"Yeah, bleddy rammel wonnit!"
from the Forest 'Owden Days'
Rob Raynham . . . one of the Radford 'owd boggers'
updated 17th November 2000
Trent and City Ground on the Wednesday of the postponed Huddersfield
all my years living in Nottingham I have never seen the river
so high. Furthermore I have never known a match called off
for general reasons of public safety, rather than problems
with the pitch or inclemancy of weather. Indeed, despite the
river being so high the playing surface remained in perfect
condition and not a drop of floodwater despoiled the immaculate
field of battle.
Forest Football Club was formed in 1865. The previous year
there had been a triumphant visit to the UK by Giuseppe Garibaldi
which had captured the public imagination. Garibaldi was an
Italian general and had been a prime mover in the unification
of Italy in 1861 - before then it had been for centuries a
series of Nation States (Lombardy, Tuscany, Piedmont etc).
Unification brought King Emmanuel II to the throne of a united
Italy and Garibaldi achieved fame because of his role. Garibaldi
himself had the reputation of being a daring and imaginative
military tactician, winning many battles with swift movements
of his army from one location to another. His army wore scarlet
red shirts and unsurprisingly were referred to as Garibaldi's
redshirts. The young men who formed the Forest Football Club
wanted in some way to associate themselves with the daring,
tactical imagination and swiftness of Garibaldi and thus adopted
red as the club colour in honour of the man himself and his
brave redshirts. After the club's inaugural meeting the Treasurer,
Wm. Brown, was dispatched into the town with sufficient funds
to purchase a set of scarlet red silk caps, with tassels,
from Committee member Chas. Daft's drapery store. From then
on the players wore these caps at matches to represent and
identify the Forest club. Thus did the colour red become forever
associated with Nottingham Forest Football Club.
may be wondering whether the famous garibaldi biscuit has
anything to do with General Garibaldi. Well it has. Garibaldi
instructed his cook to devise a lightweight, high energy foodstuff
that his men could eat whilst on the march. He came up with
the garibaldi biscuit.
inaugural meeting that formed the club took place in a pub
called the Clinton Arms, on North Sherwood Street. If you
know Nottingham the pub was located at the north-west junction
of Sherwood Street and Burton Street on a site now occupied
by the Nottingham Trent University Newton Building.
1898 Cup Final triumph
Final of the FA Cup in 1898 was played at the Crystal Palace,
Sydenham, south London. Several thousand travelled down on
organised trains from Nottingham to watch Forest take on Derby
County. The prospects of a victory for the Reds did not look
good, as a couple of weeks earlier Derby had put five past
Dennis Allsopp in a League game. Forest, however, had rested
several first-teamers for that match whilst the Rams fielded
a full-strength side, including England regular Steve Bloomer.
However, Forest themselves were now at full strength for the
team: Allsopp, Ritchie, Scott, Forman, McPherson, Wragg, McInnes,
Richards, Benbow, Capes, Spouncer.
took the lead with a goal from Arthur Capes and, after Bloomer
himself had equalised, put the Reds ahead again with a tap-in
from short range. Forest held on under increasing Derby pressure,
and with a few minutes remaining Forest captain John McPherson
put the game beyond the Rams. The Cup was won and was presented
to McPherson by Lord Rosebery. Watching was Forest stalwart
and former England cap Sam Widdowson. It was his 50th
with the FA Cup. Back Row L-R H Hallam (Secretary),
Frank Forman, Archie Ritchie, Dan Allsopp, John McPherson,
William Wragg, Adam Scott, G Bee (Trainer). Front Row L-R
Tom McInnes, Chas Richards, Len Benbow, Arthur Capes,
Alf Spouncer. Why are the Forest lads wearing white shirts?
See below . . .
was a great, battling victory for the Reds, bringing the Cup
back to Nottingham for the second time in four years
Notts. County having won the trophy in 1894. Thousands greeted
the victorious Reds on their return to Nottingham, and, after
a horse-drawn parade through the city, a reception and celebratory
dinner was held in the club offices in Maypole Yard, off Clumber
photograph was taken during the match. It must have been captured
just after Forest had scored because seven Forest players
can be seen together near the half-way line, and the Derby
players are gathering themselves into the 2-3-5 formation
ready for the kick-off. Also the 'linesman' on this side of
the pitch is moving back to the half-way line. Forest appear
to be in an all dark strip - at that time Forest played in
'Garibaldi' red shirts and blue shorts. There were over 60,000
people at the game.
there was a prize for the scorer of the first goal and Arthur
Capes must have had a good laugh with his team mates when
he was presented with a Raleigh bicycle made in Nottingham!
