Johnstone’s Paint trophy nonsense…

I’m quite irked by this competition on all sorts of levels, I know that the late great Brian Clough used to have a philosophy of trying to win any competition you get a chance to, but personally I think this one is worth passing by in favour of ensuring our key players are fit for the all-important league campaign. But there are specific reasons, other than the Mickey-Mouseness of the competition, that it irritates me.

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think we’re too big to be considered for such a tournament, and I don’t deny a day out in Cardiff for the final could be a good laugh, and certainly the kind of day that many of our younger supporters won’t have had the good fortune to have enjoyed with Forest, however:

  1. Loads of teams have been granted a bye for the first round (meaning they don’t have to play, they just go straight into the second round). Forest aren’t amongst these.  It makes the whole competition seem ridiculously poorly planned in my opinion.
  2. Forest (and indeed, Notts) have been placed in the SOUTH EAST group (the teams are grouped into four regions) – that puts us alongside teams like Gillingham. Which is frankly insulting. It would be preferable to have a midlands break, but southern? How rude!
  3. There is a ruling relating to resting players, it seems a little wooly, but it is along the lines that the majority of your starting eleven have to have featured in the majority of your league fixtures. That seems ludicrous to me, I feel Forest should be actively using competitions like this to give fringe players competitive experience, and not risking key first team players to boot. Stupid! Lots of pretend injuries and illnesses are in order, please, Colin!

You might have noticed I’m not too enamoured with his at all – that said, if we draw Notts County it could be amusing, we’ve not played them competitively for 12 years when we lost at Lego Lane, Notts fans still celebrate this monumental event (we were promoted that season!), so it’d be either amusing to give them a less savoury immediate memory, or at least give them something more up to date to feel cheerful about.

Certainly we shouldn’t be taking it too seriously – Swansea went on to win it last season, arguably at the expense of their league form which took a serious tumble at the end of the season.

An interview with a Derby fan: part two

Quite a short gap between this and my first interview, and this with the same Derby fan I spoke to for the first interview. I think I shall leave a longer gap or try to find a different sheep for next time, but nonetheless figured it might make interesting or amusing reading.

Interesting week this week, at least you managed to hold Doncaster to penalties – I suppose there’s no shame in that!

That’d almost be funny if it wasn’t coming from a team who lost to bloody Accrington Stanley in the previous round! It is gutting though, we came back from 3-0 down to level it, got a stupid sending off too… but I doubt people will be quoting milk adverts at me all season…

That’s true! I’ve been quite enjoying it – we’re concentrating on the league this year, and the Johnstones Paint Trophy of course!

The what trophy? Did that used to be the LDV Vans? That is pretty funny, although I suppose a cup final would be a good day out even if it was for a gold plated paintpot or something. We’ve still got the FA Cup to look forward to anyway, well, maybe a cup run of two games or so…

This week saw the anniversary of Brian Clough passing away – with statue funds nearly completion in Nottingham and Middlesbrough to commemorate his finest achievements as a player and manager, are plans afoot for something similar in Derby?

Not that I know about, I think there should be, it’s great that the A52 between us and you has been renamed to ‘Brian Clough Way’ – it’s greatly symbolic because whilst there’s so much animosity between the two cities, the adulation of Cloughie is a common thread that draws us together – whilst it was a bit odd, the service at Pride Park with F*rest and Derby fans sitting together was great to see. I can’t imagine another circumstance where I’d want to see Red Dogs sitting in our home areas.

It was a really moving night, it made it seem all the more poignant because we were straining to hear over the rain thundering against the roof of the ground!

The weather was dreadful, wasn’t it! I read the poem you posted on the 20th, the one Barbara Clough read out, I’d love to meet the bloke who wrote it and buy him a pint. Oh yes! On reading that I spotted the image you accompanied the last interview with, cheeky bastard!

Well you lot do sing “Sheep shag army!” – I thought it was something you’d embraced and were proud of! You don’t catch us singing “Tree Hug Army” do you, I’ve always thought Tree Hugging is quite a savoury, if strange, pasttime compared to shagging a sheep anyway.

It is a bit of a crap insult really, thinking about it – but well, it’s not easy to come up with a childish sexual connotation for a team whose logo is a tree, is it? Unless you can find a conveniently placed knot-hole or something… maybe we could come up with something around the Shottingham thing, although that said there was a shooting in Derby the other week so that’d be a bit two-faced…

So it’s Sheffield Wednesday up next for you – they must’ve had a bad start as they’re one of the 7 teams below you in the league, fancy your chances up at Hillsborough?

Well Lupoli’s banned now thanks to the Doncaster match, but there’s a few rested guys coming back, overall we’ve not been too bad away from home in the league – the Owls haven’t won at home yet, so the signs are good, I suppose! That’s probably the kiss of death now, they’ve got Tudgay of course who used to play for us. Doesn’t really compare with your clash of the titans game at Tranmere does it?

I suppose not! It’s gonna be tough for us, we need to up our performances if we’re gonna stay top, that’s for sure!

Good, wouldn’t want to see you finding it too easy down there!

Gareth Taylor: Forest zero to Rovers hero?

I always felt a bit sorry for Gaz when he was with us – he was bought by Hart as a player to come off the bench and change a game (in my opinion), but was rushed into the side when still recovering from an injury to replace David Johnson, who’d just broken his leg, and ever since then he’s been a scapegoat to sections of the Forest support.

Forest fans like a scapegoat, they always have done.  Gareth of course was unfortunate to be at the club during a particularly bad ebb in our history, but why he was singled out for so much abuse always puzzled me over a time when there may have been more talented footballers on the pitch who quite clearly weren’t putting in as much effort.

Certainly he seems rejuvenated at Tranmere Rovers this season – he’s scored a couple, had a few assists and is yet to pick up a booking, and any scriptwriter worth his salt would have him popping up with the winning goal infront of the away end at Prenton Park on saturday.  As a neutral I could see the appeal in that, naturally as a Forest fan it would be horrendous!

I still harbour fond memories of Taylor ending our sequence of games without a win with a diving header against Bradford infront of the Trent End, and numerous other times his unglamourous but hard work earned us points – I wasn’t hugely sorry to see him leave, because we do have better players now, in my opinion, and certainly I believe he needed to get away from a place that must have been a nightmare for him at times. 

He’s a player to whose strengths we never played, and as such I’m sure he was as disappointed as we were with his output in terms of goals or assists – let’s just hope that Calderwood has a better idea about what his strengths are than Hart, Kinnear and Megson did – because then we might have half a chance of nullifying them, but I can remember Taylor causing aerial havoc in our defence before we signed him, and I fear he’ll do the same tomorrow.