This ground, is coming like a ghost ground..

A, how shall I put this, ‘limited’ atmosphere at the City Ground isn’t particularly new news.  Indeed, any of us lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you see it) enough to visit other team’s grounds reasonably frequently will know well that home crowds don’t generally generate particularly good atmospheres compared to their concentrated travelling counterparts.

But this afternoon was a new low in terms of volume from the home support, and this isn’t a criticism of the fans – merely an observation (although jibes of ‘worst support we’ve ever seen’ from a team who play at home in an atmosphere like a school sports day did bring a wry smile as I sat there wondering why I’d bothered getting down to the ground).

Now, I can remember when I was a kid – we’d get geared up to head down the City Ground, and we’d be excited.  I’d get that tingling feeling as we cleared the buildings at the end of Trent Bridge and get a first glimpse of the ground, ‘FOREST’ clearly visible in the Executive Stand seats over the old Trent End cowshed.  The air would be buzzing as we walked down by the river to our turnstile.

As the players warmed up before the game they’d each get a chant in turn, before returning to the changing room for any final words of wisdom before being sent out just before kick off – where of course, we had the massive atmosphere-boosing experience of ‘the Psycho salute’ – something that I’m so grateful to have experienced, so sad that I probably never will again.

Pan forward to today – I trudged out of bed having indulged a little more than I intended, feeling tender headed.  Cursed slightly as I realised I had a Forest game to attend, found my season ticket, drove to park the car up and continued the trudge to the ground – timing it to get in as close to kickoff as possible, feeling none of the anticipation or excitement I described above.

As the players warmed up all was silent, as they came out for the game there was no Psycho salute – indeed, captain Kelvin lead the team out at such a slow pace he was overtaken by his teammates before he’d crossed the line pretty much!  The players were greeted with what is best described as a polite ripple of applause perhaps with a smattering of ‘You Reds!’ cries from those who’d had a few pre-match beers.

Tired of years of underachieving, tired in particular of nigh on two years of dire Smoulderwood-inspired defensive dirges, uninspired and irritable, the fans await the players to ignite them into enthusiasm.  This is a Mexican standoff that would make Miss Havisham’s hermitage in Great Expectations* seem like a short-lived reaction to extreme disappointment.

The players line up in shapeless uninspired formations, presumably acting on shapeless uninspired direction from team talks before the game and at half time, and ultimately deliver disappointing performances with occasional glimpses of the potential we know that they can deliver on their day.  More and more teams come to the City Ground knowing exactly how to stifle us, and frankly, it isn’t rocket science.

As this goes on, the local media – or in particular, the Evening Post – chides the fans into playing their part, into making the City Ground into the cauldron that I can never remember it being in my visits there, to back the side that lets us down irrespective of the level of commitment being shown – it’s insulting, irksome, and frankly, it would seem that supporters are just too fed up of it all to comply blindly if today’s atmosphere is anything to go by.

Coupled with the lack of compulsion to get off your seat and make a load of noise, there’s always the underlying threat that if you did just that then there’s every chance you’d get hoiked off your seat by the nearest steward and end up with your season ticket confiscated, I’ve had a few emails now and a few personal experiences of seeing people ejected for literally just standing and chanting – nothing abusive either.

So whilst Smoulds on the radio or some self-righteous reporter** in the local rag are suggesting we should be backing the boys vocally, perhaps they should investigate the draconian policies being enforced by Alan Bexon’s warriors in yellow before recommending this – there’s scant reason or motivation enough for us to be chanting or singing, without the threat of being chucked out if we do!

With six wins so far this calendar year (out of seventeen), we are on a run of form that sees us in more danger of dropping out of the playoffs than chasing the automatic promotion places we crave so badly.  With the second best home defensive record in the season, thank heavens we’ve managed to get a backup goalkeeper in on loan, eh?

* – no pun intended!
** – this coming from an amateur self-righteous reporter!

19 Responses

  1. Can anyone please tell me the last time that we won after swapping ends before kick off? I can only assume Kelvin keeps losing the toss because it wouldn’t be something we would choose to do (unless maybe it’s part of CC’s master plan!!).

  2. You are right NFFC, the atmosphere is shocking but then again what have we got to shout about. I have been to around 5 games this season and every time it was like a morgue.

