Camp the hero again saving a point at the Gate..

Bristol City – 2
Nottingham Forest – 2

So we’re unbeaten in four league games – yay!  Considering these four games consisted of three away trips to Palace, Direby and Brizzle, and the home game was against high flying Birmingham, then really perhaps that’s an impressive run given our current lowly standing.  Having said that, stats can be twisted in any direction, and we’re still in the relegation zone, and we’re still three games without a win.

The earliest chance fell to Bristol City stooge McIndoe who stole in at the back post and missed with the whole goal to aim at after around five minutes.  Forest took the lead with a very welcome first goal for Garner, Cohen picked out Tyson on the left who calmly took the ball past Fontaine before picking out Garner who calmly slotted the ball into the corner of the net under pressure from the home defenders.

Adebola should’ve done better after getting the better of calamity Kelv and calamity Wes, but with Camp rushing out was hurried into shooting over.  Forest were still creating too, with Tyson and Garner causing problems for the home defence – this time the final chance fell to Tyson who couldn’t quite keep his shot from going just wide of the far post with home defenders bearing down on him.

The equaliser came around 6 or 7 minutes shy of half time, with an unpressured Marvin Elliott absolutely spannering an Adebola cross in from around 30 yards.  An excellent strike, not a lot Camp could’ve done – but definitely preventable had the shooting chance been effectively closed down.  Disappointing, but a tremendous strike nonetheless.

Straight after half time Tyson burst past the hapless Cole Skuse and put the ball past Basso to restore the lead for Forest.  I’m really pleased for Tys who’s been putting in a lot of work lately – as well as today – so he gets not only an assist to his credit, but also a richly deserved goal which will hopefully give him a bit more confidence as we move into a sequence of games were we really need to start picking up some wins.

Elliott was still looking dangerous, and after Johnson sent a ball over the top towards him he could only shoot over with the entire Forest back four chucking themselves infront of him.  Former Forest striker Stern John was introduced by Gary Johnson to bolster his strikeforce, whereas Smoulds recognised the wobbles that were appearing in midfield and put on Fletcher for Thornhill.

Forest almost had it wrapped up thanks to a gifted goal – Anderson payed through Tyson, and Basso had to be quick to prevent an embarrassing ricochet which looked bound to be another ‘Own Goal’ to sit embarrasingly close to the top of our top scorer chart so far this season.  The home side started to build pressure though, and with eleven minutes to go Adebola headed a corner down with the ball falling to Fontaine to shoot from the edge of the area through a crowd.

Chambers had a chance for the Reds, forcing a decent save from Basso, but Camp and Morgan were kept busy preventing attempts by the home side to get the winner.  However, Perchy almost gave us a much-craved win, getting on the end of a Cohen freekick but only able to direct the ball over from four yards with a flailing leg.

And despite this interesting and open battle between two sides, the headline incident happened in stoppage time.  Chambers was adjudged to have fouled Stern John in the penalty area resulting in the 8,452nd penalty for Forest to concede this season without being awarded one.  It was taken well by McIndoe but Camp was equal to it, diving to his right and saving with one hand conceding a corner.

A good match, and a fair result on balance – with the natural euphoria of a stoppage time penalty save giving Forest fans the sense of victory and the home fans disappointed.  We really do need to start putting some wins together though.  I wouldn’t say the pessimism that often plagues my posts is entirely vanquished, but things don’t seem quite so hopeless as they did a few weeks back.

Clough statue replica sales hit £50,000!

 

Less than a week after the statue of Brian Clough was unveiled near the Old Market Square in Nottingham, more than half the limited edition replicas have been sold.

A special run of 1,000 replicas, each individually numbered, is being produced at £100 each – and already more than 500 have been snapped up.

An estimated 5,000 people attended the unveiling in the city centre last Thursday. Following the ceremony, Mrs Barbara Clough viewed the replica, which has now gone into production. Standing six inches high, the statue comes on a marble base. Numbers one to ten of the special edition will be given to Mrs Clough, with former Forest captain John McGovern being presented with an additional replica.

Orders for the replica can be made:

online through www.TheMediaGroup.tv/BrianClough

by phone on 0115 969 4600 

or by post, enclosing a cheque for £100 payable to The Media Group, to 

Brian Clough Statue
The Media Group
1 Wilford Business Park
Ruddington Lane
Nottingham
NG11 7EP

The Media Group, Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Forest FC, the Brian Clough Statue Committee and the Clough family are taking no profit from the sales. Any profits from the sale of the replicas will be donated to charity and announced in the media early in the New Year.

