Green about the gills?

Forest and Sunderland legend

Brian Clough: Forest and Sunderland legend

Without wishing to sound like a grinch (who was also green), I’m not quite sure why Forest have suddenly decided to compel people to wear green for the Sunderland cup game.  Of course, I realise it is supposedly to honour the late, and the great, Brian Clough who had an immeasurable impact as both manager and player alike for the two sides involved in the fixture, but well… why?

He passed away back in September 2004, so the date of the game – nudging the end of August – isn’t really of relevance, I realise the two sides obviously share a link with the Great Man, without sharing the animosity that we have with our nearest and dearest competitors this season; who we will meet in November this season for the opportunity to try to win back another tribute to Sir Brian – the trophy that bears his name that’s up for grabs every time we play the sheep botherers.

Now, don’t get me wrong – the contribution he made to Forest, to football and to – well – my life in general leaves me in permanent awe, with countless gratitude.  I wholeheartedly supported the campaign to have a statue of him erected in Nottingham, I can’t wait to see it later this year.  I am, in all honesty, a little bit obsessed with him to be point of reverence.

So it seems odd that this manufactured ‘tribute’ sits uncomfortably with me, doesn’t it?  Well, perhaps not.  It sits uncomfortably that rounds of ‘stand up for Brian Clough‘ is chanted at random intervals seemingly every game; it kind of dilutes the affection and legendary status he still retains at the City Ground.  I mean, what’s it for?  If it were on an anniversary, against appropriate opponents, then it makes more sense.  It doesn’t bother me, per say, it just leaves me feeling rather nonplussed.

Then something clicked; it’s because Smoulders himself is championing this green sweatshirt wearing idea personally.  Thinking back to Swansea, their fans at numerous intervals treated Roberto Martinez to a rousing chant in his honour; much as we did for Brian Clough back in the day.  Smoulds is clearly aware that he has yet to win acceptance amongst a fair chunk of our supporters – he’s certainly rarely, if ever, chanted for – does he accept this, so seek to collude with manufactured ideas to try to get the fans behind something?

It’s quite depressing really.  Sometimes I long for the days when every player had their own chant, their own chant that was generally – without fail – rattled off to them by the old Trent End during the pre-match warm up, before of course the amazing ‘Psycho salute’ when the captain lead out the side to start the game (having not joined the others for the warm up).  Maybe I’m just being over-nostalgic, but I miss those days – and not just because we were a better football team.