Football: Devotion beyond the call of Forest
That was the week that was
Monday 01 December 1997
On Saturday, bachelor Stuart donned his red and white scarf to clock up his 1,000th consecutive Forest match, an achievement marked with a double presentation at half-time during Forest's 1-0 win at Ipswich.
He has seen every game, home and away, since an invitation to be an usher at a friend's wedding caused him to miss Preston's visit to the City Ground in September 1973. "I've only missed two since 1969, in fact," he said, "and both of those were for weddings. The 1,000 is just League matches. Counting all the cup and European games, I've probably watched 2,000 since I first went."
Stuart's father tried to indoctrinate him as a Derby fan, but when the Rams were away Stuart's mates would lure him to Nottingham and Forest eventually captured his heart. Ironically, his first match at the City Ground, on 10 November 1956, involved a Brian Clough hat-trick in a 4- 0 win for Middlesbrough.
The closest he has been to seeing his unbroken run end came, by coincidence, on another trip to Ipswich in the early Eighties, when the supporters' coach broke down at Cambridge.
"We were resigned to missing the game," Stuart recalled, "but when the driver went to phone the coach firm in Nottingham, the fellow in the phone box ahead of him just happened to be a fitter from a local bus depot. He fixed up a replacement vehicle for us and we scrambled into Portman Road at five to three."
Stuart, a former club member who became a shareholder with last spring's takeover, received a limited edition plate from Forest and a cut-glass decanter from the supporters' club. "I've been lucky to keep my health and, touch wood, I'll keep on for another 1,000 now."
Latest in Sport
VIDEO: Did Marcos Maidana bite Floyd Mayweather during their bout?
Manchester United vs QPR comment: Glimpse of Radamel Falcao lifts United hearts but Daley Blind keeps things ticking
Hull City vs West Ham preview: Sam Allardyce backs Alex Song to inspire new team-mates
Rio Ferdinand: David Moyes's tactics were embarrassing and I wanted to grab him when he dropped me in front of Manchester United squad
Manchester United vs QPR player ratings: Who was the star man? Angel Di Maria? Daley Blind? Wayne Rooney?
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke
£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...