    Too be honest I don’t even miss going down to watch forest anymore, it bores me rigid and that is saying something because Football is a big part of my life.

    I am afraid to say that next season if we are still in this league whihc looks more likely every week then the atmosphere and attendences will be far worst.

    At least I also have the memories of Psycho before every game. Who do we have now to shout about? Nobody

  3. Good article NFFC and I think you have made fair comments about the stewarding situation. Nevertheless, atmosphere is, more often than not generated from the action on the field, so in some ways you can’t be surprised at the morgue-esque silence that we now often play in.

    We were barely 30 seconds into the game yesterday when someone in the UBE shouted “You are f*cking rubbish Forest” which whilst causing some amusement to those around him, as it was somewhat premature (!), it is indicative of the mentality of some of the supporters who arent prepared to give the team a chance, even before the first whistle is blown.

    With the team being so inconsistent, a lot of supporters take the “half empty” than than “half full” approach which quickly spreads into mumblings of discontent and eventual player abuse and derision.

    This is not restricted to our league or even our team as I noticed Avram Grant got abuse in the Chelsea v Arsenal game on Sunday when he made 2 substitutions matchwinners one as it turned out!

  4. Thats what happens when you get a club thats been consistanly underfunded and run into theground. The negativity shown on pitch is symbolic of the negativity shown off the pitch. The years pass by and the fans stick with Forest because we are Forest.

    Until the clubs wants to move on, we can’t move forward.
    The likes of talented players like Kris Commons, Lewis and Wes will move on because loyalty on extends so far with football players.
    We need a very positive Manager, a very postive investment, and very clear PR from Forest. The insulting “we are serious about promotion” campain by Mark Arthurs shows how little the clubs understands about the game these days. Time for huge changes

  5. Well you are spot on, it was so much more better all those years ago, i was only a young teenager when we were down standing on the trent end, and you’re right it was amazing to give psycho, chettle etc their individual songs and gee-ups for the game ahead, and it was a without doubt a more vociferous support back then, and the only reason i can put it down to (apart from the obvious league placings) is the all seating. I feel almost embarrassed to shout out anything whether it is positive or not, which is a travesty as i know that is what we are there for. The stewarding doesn’t help, and i have no idea what their problems are. All in all i do not enjoy going down to the CG these days (obvious reasons not included, won’t go there today), but i have to as they are my team and they need our support regardless of how it can be portrayed these days. Such a shame really..

  6. everything you said is right. ive got a season ticket too and every game it seems a struggle to go and watch. i mean stood at the Brighton game yesterday i kept thinking someone please get a chant going. then about 10 minutes later someone near me got a chant goin and within a minute a steward was there to sort him out. Crazy it wasnt even assulting anyone just the chant of through the seasons before us. Another thing is that like you i see our chances of the playoffs fading away. a few weeks ago when we played carlise i remember looking at our fixtures and thinking exactly what you said tranmere carlise n donny away. i can see us picking up 3 points fom that at the max. however this makes me wonder if we have games like this to come why are we failing to beat teams like brighton and oldam at home. one final point is that it is annoying me how people are saying if donny lose and if carlise lose we got a chance. However i have seen donny drop points in recent week for example against yeovil and oldham. then when you look at the table forest have got no closer to them. if we cant take the chances we have been given we dont deserve to catch anyone.

  7. 100% right but i think you have been to polite stronger words than yours are needed just wish i could put down on paper how i truely feel about the whole set up of our beloved Nottingham Forest. I have advocated for the last two years that all is not well at nottingham forest it needs a total clearout from top to bottom starting at the top,C.C is truely a useless manager if you are thinking of getting out of this division or any other for that matter. This manager would be ok for the likes of Mansfield town no disrespect to them but he will keep you up and you will be a middle of the table team but that is all you will ever be. Just the other day i went to see my son play football for his school one of the teachers came up to me and said could you keep your voice down as i was screaming instrucions from the side line, i said to him is this a football match or what if i cant shout at a football match then you take out the passion in football . If there is no passion in the game then there is no desire. My point is that if you get dragged out of the match for showing your passion then forget it. I stopped going to see forest last year and vowed and decleared i would not go back to the city ground untill i saw passion and desire back on the pitch from the players and also some desire from the men at the top who seem quite happy for Forest to dwell in the lowere ters of the football league,while ever that crew is in charge you wont see any desire or movement at all.

