Larry Lloyd – Hard man: Hard game

I popped down to Arnold yesterday morning to pick up a copy of Larry Lloyd’s autobiography, “Hard man: Hard game” and get it signed by the man himself, since the local MSR Newsagent down there was running a signing session. It didn’t take too long to get to the table where Larry was dutifully inscribing messages into copies of his book, I’d never met him before and he was a charming fellow.

Even though I bought the book as a gift, I must confess to having a sneaky read of it last night – well, more of a skim-read – I tended to skip the Liverpool-related bits, but it was fascinating to read about Larry’s upbringing in post-war Bristol – one of ten children, with a father who had never so much as seem him due to blindness!  It was also nice to read of his elevation to the first team of his boyhood heroes Bristol Rovers.

Of course, shortly after this Bill Shankly plucked him from relative obscurity to play for Liverpool.  After being dropped he fell out with Bob Paisley as Shankly was retiring and ended up being sold to Coventry, shortly after which he picked up a back injury and fell completely out of first team reckoning before Brian Clough and Peter Taylor swooped to take him to Division 2 Nottingham Forest – and of course, on to glory.

What comes across loud and clear is Lloyd’s pride in both his achievements and those of his teammates, he said to me as he signed the book “We never forget those times either, you know!” – I told him I wasn’t lucky enough to have witnessed them in person, he called me a “poor bugger” – given his theorising about the nature of Forest, I can see why, he sees Forest as a team that spends decades in obscurity before burning brightly with an achievement (1898 – won FA cup, 1959, won FA Cup, late 70’s-early 80’s untold glory, late 80’s-early 90’s lesser Wembley appearances).  It would seem some of us may have some more time to wait for a bit of glory!

He covers the Hillsborough disaster from the understandable position of a fence-sitter, he was at the game as a commentator, and then – perhaps the most eagerly antipated bit of the book – he talks about David Platt.  It’s fair to say Larry doesn’t like Platt much, much like the rest of us!  I hadn’t realised that Larry was working for Forest in the PR team – indeed, when I used to occasionally write to Forest to get things signed they may well have passed through Larry to be sorted out – so thanks Larry!

He speaks of Platts’ profligate wastefulness in terms of the transfer money he spent, and intriguingly also of the detailed dossier Nigel Doughty had prepared on him before appointing him.  Platt wouldn’t let Larry into the dressing room to get a shirt signed (despite Platt requesting the shirt for some charity do he was attending!), and after a while Lloyd was told he was no longer needed by the newly arrived CEO Mark Arthur.

All in all, a really entertaining read – Larry comes across as the uncompromising and ambitious person he clearly was to have achieved what he did in the game, but also as a warm-hearted and family-oriented man who still retains a strong understanding and fondness for the fans and the teams he represented.  Well worth a read, and available probably from MSR Newsagents around the city, and also from the Forest Souvenir Shop (who also had a signing event later in the day), so you should be able to pick up a signed copy.

You can also definitely pick up a signed copy from The Southbank on the end of Trent Bridge, I’ve just been reliably informed, for a mere £17.99.  It’s a top read, so there’s no excuse to not avail yourself of a copy.

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15 Responses

  1. I often wonder why it was that Larry vanished from all that was Forest. I do say that WAS because the man that has made Forest a public laughing stock, Mark Arthur IS the same man to get rid of Larry. Our weak link has been diagnosed yet again……..PLEASE LEAVE OUR CLUB MARK ARTHUR, YOU DO NOT BELONG IN NOTTINGHAM

  2. Well Larry seems to think it was Platt’s doing, with Arthur doing the dirty work.. either way, it seems like they cast aside someone who had a real passion for his new role within the club, and was a bona fide Forest legend who deserved to be treated better.

  3. Been a fan of forest all my life, and met larry lloyd at his booksigning. Wicked book Larry.

  4. I’ve been a forest suporter all my life and to read this brings back all the memories, to learn more about larry life was a pleasure. I’ve always thought platty was a plonka, how could he treat larry the legend like that!!! A truly Brilliant book with some fantastic writing, a must have.

  5. Great book, thoroughly enjoyed reading about one of our legends! makes you realise what we had back then! and what we have now!!

  6. well said nffc he was a forest legend and i was a small lad when i saw larry and forest at there zenith.36 now but have seen all the imposters coming and going from CG.The powers that be have an uncanny nack of pissing off legendary x forest players.

    We need a management team who have forest at heart ?

    Stuart pearce told me he had twice applied for the job and never even got an interview as we all know our problems lie right at the top of the tree.

    Its mad but if swansea beat carlisle and lose at leeds we could incredibly be in the mix come on you red uns

  7. I think that the way Larry used to slag off Platt on his century 106 show would have been a major reason Platt was keen to get him out of Forest. I also remember that he shortly afterwards lost his role at century 106 and his co-host (Darren Fletcher) suddenly changed his tune/toned down his criticism about Platt. That was probably the club’s doing as well. Whatever happened, Larry was proven right about Platt’s ineptitude in the end.

  8. Hi Wacko, funny you should say that. At the time I knew someone who knew someone, and as far as I could tell, it was all a damage limitation exercise from within the club – not just Larry leaving NFFC, but also his disappearance from Century 106.

    On a different note, although I didn’t like his style when he was on 106, I am pleased to see Darren Fletcher doing so well on 5live – I presume that as a Nottingham lad and Forest fan, he would not be allowed to commentate on any Reds matches though?

  9. As an aside, did you know that Martin Fisher, ex-Radio Nottingham and now Match of the Day commentator, was born and brought up a Derby fan?! However, after years of commentating on the Reds, he saw the light. Good man.

  10. I knew that, I believe he would still consider himself a Derby fan too… with some sympathies toward Forest after doing a sterling job as commentator for a while.

  11. … and wasn’t Andrew James a Notts County fan?!

  12. Darren Fletcher (and Stan Collymore) actually commentated on the match against Brighton recently. When Darren was first on 5Live, it was funny to count all of the Forest references in every commentary.

    I do miss the match commentaries with him and Garry Birtles – they were a much hugher standard than Colin Frey and BBC Nottingham.

  13. Cannot believe the quality of Colin Fray is being questioned. He is by far and away the best. Fletcher, James and Fisher ( 100% sheepshagger ) are not fit to lace Colin’s boots. I rate Colin Fray above the others on the following,
    A, he is a forest fan! very important
    B, pure radio commentary, a true professional
    C, ability to sum up games so quickly after they have finished
    D, without doubt the perfect face for Radio!

  14. Darren Fletcher, though undoubtedly a Forest man at heart, always came across as a bit of a knob! He always wanted to be mates with the players etc. Can you believe that in those days there was an hour long talk show almost entirely dedicated to Forest six nights a week?! Just shows the size of the club.

    Also, does anybody remember when Stan returned to Forest with Liverpool for the first time and Radio Nottingham put on a montage of their commentry on Collymore’s goals to the backing track of ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles? Just thinking about it now brought a tear to my eye (kind of).

  15. I suppose there lies the danger in doing that job if you’re a fan of the club… it must be easy to get tempted into the realms of unprofessionalism quite easily. It’s probably why it’s not all that unusual to find commentators of teams not being ‘fans’ in the pure sense, but obviously develop a fondness over time.

    The idea of a montage of Stan commentary sounds dreadful! I’ll never forget the Martin Fisher commentary from the Peterborough away game (despite going to the game – it was replayed for about a week after on the radio)… “WHAT A GOAL! WHAT A GOAL BY COLLYMORE! FOREST FANS DANCE ONTO THE PITCH….”

    Not bad for a sheepshagger!

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