There was an English club, an Irishman, and a Dubai investor…

O'Neill - moving to Forest according to citizens of cloud cuckoo land...

Not content with the general non-event that was the rumour of a Big Sam led consortium seeking to acquire the mighty Reds, the latest Dubai-based collective keen to waste sink millions of pounds into Forest are going to do so with Aston Villa boss and former Forest player Martin O’Neill at the helm.  If you believe a damn word the Daily Express have to say, that is!

 

Without being mean to Smoulds, who is very much in NFFCBlog’s good books at the moment, it would be a foolish supporter who wouldn’t take O’Neill and Robertson to replace him in a shot.  However, back in reality – he’s doing a sterling job at Villa, who are in somewhat of a more stable position than us (understatement!).  With their own rich backers, I can’t see even in my wildest dreams such a move for him occurring.

Of course, the O’Neill angle is just one thing.  Do we really want investment from foreign backers?  Investment is a good thing, of course, if used wisely – but it’s also something that can be withdrawn should it either not return profit (unlikely in football!) or cease to provide the entertainment or kudos the investor was seeking in taking over a football club.  At least with Doughty he does have an interest beyond the fiscal.

I doubt very much there’s much truth in it; given the financial climate in the wider world, now isn’t the time to be frittering cash away on what would be a risky investment in a time of financial buoyancy.  On the flip side – if manoeuvred correctly – Forest could represent a relatively cheap acquisition; but few of us would deny that to elevate us into serious cash-making territory (which is basically latter Champions League stages) would take a whopping amount of cash.

So I think that probably means this story is a big steaming pile of you-know-what.  Although of course Mark Arthur making strenuous denials about it does lend it a bit of strength… and it’s in the Evening Post too!

Andrew Cole is a whingeing old soul…

It seems odd for Andrew “Andy” Cole to have taken so long to make comments to the press; but perhaps it involved him getting off his proverbial behind and making his own way there – which would explain a lot.  Some of the comments which have been attributed to him in the media make quite interesting reading – if a tad predictable.  It’s unsurprising that Mark Arthur apparently said at the supporters club AGM that the policy of purchasing has-beens is one that Forest will no longer be pursuing!

“I told them from the outset that I didn’t want to go there to sit on the bench because I didn’t want to be perceived as sitting back and making easy money”
Well, we didn’t want you to be doing that either, Andrew – we wanted you to show an interest, bang some goals in – that didn’t happen.  From your clear disinterest during warm ups to your purposeful ambling around the pitch, unfortunately you didn’t merit anything more than the role of bench warmer, and frankly once injuries allowed, you didn’t even merit a place in the squad.

“I wanted to go there and offer something, but it was a strange one from the start.  I never knew what my role was.  Was it to lend a hand, use my experience or was it a PR thing, to sell a few more season tickets.”
I imagine the cynical PR suggestion has more than a grain of truth; however, your role was a football player – a role you should be eminently fucking familiar with, as it’s been your job for the last few years!  This requires effort on your part, otherwise you get dropped!

“I wanted it to work out, but I was playing for 60 minutes and then getting taken off.  Or sometimes I wasn’t getting picked at all.”
Aside from some neat link up play, Cole clearly didn’t have the legs for it any more – culminating in him being outran by Lee Camp in one game according to rumours of leaked Prozone statistics.

It’s a real pity, as I was quite excited when we signed him, but clearly he came with expectations of special treatment over his less illustrious teammates – which frankly, we don’t need in our dressing room.  He should take a look at the attitude Ian Breckin displays; club captain, but not guaranteed a game – but when he does get a game he performs well.  When he doesn’t, he doesn’t moan about it.

It’s a sad end to an illustrious career for Cole; made all the sadder by his mouthing off and making himself look like a bit of an idiot.  Whether Smoulds was really ‘intimidated’ by him or not (I suspect not), I think he did the right thing in getting shot of him – because clearly whether he wanted to be guaranteed a place in the team or not, his performances didn’t warrant one.

Jammy Brummies..

Nottingham Forest – 1
Birmingham City – 1

Listening to some of the ‘matchline’ comments on the way back home via Radio Nottingham, some people seem to be under the impression we played like Brazil or something today.  We didn’t.  However, in the second half it was another demonstration that despite being demonstrably the better team throughout the game, we were unable to convert the chances we created to get the result our performance warranted.