  8. Sorry Martin, but for the level we are now at and the debt we are (theoretically) still in, I cannot agree that our club is underfunded. The facts are we spent more than any other League One club during the Summer and tried to spend over £1million on Leon Best during January. Yes, the ‘we’re serious about promotion’ campaign was insulting but it was also years ago, as were our European Cup wins which some insist on banging on about. Both are unhelpful and completely irrelevant to the situation we currently find ourselves in. If we don’t get promoted this year then ‘underfunding’ will not be the reason why. I do agree, however, about the lack of atmosphere,the reasons for which, as stated already by other posters, are sadly obvious.

  9. I felt the atmosphere yesterday was especially poor and that is in no thanks to our league position and our style of football(even hartlepool have scored more than us this season, 9 time more).

    My biggest complaint is in fact the warm up…. I try to understand every week why forest seem to start football matches so slowly, where this i feel is the most important period for our team, im undoubted in my view that if forest score the first goal at home not only do we collect three points but go on to score more… so after watching the warm up for the 5th or 6th time this season it dawned on me that some of the drills are reminiscent of sunday league where fat blokes take it in turns to whack it at a keeper in no real structure or discipline. It is not only the “complex shooting drill” which confuses me prior to kick off but the repetitive almost boring( which is translated through forest player body language) other drills which seem to leave players on their own doing kick ups or lazily pinging balls aimlessly across the pitch… anyone have opinion?

  10. Off-topic guys but… don’t u find our reserves rather sadistic? 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Again, they were losing 2-0 at halftime and went on to win 3-2 at Wolves!
    Well, the pressure on them is far less, but our first team guys could learn lessons from them in never-say-die attitude…
    And a statistic that will bewilder many and be of use to the senior players to argue the above statement: Four Forest players have been sent off so far this season. The outcomes of the games:
    1 draw (Grant Holt v Bristol Rovers, score 2-2 remained the same)
    3 wins (Sammy Clingan v Brighton was 2-0 remained same, Kelvin Wilson v Huddersfield was 0-0 and 0-1 after the “penalty” and became 2-1, James Perch v Northampton was 1-0 and became 2-1).
    Come on guys in black (or whatever these days!), SHOW REDS RED!!! U R OUR ONLY HOPE! 🙂

  11. You may have a point Vassilis, it certainly does seem to galvanise and motivate the team when we feel a sense of injustice. Friday night at Northampton was a perfect example of that. The chant ‘2 – 1 to the famous team’ still ringing in the Cobblers ears!

    Good article NFFC and I couldn’t agree more about the lack of atmosphere at the City Ground. In comparison, we can take some pride in our large away support which always provides excellent vocal backing. Perhaps we should campaign to have Jules installed as captain and then get him to copy the old Psycho salute to the Trent End?

    There’s only one Psycho though so we’ll have to shout ‘Benno, Benno!’

  12. Pease Play The Reserve Team On Friday !!!!!!!!!!

  13. Good article but since we lost my Trent end the atmosphere has never been the same.I’m amazed by the comments regarding these stewards.When did that all start..I would have never seen a whole Forest match if they had these little hitlers in in the old days.An amusing story for you. When Forest played aston villa a long time ago,I was by the players tunnel with my rattle …a thing you swing round to make a noise… one hand,my scarf round my neck,and derek dougan villas irish international center forward kicked Peter Grummit the Forest goalie on the head and was sent off !! As he walked past me ,a12 year old ,I smacked him on his arm and called him a bastard ,which was strong then.He stopped and turned round and looked at me and then continued up the tunnel.Everyone near me said Well done and I was lucky he didn’t come back to smack me as he was BIG ….Next day doing my paper round and of course reading all the Forest write ups I was horrified te see almost a full page photo of me screaming abuse and headlines ANGRY FAN STRIKES DOUGAN….. So I got a good smack from my Dad instead and was banned for the next two matches by my Dad. I sent a letter to dougan at aston vila apologising.and received back his autograph.I hope you enjoyed this EXCLUSIVE….Alan

  14. Brilliant story! 🙂 Times have certainly changed since then – for one thing, you wouldn’t be allowed the rattle any more!