If you know Nottingham, Capes bike was probably hand-made
in the Portland Works, Raleigh Street off Canning Circus
only a 10 minute walk from where the club was formed, 33 years
oddity was the official photograph of the Cup winners. It
was customary in those days to photograph the Cup Final teams
before the game both with and without the Cup. It was
a dull, overcast day apparently and the photographer deemed
Forests red shirts too dark to provide enough contrast
against the chosen background. He therefore suggested that
Forest wear Derbys white shirts for the picture, which
is presumably why they all look so glum!
help form 'The Arsenal'
Fred Beardsley - a fine
custodian for the Reds.
1885 two Forest regulars F W Beardsley and A J Bates found
themselves leaving Nottingham to find work in London. They
secured positions at the Woolwich Arsenal. This pair, being
used to footballing on the Saturday half-holiday and finding
no local team to play for, promptly formed a works side. The
area of the factory they worked in was called Dial Square,
and they adopted this as the name of the team. As the popularity
of football grew in London, so the fixture list for The Dial
grew. They later changed their name to Woolwich Arsenal, which
of course later became simply The Arsenal. Arsenal
played their first competitive match on Plumstead Common in
interesting sidenote to the story is that, having no kit for
the team, Beardsley and Bates wrote to their old mates at
Forest asking for help. Forest promptly sent down a ball and
an entire red and white team strip which is why Arsenal
play in red and white to this day! To their credit Arsenal
reciprocated the gesture in 1965, Forests centenary
year, by presenting the club with a silk team strip.
Widdowson is a legendary figure in the history of Nottingham
Forest. He was a great all-round athlete playing not only
football for Forest (and other clubs on occasion, including
Notts. County), but cricket for Nottinghamshire CCC. He was
also a great sprinter, swimmer and oarsman. Famously, he was
the first footballer to use cut-down cricket pads strapped
outside his socks as protection against hacking
the deliberate kicking of the shins. These primitive
protective devices have evolved into the high-tech shinguards
is also credited with the implementation of the first organised
player formation two full-backs, three half-backs and
five forwards. Hence the fast-disappearing team numbering,
naming and playing position system: 1 goalkeeper 2
right-back, 3 left-back, 4 right-half (back),
5 centre-half (or pivot, as it was known in the early
years), 6 left-half (back), 7 right-wing (forward,
or outside right), 8 inside right (or inside forward),
9 centre-forward, 10 inside-left, 11
left-wing (or outside left). This was the accepted formation
that was used everywhere for over 70 years until the advent
of more complex playing systems devised by the mighty Magyars
in the nineteen-fifties, the Italian 4-4-2 system and sweeper
formation, Ramseys wingless wonders of the
60's, and so on right up to today's wing-back formations.
served on the Forest Committee for years, represented the
club at the inaugural meeting of the Football League in 1888,
and was for a time one of the England selectors. Truly an
all-time great in the development of football in general,
and Nottingham Forest in particular, Samuel Weller Widdowson
was as famous and lauded a 'Red' in his day as Stuart Pearce
is today. Also, unlike 'Psycho', he was a local man, being
born in Hucknall. If you know Nottingham, Sam lived for a
time in Wellington Square, off Derby Road, Canning Circus,
and also in Villa Road, near the junction of Mansfield Road
and Forest Road, not far from the Forest recreation ground,
where the clubs early years were spent.
of course, are the original Reds. The club had
adopted red as the club colours, almost literally, on the
day of formation in 1865. Of the other well-known Reds
Liverpool Football Club were not formed until 1891, and Manchester
United, as Newton Heath, originally played in green and blue!
believe Forest are the only Football League club going back
to the earliest days of organised football who have played
in their original club colours throughout their entire history.
snub to 'Professionalism'
people wonder why Nottingham Forest, whom, alongside teams
such as Notts. County, Aston Villa, Stoke City, Blackburn
Rovers, Everton, Preston North End etc., was so instrumental
in the development of football in the 1860s, 70s
and 80s, were not one of the 12 founder members of the
Football League in 1888. The answer is that Forest was against
professionalism in the game.
professional game as we would recognise it was becoming established,
with players increasingly coming under contract to one club
and being paid for their services especially the good
working class footballers who could not afford
membership fees to join football clubs. Like many clubs of
the time Forest was organised more along the lines of an exclusive
gentlemens club being run by a voluntary committee.
