Date:Wednesday July 5 2006
Earlier this week my first ever Forest hero, former keeper Jim Barron joined Northampton as a goalkeeping coach. It made me think of the many truly great players we have had at the club over the years. The words great and legend are banded around too freely nowadays, but we really have had some of the games genuine greats.
I have supported Forest for more years than most of the people on this site have been on the planet. I have been lucky enough to see the likes of Ian Storey-Moore and Peter Cormack play in the same side, both heroes of the Trent End. They were good enough to be poached from us by Man Utd and Liverpool respectively.
When Sir Brian Clough took over, the club was in a similar position as it finds itself now, though not quite as bad. He was able to transform a ramshackled bunch of reprobates into a football team. He turned an overweight good for nothing left winger into the finest winger in Europe. That man was John Robertson, who went on to represent Scotland in the World Cup Finals. He also set up the goal for Trevor Francis, to win our FIRST European trophy. The following year he scored in the European Cup Final to give us 'that great big cup' for a second time.
Forest fans are all too often accused of living in the past, but what an illustrious and glorious past it is. I don't believe in harping back to those 'good old days' the past is in the past, but we should never forget them . We are and should be proud. Other greats have come and gone, Garry Birtles and Tony Woodcock were two of the finest strikers i have seen play the game. Both went on to represent England. It's a pity one of them turned out to be a poor TV pundit and that the other turned out to be a German hippy. Peter Shilton was part of that great European Cup winning side, debatably the greatest goalkeeper in the world.
In more recent times we have seen the likes of Stan Collymore, Neill Webb, and Colin Cooper, all fantastic players, but were they great? Not in the same class in my opinion as the unbeatable Des Walker or the style and finesse of Metgod. All a matter of debate i suppose. I just think we get carried away with words like 'great and 'legend.'
One thing that no one can argue with, is that we have all been privileged enough to witness true greatness, twice, in the shape of Sir Brian and the greatest Forest and England left back of all time Stuart Pearce. These are the things legends are made of.
So, what does the future hold? Surely to God not more of this embarrassing excuse of a team? I don't think so. We are on the verge of a new dawn. CC has to be the savior, otherwise the club is heading for disaster. None of us really knows how CC's reign will turn out. We can assume and predict, but in all honesty we just hope and pray that this time we have the right man. All the initial signs are positive. If he is given the time and support to get the job done, then in a few years time we could be talking of Bennett and Tyson as City Ground legends.
The players at the club today carry a heavy burden of expectation. That should not be a burden, they should look on it as an honour to play for such a great club. Expectation is not a bad thing. It is hope. We all have plenty of that. I just wish the present players could look at the past and instead of looking at it as pressure, look on it as inspiration and try to emulate it.
Date:Wednesday July 5 2006
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