And the ref was called Clough..

I’ve been on a bit of a Forest book reading phase at the moment, speaking of which – congratulations to Jason who won the competition to have a signed copy of ‘150 BC: Cloughie the Inside Stories‘ courtesy of the very generous author, Dave Armitage.  I’m confident it will be a prize he’ll enjoy greatly!  Commiserations to the many of you who also entered!

At the same time I bought that book, I also picked up a copy of the intriguingly titled ‘And the ref was called Clough‘ by David McVay.  Normally when it comes to delving into Forest’s past usually I find myself reading of the late seventies and early eighties – but this book documents the achievements of a yet earlier Forest side – in 1959 the Reds lifted the FA Cup for the second time in their history – this book documents the cup run.

It could have course been a non-starter, the very first hurdle for Forest was non-league Tooting and Mitchum who almost caused an upset – indeed, should have done – Forest managed to take it to a replay thanks to a dodgy penalty awarded.  The rest, as they say, is history.  For me it was a chance to remind myself of perhaps less familiar luminaries of Forest’s past – but defintely deserving of recognition from present day Forest fans.

Forest captain Jack Burkett holds aloft his hard-earned prize - judging by the photos in the book, it was difficult to get the cup off him after the match was over!

Thanks to reading Gary Imlach’s book about his dad I had some sketchy background knowledge of that era for Forest – but this book brings it all together wonderfully – and the best bit of all is the treasure trove of fantastic pictures.  Match-action shots from every round – bearing in mind cameramen didn’t have the luxury of modern rapid-shooting cameras the quality of the photography is amazing.

So for those of you who haven’t ever taken the time to learn of these names: Chic Thomson, Bill Whare, Joe McDonald, Jeff Whitefoot, Bobby McKinlay, Jack Burkitt, Roy Dwight, Johnny Quigley, Tommy Wilson, Billy Gray, Stewart Imlach, Billy Walker and Harold Alcock, I urge you to avail yourself of a copy.  Did you know Forest were the first side to win the cup with only ten men?  It was also the first time the winning team completed a lap of honour after an FA Cup final.

It’s a great story – made completely compelling thanks to the wonderful collection of pictures and reproductions of contemporary advertising and memorabilia from the time.  One of the many historic battles that have been taken place at Wembley Stadium a little over fifty years ago now, when football was a very different game indeed.  I won’t spoil the bit that amused me most – but imagine the health and safety furore if a team celebrated their homecoming in the manner that Forest did in 1959!