The Brian Clough trophy stays in Derby..

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.


Handbags, fracas or riot? You decide..

Radio Nottingham made it sound like a wholescale riot, from the (admittedly grainy and shaky) footage below, it looks more like a bunch of chavs getting overexcited then running away to me.  Whilst I absolutely don’t condone this kind of moronic behaviour, I don’t think it’s quite in a league with what happened when Notts played Man City a few years back, as the esteemed-but-senile Colin Slater intimated during the post-match broadcast.

Why anybody in their right mind would feel the compulsion to pitch invade after a win in a fairly meaningless pre-season friendly is beyond me completely, but equally the reaction from the home fans is also to be condemned.  Here’s hoping tomorrow night is free of any of this manner of incident.

Sir Spencer Weir-Daley day averted, but there’s trouble down the Lane…

Notts County – 1
Nottingham Forest – 2

Okay, perhaps it was never really going to be Sir Spencer Weir-Daley day!  I’m currently listening with disbelief to Radio Nottingham as it appears that there has been a clash between Notts and Forest fans on the pitch at Lego Lane at the full time whistle – lord help us tomorrow if the same kind of idiots are intent on trouble with our ‘proper’ rivals.  The radio reported the incident kicking off as a result of Forest fans invading the pitch at the end – and let’s face it, there’s absolutely no need for it.

Credit must go to Smoulders and his coaching staff, who apparently waded into the incident as fans clashed to help the stewards tell the fans to get back and behave themselves – very admirable actions amidst some shameful behaviour apparently from both sets of fans.  Whilst I wasn’t particularly excited by this game, it was apparently a reasonably good game and it’s a shame for it to finish in turmoil like this – particularly in such an utterly meaningless fixture.

But anyway, it was 1-1 at half time, with Forest arguably the better side – Chambers scored for us when Pilkington fluffed a cross after just four minutes, with Mackenzie equalising after a sloppy backpass.  Notts also hit the bar, and Brown almost scored for the Reds just before half time.  The winning goal also came from Luke Chambers towards the end of the game, before of course full time and craziness from the supporters, which is bound to dominate the local headlines tomorrow.

Prosecutions for perpetrators are likely to be forthcoming, and without seeing what happened it’s hard to comment upon it – from pieceing together the comments on the media it sounds like Forest fans invaded the pitch first, and presumably illicited a response from some of the home fans as well – so idiocy on both sides of the Trent abounds, which is a real pity.

On a lighter note, I’ve had my attention drawn to a ‘Smoulderwood’ appreciation society that somebody has setup on Facebook – so if you’re a member of the site and want to show your appreciation, then feel free to join a bunch of likeminded folks!  I might just register for it now, as if I don’t already waste enough time on the internet!  Surely his amateur stewarding abilities is worthy of admiration alone, so join up!

Caught in the press!

Normally I don’t inhabit places cool enough to pick up copies of The Left Lion magazine, but I just happened upon issue 18 abandoned in a bar, and upon flicking through was pleasantly surprised to find some of my own work in there!  Many of you are probably aware I’ve appeared on the website a few times, but a season preview along with my Notts County supporting counterpart graces page 9 of the latest issue – as yet this isn’t available digitally on the website – so look out for it!

But no sooner did I want to gloat about my moment in print, it turns out I’ve been well and truly trumped by none other than Neil Lennon – who made it on to the front page of a national tabloid after getting spotted giving his mistress a good servicing by smokers outside a Beefeater in Lanark-shire!  The midfielder headed over to see her after our friendly game with Kilmarnock – all in all, quite an amusing way for Forest to return to the domain of the front page of national papers!

Aside from that, you might have noticed my general indifferent to preseason games.  Whilst forums are still reasonably rife with talk and concerns over lack of goals, to be honest, I’m just impatiently waiting for the season to start.  Although apparently there is a bit of interest – driving past Lego Lane on the way home tonight I saw plenty of Forest-clad fans heading to the friendly tonight between our reserves and Notts County, and of course, tomorrow marks the first contest for ‘the Brian Clough trophy’ at Pride Park.  Another game I won’t be attending – although with both tonight’s and tomorrow’s game being covered by Radio Nottingham, I might well listen to them.

