Football Fan's eye view Nottingham Forest: In the wake of omnipotent Brian

AS A seven-year old in the autumn of 1977, living in the comfortable Middlesex suburb of Hounslow, being told (due to paternal work commitments) that we were going to relocate and start a new life in a new city was the most traumatic piece of news I have ever heard. The tectonic plates had shifted and the ground had opened up before me. With whom would I swap my Star Wars cards? Would they still show The Six Million Dollar Man on the strange planet (called Nottingham) I was moving to?

Although I recognised the new culture as close to my own, there was a fundamental difference in the belief system of the new species. The ubiquitous red and white scarves to stave off the cold( it is colder up north). A seven-year-old "Kenny Burns" tackling an eight-year-old "Tony Woodcock" in the playground. And then there was that higher being they worshipped in this new land, who was always on the television, in the papers, everywhere. This deity was easily recognisable - he was omnipotent after all - and his name was Brian Clough.

I remained nominally, thanks to avuncular influences, an Aston Villa supporter in my first few months in Nottingham, but after returning to Hounslow for a weekend visit my conversion finally took place, and when it came, it overpowered me. I was sitting in London, watching the League Cup final of 1978 and suddenly I was watching my city beat Liverpool, thanks to the determination of a very young Chris Woods deputising for Peter Shilton. When we won the championship that season, my indoctrination was complete. Anyone for a nostalgic rendition of We've got the whole world in our hands?

Brian Clough was the greatest - no question. During his reign at Forest, except for the final year in charge (the relegation year, I tend to think of it now as a Dallas-esque dream sequence which should be erased from the history books in respect to the man), Liverpool and Forest were the only two teams to finish in the top half of the table every single year -- every single year! That's consistency for you. That's 15 years on a budget that wouldn't pay for Duncan Ferguson's left toenail.

He made bad players mediocre, mediocre players good, good players very good, and very good players world-beaters. The list of players who "failed" after leaving Forest is monumental, and most of them went to Manchester United (ha!) - Davenport, Birtles, Webb et al. Pundits talk of Roy Keane as the complete midfielder but anyone who saw him at the City Ground realises he isn't half the player now that he was when playing for us.

Every civilisation has to come to an end, but why did the destruction have to happen so suddenly at Forest? Forest, the jokey acronym (Fighting Off Relegation Every Saturday Teatime), Forest the yo-yo specialists. What's become of us? Ron Atkinson? Please! I suppose we'll have to wait another hundred (thousand) years for a similar civilisation to emerge in Nottingham. I suspect we might never see its like again and we will have to be content with worshipping a deity that has long since gone. I have my "Cloughie" prayer mat out already.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'