  15. Hey there all,

    For the 1st time this season (maybe the 2nd – but 1st on Radio) I was able to listen to full commentry on 1 of our games (yesssssss!!). We played well but lacked that finishing touch which would have killed the game. We had 2 posts and the ball going along the line (not to confuse anyone like I did talking to a fellow English-Cypriot Red) & not in.

    Damn! You could not help thinking if it was cursed the ball on Monday. That’s the problem, our balls cursed & yet tems below us are dropping al the points where as we drop 2 or gain 1 (which side of the glass r u looking @?).

    As for the boos, Collymore (yes, he was commentating on the match) said they were unjustified, yes but they weren’t boos for bad play though, they were boos of SHEER FRUSTRATION. We hate this league, so will Leeds when they don’t go up & they won’t if they don’t get all their points back. I understand the points were deducted not because they went into administration but they broke other rules related to it.

    There was an extremley intresting conversation on 5live last night over all of this. There were calls for even automatic relegation if a club went into adnnistration. I’ve gone off track again….

    Reserves come back from 2-0 down & win 3-2, same old story!!! Only CC could learn something. Question, what’s with our rotational policy @ Forest? Surley you’ve all noticed it. How the heck can you leave the top scorer on the bench & throw him in with less than 10mins 2 go? Don’t get me wrong, McCleary deserves a chance in the 1st team but he should have been thrown on last, not Agogo – who was warming up for a while. Amazing to hear the cheers for a substitution, Collymore was wondering when CC was going to make a change, he saw it was needed well ahead of CC & he’s not the manager. What might that suggest?

    In light of other results, it was a point gained, but we need to find a win even though we’re unbeaten in 5 games but only 1 win & the next 2 games away vs Doncaster & Carlisle on Friday & Tuesday respectively….

    1 final thing – who had Internationals in their team to get the game called off – Leeds? I don’t believe it…

  16. You Greek guys certainly embrace the ‘cup half full’ mentality! Even when we play boring, aimless football against crap opposition for 40 minutes a week you 2 still find the positives!
    A word to the wise though; if you do come over for a game this season DONT come to the City Ground. Get yourselves away tickets and enjoy the singing and banter with 2000 other trickies. That alone will make up for the inevitable poor performance. Much better than a poor performance in front of 20000 moaning home fans! The Trent End has been desperate since the seats went in, but recently even the A block and Capital One corner seem to have lost the will to inspire.

    Hey ho, I’ll keep the faith. Youuu Reeeds!!

  17. You are right Mattyboy, we tend to look at the bright side of things, maybe that’s why we won that Euro four years ago!!!
    Well thanks for the advice, but I will come to the CG as I have every time I have been to England lately, this time sporting a Greek flag to greet my man Konstantopoulos! Because, I have already told you, Smitty can already sweat… He will lose his gloves sooner or later… lol
    Jokes apart, Smitty is one of my favourites for Player of the Year.

  18. Ela re Vassilis ti les (translation – Come on Vasilis, what r u talking (about)), of course you’ll go & meet our new reserve keeper & talk about your homeland. I’ll understand what you’ll be saying but since I’m an English (Greek) Cypriot I wont relate to your conversation except Euro 2004. Ax ti meres, Ela k to 2008!!! (Sorry guys – got lost there with Vas).

    On the subj of GK’s isn’t that another u turn in CC’s face, wasn’t it he who said that we didn’t need another GK @ the CG? Yep, the same manager who says I’ll push through the youth – at least he’s doing it now – ouch, what’s that I hear, expect a mass exodus of youth players on loan today!!! lol. Don’t be suprised 1 bit if it happens, we’ve seen it time & time again – Bastinas is 1st on the list…

    & Matty, why not look @ things on the bright side, we see the sun more than the rain & when we do see that rain it’s a joy. I’d love to come to an away game & 2 b honest, next season when I come – 1st Div or Champ’ship I’ll twist my cousins arms around till someone gives me a lift to an away game – maybe that should be come with me 2 1 (since there always the team coach)!!!lol.

    Come this time Saturday we’ll know 100% if it’s PO or we still got a chance for promotion & I’ll still try 2 find a + -))

  19. P.S FA Cup against any higher opposition (pref Premiership) would be my prefered away game.

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