Whilst I’m obviously heartened to see a good performance – particularly from a somewhat patched-up team following injuries, illnesses and a suspension – it does leave me worrying about our lack of deadliness upfront.  But on a cheerier note, Birmingham were booed off by their fans – a good following who were very noisy before the game, and up until about when we scored – then they were decidedly quiet.  We did play well against a contender in this league – albeit an out-of-form one.

Another thing that cheered me up was that the Nottingham Forest school for remedial refereeing was clearly closed today, as despite having the ‘phantom goal’ linesman today, the officiating of the game was broadly good.  It’s true that obnoxious slap-headed ex-Sheep midfield bastard Lee Carsley should’ve been booked for diving into Lee Camp, and numerous other offenses, but generally I thought the referee had a good game.

The first action for him was to book former Reds midfielder Nigel Quashie – who completed annihilated James Perch.  Had it not been so early in the game he might’ve seen red instead; it was certainly more worthy of it than McGugan’s challenge last weekend!  The visitors looked confident in possesion without creating much early doors – and it was the Reds to have the first chance on goal through Anderson, which didn’t really give Taylor much problem.

Birmingham took the lead in typically Forest comedic fashion.  Without Breckin in defence, it lacked organisation and a leader – as such it wasn’t really surprising to find a quickly taken freekick bamboozling them and forcing Camp to flap initially to block McFadden, but the striker made little mistake when the ball returned to him, nutmegging the ‘keeper into the goal – with Wilson, Morgan et al still standing perfectly still observing the scene without intervening.  Frustrating.

The remainder of the half played out fairly boringly; Birmingham were incredibly negative – defending in numbers and content to watch Forest’s labourious attempts to craft some kind of chance.  The most excitement came when Tys was bundled over by Jaidi – we thought it was in the box, the referee didn’t – and in fairness, there were no great protests from the pitch either.  Cohen duly spannered it into the two man wall.

Forest took an age to come out for the second half, the Birmingham team had been out and gone through a number of limbering up routines.  The tannoy man decided to attempt to rouse the crowd, to which my neighbour quipped ‘that almost makes me feel passionate, ready to see Pearce and Walker charge out to save the day… and then Wilson trudges out‘.. it summed it up really as the Reds ambled out to take their positions against the waiting visitors.

However, after seven minutes we’d equalised!  As Cohen stepped up to another setpiece, having been fouled by Jaidi, we joked that it would end up either into the keepers hands, going wide or not beating the first man – as it so happens, it found Chambers who conspired to flick it sideways – bizarrely perfectly for James Perch to dive headlong to get a header onto it and give Forest the equaliser.

And the Reds took some confidence from this – Garner was increasingly proving a nuisance to accompany Tyson, and they forced a decent save from Maik Taylor between them.  Tyson also burst down the left and fired a terrific cross over which Thornhill burst into the box to get onto, unfortunately it was at an awkward height and the young midfielder lacked the composure to keep it down.  But Forest were putting on the pressure and Birmingham were creaking.  

A long range shot from Heath was gathered by Taylor, and Forest seemed more assured at the back, having had a few Calamity Wes and Calamity Kelvin moments; Cameron Jerome wasn’t really able to provide much test of Camp from distance with a poorly executed lob.

Whilst we’re talking defence – Chambers impressed me today; and it’s worth pointing out since I’ve been a critic of his when he’s played badly.  On the radio after the game he intimated that he wasn’t happy with his performances so far either, and that he’s been playing with a hip injury which they’ve now “got to the bottom of”.  Now the fact that Smoulds will play someone out of their natural position whilst carrying an injury worries me – but it’s good that it’s sorted, whatever it was!

Smoulds took off the hardworking Anderson to be replaced by McCleary, shortly after Tyson really should have decided the game for us – he burst down the middle but couldn’t seem to get the ball under control – he certainly couldn’t get it onto his left foot and he ended up shooting wide from fairly close range when almost clean through.  Another chance fell to Garner who, after good work from McCleary, took it past a couple of Birmingham defenders before shooting from an angle and bringing a good save from Taylor.

Tyson had a frustrating afternoon – he worked his arse off and caused our visitors some real problems, but couldn’t quite get the break to get a clean chance on goal aside from the one he missed late on.  He was, along with Perch, a real stand out performer though.  If we were sitting comfortably in mid-table we’d be pleased this afternoon, as we’re not, it has to be considered as two points dropped because Birmingham were here for the taking and once again we didn’t punish a side we’ve outplayed.

