The Vital Forest Fan Interview: Woody
Q - How long have you been following Forest and do you remember your first game?
My first game was back in the 60's. I went with my brother and we traveled to Sheffield to see Forest play Wednesday. Alan Hill was making his debut in goal, played wonderfully well and we won the game 1-0. I don't know the year, if anyone can tell me Id be grateful. Although Id been taken to watch Notts play a couple of times, I fell in love with those in red and the die was cast forever. I had no idea of the joy and pain Forest would bring me.
Q - What are your most memorable moments as a Forest fan? Good and Bad.
That's an easy one for me having traveled to Madrid and Munich and I was in my very early 20's. Winning the European cup and the league title with annual trips to Wembley in the League Cup, 1 year unbeaten...just the most amazing days ever as a follower of Forest. Frank Clark's promotion team and the following year when we finished runners up in the league with players like Stanley, Bryan Roy, Bohinen, Colin Cooper and of course Psycho, brilliant brilliant memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Sadly too though the images of Brian Clough as we sank to defeat against Sheffield United 0-2 at home and relegation from the top flight confirmed. The great man had finally lost it and I will forever regret that he didn't depart from Forest under better circumstances. All our relegation's have been lows for me as they would for any follower of any club. The Doughty years will go down as one of the worst prolonged periods for Forest in my book. Despite Mr Doughty's best intent, we were an utter shambles.
Q - Since you have been following Forest, what would your best starting eleven be and who is your all time favourite player?
Anderson Lloyd Burns Pearce
Francis Bohinen Gemmill Robertson
Q - What is your best and worst moment of the 2012/13 season?
When Fawaz arrived, I believed it was the dawning of a new era and still do. His late takeover though caused as many problems as the takever itself solved. SOD's appointment was seemingly correct at the time and he did well to assemble a squad that was able to compete at the right end of the table although results and performances were inconsistant. My personal belief is that Fawaz was badly advised when relieving SOD of his duties and then bringing in McLeish. In the end, Fawaz cleared the decks completely which I believe is the best thing he could ever do and bought back the man who had nearly taken us up during his previous tenure under the most sifficult of circumstances with the behind the scenes goings on. Fawaz's takeover, the resultant clear out and Billy's return are in my opinion absolutely the highlights of last season. Low points will always be a defeat to Derby and the game v leicester on the final day of the season.
Q - In your opinion, how have the new owners performed since taking over the club last July?
I think Fawaz has now stabilized the club. Not just from a financial point of view but also with the staff behind the scenes which was vitally important to get the whole club pulling in the right direction. It was a very difficult first few months as he walked into a political nightmare. He has demonstrated that he is a very brave and committed man, willing to take the bull by the horns and sort out the pathetic mess that was Nottingham Forest Football Club plc. long may it continue. Fawaz has my 100% support and gratitude for once again giving us hope for the future.
Q - Best and worst away ground visited?
I'm afraid I haven't traveled this season therefore not qualified to comment.
Q - Who is your Nottingham Forest player of the season?
I was thinking Reidy with the run in looming but he went off the boil. Cohen's winning was a surprise to me but then when I thought more deeply about it, though I don't believe he has been spectacular, who has been more consistent.
Q- Which player(s) would you like to see Forest sign this summer (realistically)?
I can't name them but I can identify the positions we are desperate for, those being almost an entire defense. I would be happy with the same four strikers next season but on the condition we had the necessary wide men on each side of midfield to supply the bullets. Then we would most certainly see our strikers score. A fit Hutchinson would be a wonderful signing.
Q - All seater stadia. Good thing, or a bad thing?
Having been bought up on terraces but been through the disasters, I can appreciate the reluctance to return to any sort of standing in our football stadiums. I think however there is a strong case for limited standing now. For example, the City Ground might be able to convert the Bridgford Lower and the Trent End lower back to standing. Cheaper entrance fees for standing would bring the game back to the people somewhat, where it belongs and would also improve stadia atmospheres. Anyone who can remember the noise made in the old stadiums where standing in packed stands was the norm will know what I mean. Obviously we will never return to those days but a part return would be a great compromise.
Q - What are your thoughts on how the team performed last season and how did it compare with your expectations?
Very difficult to sum up when so much went on and expectations rose, fell and rose again with Billy's return. In the end I guess the run we went on once Billy was back with us gave us unrealistic hope therefore unfair disappointment in the club following that final game of the season v Leicester. In the cold light of day with emotions having calmed, it was a decent season. My problem now is keeping my expectations realistic for next season. The rebuilding task once loanees have gone home and with the skills shortages in defense and on the wings will mean that Billy has a massive task on his hands.
Q - What are your expectations for next season in the Championship/Where will we finish?
I've just unwittingly answered that in the previous comment.
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?
The restructuring of the club is largely over and was incredibly important to the clubs function and its future. I have total trust in Fawaz and Billy. I don't see spending on the scale of Leicester's but maybe a few decent signings funded by our owners along with some cute freebies and bargains.
Q - Name a former Forest player you were most disappointed to see sign for another club?
The list is endless dating right back to Ian Storey Moore going to Man United. I'm always disappointed when a good or brilliant player leaves us but its the way of the world for us I'm afraid. Money rules and being the size of club we are as good players emerge and get attention, the big boys will come along and wave the cheque book. I must add that the anger I felt with Kris Commons's departure to Derby as a supposed Forest fan will live long with me as will his celebrations when scoring against us. Classless and completely lacking any sort of respect.
Q - What's your opinion on Billy Davies and will he bring success to the club?
I love Billy. He was let down badly when he was with us previously yet still performed minor miracles. That is why Im very optimistic that with Fawaz's support, he will take us home.
Q - In your opinion, was it the right or wrong decision to sack Sean O'Driscoll?
He was the right appointment at the time but I'm not convinced he would have ultimately taken us where we wanted to go.
Q - New stadium, or renovate the City Ground?
I would love a new 40,000 stadium on the site of the Boots Island close to the centre of the City. If that cant be achieved then I will be happy to see a new main stand the same as the Clough Stand and the upper tier of the Bridgford Stand being completed around to join the new Main Stand. This would take us close to a 40,000 capacity and a stadium that has balance and equilibrium. At the moment, our ground is a patchwork quilt of stands from different eras.
Q - If you could put one question or make one request to Mr.Fawaz Al-Hasawi, what would it be?
Please back Billy.
Q - Where do you sit/stand at the City Ground?
Bridgford Upper, V1.
Q - Name the celebrity you would most like to meet.
Brian Clough RIP......my hero.
Many thanks to Woody 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.