Derby County – 2
Nottingham Forest – 0
I wrote before about my distaste surrounding the whole concept of both the idea of the Brian Clough trophy and certainly for playing a friendly against our bitter rivals. Don’t misunderstand me though, Brian Clough deserves any recognition coming his way, and the fact that significant sums are being raised for local charities is brilliant, but I’ve not changed my opinion about it since we’ve failed at our first bash at this new trophy.
Firstly, this idea automatically becomes some kind of tug of war between the fans over who the Great Man liked best. Now, who cares? And this proved to be true – on the radio you could clearly hear chants of “Brian Clough is a Ram” and “2-0 to Brian Clough” – erm, yeah. Okay. This isn’t a dig at the sheep fans either, I imagine if the boot were on the other foot (fanciful, I realise!), some of our fans would have come out with something just as crass.
It was nice to hear the Forest fans instigating chants of ‘Stand up for Brian Clough’ – somewhat more inclusive given the proposed ‘family’ nature of the event, which leads me neatly on to my second grievance with the concept. You see, football is becoming so hideously sanitised, and again, let me explain that further – I abhor any kind of violence, be it related to football or otherwise – but what’s wrong with a bit of banter? What’s wrong with rivalry? I do not believe that we can play such a thing as a friendly against that team.
Of course, cries of ‘just because you’re losing!’ could well emanate from expressing these views – and there is an element of this, what kind of folly is it for us – a league one club – to have organised a friendly, not only against our rivals, but our rivals who’ve just been promoted to the top flight. It is an absolutely absurd idea – notwithstanding the tasteless idea of waving the memory of Brian Clough in trophy form as some kind of prize. It’s just not football as I love the game.
On the flip side, thousands of pounds have been raised for charity which is fantastic, and 4,700 trickies clearly didn’t share my misgivings and it sounds like they fully played their part in contributing to the atmosphere – so fair play to ’em. And most importantly, no chavvy pitch invasions this time around. But well, I’ve had a gut full of nightmares at Pride Park, and frankly am very pleased I didn’t waver in my determination to not attend this fixture.
But yes, a game took place too. From the coverage I heard it sounds like Derby were the deserved winners. Questions of offside for their second goal, a first class idiot for a referee, and an opponent fully two leagues above us – it was never going to be easy. It sounds like we tried to play on the deck, Moloney sounded decent – but once again we sounded painfully unable to finish off chances, which perhaps is not all that surprising when Scott Dobie is one of the strikers.
A meaningless friendly? No. It’s never meaningless against them, even in the Masters tournament. It is folly to try to instigate some kind of ridiculous ‘family fun day’ events like this, I hope we never try it again. Now Smoulds, please go out and get us a striker to tide us over ’til Agogo and/or Tyson are available – or start with Sinclair, he sounded more exciting in the time he was on compared to the other two who seemed to achieve very little for the majority of the game.