It could be worse though, and the fans were generally pleased with a standing ovation from the home supporters – with booing and jeering from the travelling Brummies who’d not really seen much to cheer about from their side for the majority of the game.  A good second half performance; but we need to start converting these performances into wins – that’s four games on the bounce now where we’ve had the better of play on balance – but we’ve only taken five points from them.

Back with matters on the pitch!

Having been swept along by the Brian Clough statue unveiling like much of Nottingham, it’s about time we contemplated a return to matters on the pitch.  A turnaround in fortunes is implied in Forest’s last two games – 4 points away from the City Ground, and some decisive refereeing decisions that went in our favour; albeit some earlier ones which went against (conveniently glossed over in the media, I might add!).

The current Forest squad should be feeling suitably inspired, having attended the statue unveiling.  They had the chance to rub shoulders with past greats of the club, and of course see first hand the tremendous good will the people of Nottingham still have for the former players from throughout Clough’s time at the club.  They also saw that day how much this football club of ours means to us, and hopefully understand the pain our recent history has driven into our hearts.

Our West Midlands visitors at the weekend come with a solid reputation and a decent league placing – but not on a great run of form – after starting their league campaign with three straight wins, they looked good to stake their claim as one of the early season favourites.  However, just as Forest’s last two results represent improvements in fortunes, Birmingham have succumbed to two 1-0 defeats – firstly away at Queens Park Rangers, and more recently at home to Coventry.

After Lewis McGugan’s ridiculous red card against the Sheep-botherers, it’s hoped that Chris Cohen will be able to overcome the ankle injury that kept him out against Derby to take his place.  Fletcher has a back injury which makes him a doubt too, which might see Perch moved into midfield and Chambers returning to the first eleven at right back.  Forgotten man Lee Martin is also apparently injured, whilst Guy Moussi and Julian Bennett are on the long term crocked list.

Our visitors have a few injury problems too, O’Connor, Kelly, Murphy, Parnaby, McSheffrey and Johnson are all doubts for the clash.  We go into this game second from bottom, they go in second from top – so expecting anything other than a challenging game would be foolish – but obviously we all have our fingers crossed that our revival can continue – although we desperately need to score a goal for ourselves, preferably from open play!

Also a reminder to enter the competition to win tickets for the evening with Nigel Jemson and Mark Crossley at The Approach.  It should be a great night!

Unveiling the memories..

I took the opportunity when returning past the new Brian Clough statue to record a short video since there were fewer people around than after the unveiling; aside from the undoubted fantasticness of the statue from a likeness, pose and positioning point of view, I had been wondering about the lighting after dark.  Well there was no need to worry, my unlit camera in video mode could pick out the details well enough.

There’s a great video on the Forest website of the unveiling itself taking place, which I had tried to record and somehow buggered up (I never was any good with technology!), although according to NewsNow I did manage to get the first photo of the statue online (albeit not a particularly good one!) once it was properly unveiled.  So that’s a bit of a personal coup for this luddite blogger!

Also, look in the background lower left on the photo the official site chose to use on their unveiling video page.  Can you spot a certain curmudgeonly Forest character lurking there?  I must see if he’s going to write any more diary entries!  As for me, here’s my favourite picture from the day itself, which was a wonderfully orchestrated and emotional occasion – huge congratulations to everyone involved!  As ever, I struggle to end on a serious note!

 

Smoulds weighs up the competition and starts to plan on shipping in more St. Tropez...

Smoulds weighs up the competition and starts to plan on shipping in more St. Tropez...

 

Even Gary Newbon getting a bit befuddled and thinking he was in Birmingham didn’t spoil a great day – it was great to see the reaction of the Clough family as well as the huge gathering of Nottinghamians.  Now, with all due respect to my good friends over at Left Lion, I will definitely be ceasing arranging to meet people by the feline guardian, now when I see people in town I will most certainly be saying “I’ll see you at Cloughie!

A masterpiece.. Brian Clough statue photo..

The long awaited unveiling of Nottingham’s statue of Brian Clough has just been unveiled, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Hopefully the primitive camera on my phone does it justice, but if not, I have my regular camera with me – as do many onlookers!

