. As much as I’d like to put Huckerby or Bertrand in, they were loans so they don’t count.
All time favourite player? Since I’ve been watching, it’s got to be Andy Reid. Probably the closest human being I’ll ever see in a red shirt that’s similar to John Robertson.
Q – In your opinion, what is the best goal you have seen Forest score?
There have been 2, and choosing between them is impossible. The first was Harewood’s Maradona style goal against Crystal Palace, where he beat 3 players and then scored from an insanely tight angle to give us the lead in what was an very important game for us, and the second was McGugan’s free kick against Ipswich. I’ll never, ever see a better free kick than that live.
Q – Best and worst away ground visited?
Best would probably be Reading’s to be fair, for a new ground it has character, charisma and noise which is difficult to generate from scratch – take St. Mary’s or Prideless as examples of flat new stadiums. Worst would be Walsall’s Bescot Stadium, or whatever it’s called now. It’s basically an over-sized car park with a pitch in the middle of it. Absolute state – close behind is The Priestfield Stadium, Gillingham. Always nice to know that the away end is basically scaffolding with no roof!
Q- Which player(s) would you like to see us sign this summer (realistically)?
It all depends on this takeover (Arab or not), and who’s in charge. Having looked at the free list, you’d love to see us get in people like Danny Murphy, Peter Lovenkrands, Danny Guthrie, Nicky Shorey or Joe Mattock – but until things are cleared up it’s going to be impossible to gauge who we can and can’t get. I don’t think it’s likely Drogba will be signing oddly enough though.
Q – All seater stadia. Good thing, or a bad thing?
There’s no real definitive answer for me on this one, I’ve been to places with terraces and more often than not it’s been louder at all seaters. Atmosphere’s only as good as you make it, it annoys me when you hear people moaning ‘why is there no noise, bring back terraces’ yet when the chants are flying the same people that were moaning aren’t making a peep.
Q – What are your thoughts on how Forest did last season and how did it compare to your expectations?
An absolute write off, and a season to be very quickly erased from memory. For me, it was worse than when we went down under Megson. He was a fool, granted, but he inherited a worse squad with about 3 months to go, so at least he had an excuse and could be slightly forgiven. The current clown we have took over in October, with some 8 months left of the season to play, and with a MUCH better team, and only managed to accumulate a measly 6 points more. It’s frankly laughable.
Maybe I was spoilt from the success Billy Davies gave us, 3rd and 6th placed finishes respectively, turning The City Ground into a fortress and playing good football. Cotterill oversaw a period of 3 months without a win – anywhere, and played a part in us losing 12 or 13 games at home this season, when we’d only lost 2 the year before. You can say what you like about ‘oh we were unlucky, lay off him’ but when you start footballing jokers like Marcus Tudgay, who scored just ONE goal from January 2012 onwards, it’s hard to have any sympathy for him at all.
As for expectations, while I thought we might struggle to keep pace with the top 6, I didn’t think we’d nearly go down. I thought we’d get a top 10 finish, how wrong I was.
Q – What are your expectations for next season in the Championship/Where will we finish?
With Cotterill, we’ll be lucky to get 23rd. With him and a decimated squad, it’s an accident waiting to happen. There’s no use trying to avoid it either, hoofball and no depth are not going to keep us in this division.
Q- With the introduction of Financial Fair Play coming soon, do you think NFFC should spend their way to promotion, or adopt a more frugal approach in trying to achieve it?
If we can, for the short term anyway, spend. From 2014 onwards, the Premier League will effectively become a 23 team division with the parachute payments they’re distributing. What I mean by that is that the teams that go down, will automatically go back up again as they will be able to afford to keep their best players/add to already a strong team. West Ham are a prime example of that. If we don’t make it very soon, we won’t make it ever. Let’s face it, we’re not going to be bothering the elite any time soon – so why worry about whether we can make a European competition or not? Spend to get us up there, stabilise the club, and then comply with the rules.
Q – Name a former Forest player you were most disappointed to see sign for another club?
It’s probably your most common response, but Earnshaw. Had we had him up front instead of that useless ‘striker’ Tudgay, there’s no doubt we’d have been safe a long time ago. Of the time since I’ve been a Forest fan, losing Dawson/Reid was very hard to take, as was Harewood and Lester when they left. Oddly though, I remember being most gutted when we lost David Prutton to Southampton.
Q – What’s your opinion on Steve Cotterill and will he bring success to the club?
Am I allowed to swear? No? OK then – ABSOLUTE JOKE OF A MANAGER!!!!!! There’s more chance of me starting a band that’ll be as successful as the Arctic Monkeys, going out with Imogen Thomas, becoming a top class sports journalist, and playing for Real Madrid – at the same time!! – than there is of that idiot bringing success of any form to my club. His excuses are pathetic, his style of play is horrendous and he doesn’t even acknowledge the fans who have paid good money at a time where income is extremely tight to watch their team play his idea of ‘football’ – he’s NO Billy Davies, put it that way, and the sooner he clears off the better. Those players would not play football the way they’re doing if they liked him.
Q – New stadium, or renovate the City Ground?
Renovate!! All our history is at The City Ground, and it’s something we’re fiercely proud of. Why remove it?? Give it a clean, a fresh lick of paint, and make the Main Stand two tier so the ground is at 37000/40000 and leave it be. It’s a great ground anyway with one of the best pitches in the country – so why leave?
Q – If you could give one piece of advice to the eventual new owners of NFFC, what would it be?
Win. And win well. The people of Nottingham are used to seeing their team play good, clean, attractive football (well, until last season when the anti-Christ started managing us) so getting off to a winning start is a must. While we are so proud of our glorious history, it is also a burden as we are without doubt the most expectant club in the Football League. Second best isn’t enough for a club like Forest, and that is something that our new owners will have to learn – and learn quick.
Q – Where do you sit/stand at the City Ground?
Main Stand B Block with my Dad. We’ve been all over the ground together, but B Block’s the place to be (get it?) for us.
Q – Name the celebrity you would most like to meet.
Controversial choice, but the true definition of the term ‘flawed genius’, Mr. Pete Doherty! Provided he was clean of course.
Many thanks to Christian for taking the time out to answer the questions. If you would like to take part in the Vital Forest Fan Interviews, then you can find a copy of the questions here. Just email your answers to email@example.com and we will publish them on the front page.
The Vital Forest Fan Interview: Christian Brown
Q – How long have you been following Forest and what was your first game?