The Vital Forest Fan Interview: Gareth Roberts
Q - How long have you been following Forest and do you remember your first game?
I have been following Forest since I was young, I'm 22 now and loved Forest since I was around 8, went to my first game at the age of 11, Forest 3 - 2 Palace in the last season of the old Division One before it became the Championship.
Q - What are your most memorable moments as a Forest fan? Good and Bad.
My best memory has to be the 5-2 demolishing of Derby, or maybe winning promotion to The Championship on the last day of the season, I remember Bennett's scything tackle and shot like it was yesterday. My worst, Yeovil showing us up at our place to get to the play off final.
Q - Since you have been following Forest, what would your best starting eleven be and who is your all time favourite player?
My best 11. I'll include players from 2003 onwards so it won't be a legends team by any means. Also, not necessarily the best players for each position, but players that are there because they give there all!
GK - Lee Camp (in his first permanent season, i'm hoping Darlow continues to grow, he looks good already)
RB - Matthieu Louis-Jean
CB - Des Walker
CB - Michael Dawson
LB - Julian Bennett (not the best, but for his pure passion and determination)
RM - Nicky Southall
CM - Chris Cohen (The Terminator)
CM - Henri Lansbury (He's shown what he's all about briefly this season, a fully fit Lansbury with a pre season behind him could be menacing!)
LM - Andy Reid
ST - David Johnson
ST - Robert Earnshaw
My all time favourite player so far, I have a soft spot for Guedioura, possibly to do with his interaction with the fans.
Q - What is your best and worst moment of the 2012/13 season?
The best moment has to be the demolishing of Leeds on boxing day, despite what followed.
Q - In your opinion, how have the new owners performed since taking over the club last July?
As expected. I saw turmoil as soon as they appointed SO'D, it was obvious he wasn't owners choice. The shocking appointment of Alex McLeish was similar to that of Doughty appointing Schteve McLaren, but he seems to have learned and things look rosier.
Q - Best and worst away ground visited?
Best away ground, The Boleyn Ground. Worst, possibly Glanford Park. That place should take Scunthorpe's training ground's name. (The Shed)
Q - Who is your Nottingham Forest player of the season?
It was close for me. Reid seemed to consistently perform well no matter who was at the helm, provided creativity, has shown he still has an eye for a pass, but Chris Cohen deservedly won for me. He ran non-stop from kick off against Derby to full time against Leicester. To come into a side top heavy with centre midfielders after a year out and force his way straight back in is no mean feat. I remember him running 50 or so yards back into his own half to then make a fantastic sliding tackle on his man on the final day, not long before the end of the game. He then stood up and you could see him literally blowing out of his arse!
Q- Which player(s) would you like to see Forest sign this summer (realistically)?
We need a left back, a centre back, a right back, a left and right winger, and a striker. Realistic? Aaron Cresswell, Alex Baptiste, Jara/Hutchinson, Albert Adomah, Bakary Sako. Anthony Knockheart looks a class act. Don't ask me about a striker. I like Rhodes, Deeney, but both clubs have money and I can't see them letting go.
Q - All seater stadia. Good thing, or a bad thing?
Bad - The atmosphere suffers as a result.
Q - What are your thoughts on how the team performed last season and how did it compare with your expectations?
I said beginning of the season that a top 10 finish would be a positive. To just miss out of the play-offs, particularly after the McLeish farce was nothing short of a miracle.
Q - What are your expectations for next season in the Championship/Where will we finish?
I am hoping for a summer of building on what we have. Strengthen the back four, add a couple of wingers and a goal scorer and there is no reason why top 2 wouldn't be out of reach. I expect play offs minimum. Where will we finish? 3rd.
Q- Much has been said about the wealth of our new owners. Do you think they will spend their way to promotion, or adopt a more frugal approach in trying to achieve it?
FFP restricts them, and I think that Fawaz has been very cunning with his money already, spending money made from the sale of Chris Gunter etc. He no doubt has money, and can see him buying a couple of top end championship players, but I don't think he will spend ridiculous money, it doesn't pay off.
Q - Name a former Forest player you were most disappointed to see sign for another club?
Kris Commons - Andy Reid is the closest we've come to replacing him. To sign for Derby like that. It hurt to see Wes Morgan go, but he was too inconsistent for me, the time was right for him to move and that sale helped the club massively. It's just a shame to see him have the season of his life for Leicester!
Q - What's your opinion on Billy Davies and will he bring success to the club?
He's the best manager since, well Billy Davies! I wasn't calling his name out every time a manager lost his job at Forest, but after the sacking of McLeish there was nobody else and I gave in and joined the Bring Back Billy Brigade. His talking in the third person and let's do a post match press conference before a match are a little odd, and I'm pretty sure he and Natalie Jackson are, well you decide, but he does the talking on a Saturday/Tuesday. Give him time, we need stability, even if things don't go our way. To have one manager at the helm for a minimum of three years will benefit the club massively.
Q - In your opinion, was it the right or wrong decision to sack Sean O'Driscoll?
At the time, it was obvious O'Driscoll wasn't the owners' choice. That said, I was pleased with the appointment. What he had to say about football was always incredibly interesting, he just always said it in an incredibly dull manner. Would we have got to the play offs? I'm going to say no. His chopping and changing and worrying too much about the opponents would have made sure of that. I see him more as a coach than a manager. Appointing him only delayed the inevitable in that McLeish would be appointed. It was right to sack him, and whilst he weren't a terrible choice to begin with, he was the wrong choice.
Q - New stadium, or renovate the City Ground?
Renovate the City Ground. To see Forest move to your generic fish bowl stadium would break my heart, and ruin match days. The romance of the walk down the side of the Trent cannot be replaced. Rebuild the Main Stand, I'd rather us do that than build a 50,000 seater for us to only half fill every week.
Q - If you could put one question or make one request to Mr.Fawaz Al-Hasawi, what would it be?
Increase season-ticket holder benefits. Meet the fans, discounts on drinks, merchandise etc. With all the special offers going on lately it seems my season ticket is becoming less and less value for money.
Q - Where do you sit/stand at the City Ground?
I stand up in the John Pye Corner, about four rows from the back, just where it joins The Brian Clough Stand.
Q - Name the celebrity you would most like to meet.
Not one for celebrities. I imagine most of them would be a let down. I would love to sit and have a game of FIFA with someone like Pep or Cohen though. I didn't get to see the Clough/Taylor glory days, I met Clough once and was humbled. I imagine meeting Peter Taylor would show the brains behind the man that was Brian Clough.
Thanks to Gareth for taking the time out to answer the questions. If you would like to take part, you can find a copy of the questions Here. Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org.