Proudly standing on the ‘v’ of King and Queen Street, it is great to see a fitting tribute to the great man finally in place, literally in the company of royalty and able to overlook the scenes of so many celebrations he masterminded down in the Market Square.

Huge congratulations to everyone involved with makng this happen – be you a commitee member, a councillor or if you bought some badges and keyrings, the people of Nottingham today proudly celebrate a hero, and leave a lasting monument fitting to his legacy.

Brian Clough’s a football genius!

Clough family set the tone for a day of celebration…

On the day of the unveiling of the Brian Clough statue, the master manager’s family have been speaking about both the man himself, the tribute and how amazed and touched Mr Clough himself would have been at such an accolade.

His wife, Barbara said “All we can think is how amazed Brian would be at the very idea of a statue.  I mean he really would.  He would never believe it.  It’s just wonderful it really is.”  

She also spoke of the softer side of her late husband, perhaps the side that was less popularly and frequently portrayed by his brash media persona.  “He’d be so touched, he really would.  He was easily, very easily, touched by people.

On visiting the sculptor to see the statue, she recounted “It was quite breathtaking when we went to see it, we went down to Les Johnson.  They were such a very kind couple, they made lunch for us then he said ‘come on we’ll go and see it’, and he opened the door and of course it was just in grey, unfinished clay – but it was absolutely incredible, it took our breath away.

Part of the visit was to give Barbara and her daughter Elizabeth the opportunity to suggest changes to the almost finished statue, however no amendments were required.  “We just looked at each other and we said ‘it’s perfect’  there just wasn’t anything we wanted [to change].

Brian and Barbara Clough’s eldest son, Simon, paid tribute to the volunteers who made the Brian Clough Statue Fund such a resounding success.  He said “As a family we cannot say enough about those who came up with the idea in the first place and then set about the task of raising so much money for the statue.

Marcus Alton was the instigator of it all and without his idea and persistence the statue fund might never have got off the ground in the first place.  His wife Sarah, together with Mick Mellors, Mike Simpson, Rich Fisher, Paul Lowe and the Chairman Paul Ellis then set about the task with great enthusiasm and it must be very rewarding for them to now see the project through to its conclusion.”

The Council Leader, Jon Collins, has also been very supportive but I would like to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to making it all possible.  It’s amazing really but working in Nottingham I do realise on a day-to-day basis how much my dad meant to so many people.  I get stopped by them so often in the street it’s a wonder I get any work done!

Nottingham will be in the mode for celebrating the legendary former Forest manager in preparation for the statue unveiling; tributes will start from as early as 10:00am on the big screen – leading up to the actual unveiling itself at 1:00pm which will be conducted by Barbara Clough.  For those of you unable to attend I shall endeavour to get a picture up as soon as possible, but will also take my proper camera to capture the day for later uploading.

Just a reminder that limited edition replicas of the Brian Clough Statue are now available – only 1,000 copies will be produced, and they can be ordered by clicking on this link.

Derby v Forest highlights..

They are now available to view on the Virgin Media website.  And d’you know what is amusing?  Have a look at the penalty incident, see if you can spot which slightly rotund looking type protests for a penalty, and then applauds the referee just as the ball is headed into the goal.  It’s none other than that number 7 fella who probably should have then stepped up to take the penalty, but didn’t.

Further fall out from the game is that calamity-referee Attwell has been axed as a result of his handling of the game, on top of the ‘phantom goal’ he gave earlier in the season in the game between Watford and Reading.  Most media reports focus on the last few minutes of the game, but disregard the fact that Forest had some appalling decisions against them too – not least the offside that never was in the first half, and the incredibly harsh sending off of Lewis McGugan – yet ignoring the shirt-pulling and microphone kicking antics of Emanuel Villa.

So all in all, a deserved fate for Mr Attwell who as an FA ‘rising star’ was perhaps risen too quickly to handle a game of such volatility.  Whilst many Forest fans are feeling grateful for his blunders in the final acts of the game, I can’t help but think that with Lewis still on the pitch we would have remained comfortable in the lead – had Garner been allowed to carry on playing he may well have scored (I don’t think we can call it a disallowed goal as the Derby players had clearly stopped, in fact, Garner was lucky not to be booked for carrying on and putting the ball in the net).

It will certainly spice things up for an already spicy encounter in February.  I just hope that Forest similar restrict the number of Derby fans in the ground as they did for us.  I also pray that we don’t have any tree-related equivalent to those embarrassing sheep masks!