There are so many Forest books out there – there’s been a real glut of autobiographies in particular at the moment, I’ve still got somewhat of a backlog of books to read through which I’ve struggled to find the time to do – so in many ways the last thing I wanted was a preview PDF a new Forest book by Alex Walker (of LTLF fame).
The premise of this tome is a collection of Forest-inspired lists celebrating what is good about Forest’s history (let’s not forget that Alex was part of the team that brought us the LTLF fanzine that rather optimistically attempted to put the fun back into supporting Forest!). Let’s face it, our history is a rich vein of amazing feats or strange innovations.
So I figured that I could skim-read a few of the entries to get enough of a view to pen a review of the book and go back later to look properly. I must admit, I did get a bit absorbed and have read nearly all of it – there’s a great balance of things-what-I-already-knew told in a witty manner combined with a few new things I’ve learned (and I think a couple of mistakes, which Alex was delighted to hear about from me!).
Some lists are straight-up fact based, most are more emotive as most football-related rankings will always be – some are downright controversial. I mean, a whole book of lists inspired about Forest and not even an entry, let alone an entire list, features Brian Rice! You’d think that 21 lists of Forest facts with a bit of blurb would be short – but there’s plenty in here.
Obviously some notable figures feature more than once in the lists – and it’s great to see figures from throughout Forest’s colourful history looming large throughout. Contrary to what folks who support other clubs would have us believe, life did not start nor end with the arrival and departure of a certain Mr Clough at the City Ground – although that particular figure of course features heavily throughout.
For just a tenner and a convenient release date just before Christmas it would make a great stocking filler for any Reds fan – you could read it cover to cover, or dip in to the lists that tickle your fancy at any point. It can be ordered from this website (where you can also find extracts), or you could buy directly from Alex in the Trent Navigation Inn after the Hull City game on 1st December where the book is being officially launched.
I’ll close with some of Alex’s own words – probably my favourite passage from the book (although there were a few contenders), from the list covering our top five wingers.. I will let you guess the subject of the paragraph, and indeed where he might have featured in his particular list…
If you were writing a fictional film about football and had as the lead character a man who liked a drink and a smoke, was over-weight, generally scruffy-looking and had recently suffered a cartilage injury, then you had this man revive his career in a Second Division promotion campaign, you’d have something that might go in the same gritty realist bracket as This Sporting Lift. With a bit of artistic licence, you could maybe stretch the realms of possibility to have this loveable rogue be the key creative force of a team that stormed the First Division and won it with games to spare. But even Hollywood execs would laugh you out of the door if, for the final act, you had your hero go on to set up the winning goal in one European Cup Final and score the winner in a second… even if you had Brian Clough among the supporting cast!
A highly enjoyable read that absorbed me much more than I had time for it to do, so now I find myself frantically finishing things off I was supposed to be doing whilst basically reading the whole book rather than skimming it as I had intended. Thanks a lot, Alex!