I’m sure you’ve picked up the fixtures we have to look forward to next season. Because of the arseishness of the footballing authorities I’m not allowed to post a list of fixtures and dates (due to copyright), but you can see them on the official site easily enough by clicking here. Anyway, our first game being a trip to Burnley has been picked up by lots of Reds related news articles because it reunites us with former player Brian Laws, their manager.
It’s fairly unusual for me to do this, but Lawsy was one of my favourite players in my formative years as a Forest fan so it got me thinking about his time here – so why not share some of it? Were it not for Steve Hodge and, of course, the other fullback of that era – Stuart Pearce – I think Brian Laws would have undoubtedly been my favourite Forest player in an era when there were plenty of viable candidates for a young impressionable fan to pick.
Signed by Brian Clough in 1988 from Middlesbrough for £120k, he appeared in three League Cup finals (winning two) and was a losing finalist in the FA Cup. Famously Clough’s first words to him were “I’ve never seen you play, son, I’m going on the recommendation of Ronnie Fenton. So if you’re crap, Ronnie signed you. If you’re good, I signed you.”
Laws was a solid right back but with the occasional eye for getting forward and scoring. I liked his no-nonsense approach to defending and was gutted when in early nineties he was starting to get regularly displaced by Gary Charles. It was 1993 that Laws left us on a free transfer to become a player-manager at Grimsby (famously assaulting their best player in ages with a plate of chicken).
Perhaps the best remembered for a couple of interplays with Liverpool striker John Aldridge. In the distressing aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster the Reds faced the Merseyside club in a rearranged game at Old Trafford, in this match Laws scored an own goal after which John Aldridge celebrated by ruffling the devastated Forest defenders hair whilst laughing. He later apologised for this, and so the world moves on.
However, it turns out that Aldridge couldn’t contain his inner twattishness – in the very same game before which he’d taken the time to apologise to Laws – a late penalty was awarded when Brian Laws brought down the striker. I imagine you can guess what he did – he repeated the distasteful act yet again. To Lawsy’s credit (or perhaps not) he didn’t smack the unsporting bastard round the chops (advice Stuart Pearce offers him in his autobiography!).
So there you go, loosely topical reminiscing inspired by our first game – a trip to Turf Moor to face Brian Laws’ Burnley side – a club he also represented as a player before his Forest days. I’ve never yet been wholly convinced by him as a manager – whilst I wish him well wherever he goes I’ve never quite been able to convince myself that I’d like to see him as Forest’s manager in the future. Maybe I want to remember the good times as a player.
I’ll end with an amusing video of which he’s latterly become almost as well-known for amongst younger generations of fans than his time as a player…
Filed under: Thoughts |