The only other real Forest news of note was the potential injury to Arron Davies, which thankfully turned out to be much less serious than first feared.  Which brings me on to the ongoing saga at Leeds.  I don’t profess to be a financial expert, but that whole situation absolutely stinks, and it remains unclear whether or not Dirty Leeds will even be able to fulfil their league fixtures!  A brilliant summary of the situation appeared on fellow Forest blogger’s site I Love 1865 – can’t really argue with his conclusions, if anything he’s a little more sympathetic than I am!

Oh, and Forest have decided to do away with Sherwood the Bear and replace him with a camp man dressed in tights, which I must admit to a tinge of sadness about.  Whilst I never really understood the relevance of a bear as our mascot, he was quite endearing – and a man in tights leaves us open to rather more ridicule – but well, I’m not sure that this quite justifies the campaigns to save him that have sprung up after the news was launched!

Finding the Sherwood link also reminds me that Forest have created a new layout to make their website even more difficult to navigate – an impressive achievement! – and perhaps an apt one to mark its tenth birthday!

Up close and personal with Stan Collymore

collymore_p021.jpgThe Approach on Friar Lane in Nottingham are hosting what promises to be a really interesting and entertaining evening with former Reds striker Stan Collymore on 4th September.  It should certainly prove interesting for the contingent on LTLF who managed to get him to post on their forum recently!

Stan was – certainly for fans of my generation – probably the most exciting player to don the garibaldi, and of course, his life has hardly been dull since he left the banks of Trentside either on or off the pitch.  The evening will be hosted by former Century FM Forest correspondant Darren Fletcher – for more information click the thumbnail of the flyer.

So if the evening tickles your fancy then get your tickets ordered before they sell out – it should be an excellent evening nestled between a trip to Bristol Rovers and the visit of Oldham at the City Ground!

Kelvin arrives, but will he be outshadowed?

It’s not really been much of a secret that we’ve been after former Notts County defender Kelvin Wilson, since Preston rebuffed a bid for him earlier.  But upon a revised bid of £300k, it was accepted and the youngster has agreed a four year deal with us, turning down Doncaster (and Leeds – ha!) in the process, although I presume the Leeds deal was a while ago since they’re currently under a transfer embargo.

The pacey centreback seems to come with positive feedback from both Preston and Notts fans, and whilst he’s been touted as a right back candidate, this seems to be a weaker position for him.  There is also a sell-on agreement for County, which should hopefully cheer up some of the whingeing Sadpies after we ended up making our friendly with them less attractive by playing against Derby a day later.

The outshadowing could occur because of the not inconsiderable rumour from numerous sources that Andy Cole could be on the verge of joining up with us.  I’m treating this rumour very much like I did the rumours of Neil Lennon arriving, with a huge rhinoceros-sized pinch of salt – but well, what a signing THAT would be if it were to happen.  Smoulds has rightfully penned smug words on the official Forest site, and we’ve been revised as favourites for the title now by Bet Fred on the strength of our preseason signings.

Of course, it’s not inconceivable that Forest could still bugger it up – but fair play, I am starting to get a wee bit excited about the prospect of the dawning season!

Who’s the daddy?

It transpires James Perch is absent from the training session in Austria, due to the arrival of a baby daughter, Ella.  So huge congratulations to Perchy and his missus – that’s great news.  Although fear not, he is still training with the academy to ensure he has a decent preseason preparation whilst the first team squad are out on the continent.

It was a big year for Perchy last season – and given the incoming midfielders, I’m expecting to see him in a more defensive role (at right back, if I had my way) so he will have changes on and off the pitch to contend with.  But I’m sure he’ll rise to the challenge, I can see him operating well as a fullback which was the position he first broke into the team playing in.

In other news, Didier Agathe will not be joining us – having been invited to join the squad for the Austria training session, and promptly not turning up!  Smoulds commented that this ends his trial, and frankly, if he couldn’t be bothered to turn up or offer a decent excuse for not doing so, then sod him – Perchy can play there anyway!