Forest had, since formation, adopted the way of the gentleman
amateur. In fact the players and officials of the club
had to pay subscription fees of several shillings per month
for the honour of being a member, and only members of the
club could represent it as a player. Thus Nottingham Forest
was not a working mans football club. The subscriptions
collected were used for administering the club, arranging
fixtures and paying fees to play clubs, travelling to games,
entertaining the opposition, providing the playing equipment
of the club, maintaining the ground etc. not paying
players or officials. The 12 founder members of the Football
League were all professional clubs and the Forest
Committee refused to accept professionalism as a prerequisite
of membership. Instead Forest opted to join the Football Alliance,
a kind of competitor of the League, playing our
first fixture away to Walsall Town Swifts on September 7th
1889 - a 3-1 win!
'Sandy' Higgins -
scored Forest's first-ever League goals.
course Forest eventually capitulated and applied to join the
League in 1891. They were denied, but a year later, after
having won the Alliance Championship, was admitted. The League
was expanding to two divisions, but Forest was placed straight
into the First Division. Our very first match in the Football
League was against Everton at Goodison Park on September 3rd
1892. The game finished in a 2-2 draw, with Forest legend
Sandy Higgins scoring both Reds goals.
team that historic afternoon: Brown; Earp, Scott, Hamilton,
A Smith, McCracken, McCallum, W Smith, Higgins, Pike, McInnes.
Scott and Tom McInnes went on to feature in the Forest FA
Cup winning side of 1898. Sandy Higgins' son, also Alexander,
played for Forest briefly in the 1920's.
first League game at Old Trafford after the Munich air disaster
of February 1958 was the visit of Nottingham Forest on the
22nd. The attendance was 66,123! The match finished
1-1 with Stuart Imlach scoring the Forest goal.
team that day: Thompson, Whare, Thomas, Morley, McKinlay,
Burkitt, Gray, Quigley, Wilson, Joyce, Imlach.
is not widely known outside Manchester, but Liverpool and
Nottingham Forest were the only two clubs to offer first-team
players on loan to United to enable them to fulfil their fixtures.
This was a magnanimous gesture that is remembered by older
(and possibly wiser) Manchester United fans, and those who
have studied the history of that club.
and Fred Forman
Bobby and Jackie Charlton, forget the Neville brothers
hail Frank and Fred Forman, the first brothers to play for
England - and both plied their trade for Nottingham Forest.
Frank was in the winning 1898 Cup Final side against Derby.
only were they the first brothers to play for England (50-odd
years before the Charltons), they were the first who played
for the same club (90-odd years before the Nevilles), and
they were the first (and as far as I know only) to both score
in the same International match! They both got on the scoresheet
against Ireland at Roker Park, Sunderland on 18 February 1899.
It was Freds England debut and he marked it in style
with 2 goals from left-wing. Frank had taken his international
bow a year earlier, also against Ireland, but in Belfast,
and his effort at Roker Park was his only goal in 9 internationals.
Forman stayed loyal to Forest, serving on the Committee for
many years and being elected a life member. After his playing
days were over, he set up a building contractor business with
brother-in-law and fellow Forester Harry Linacre. He lived
much of his life in West Bridgford and survived to see Forest
lift the FA Cup again in 1959. Frank Forman passed on in December
1961, aged 86.
first overseas tour
June and July 1905 Forest undertook a football promotional
tour to Argentina and Uruguay. The sea journey took several
weeks each way, with the Forest lads keeping fit by running
around the deck of the ship! Eight games were played and all
were won handsomely Curee Orientales of Uruguay (6-1),
and then Argentinian sides Rosinarios (6-0 and 5-0), Belgrano
(7-0), Britanicos (13-1), Alumni (6-0), Argentinos (5-0) and
Ligo (9-1). Overall the goal tally was 57 for and 3 against!
The 'goals for' tally might well have been considerably higher
had Forest goal machine of the time Grenville Morris been
on the trip!
Alf Spouncer, who had a Cup winners' medal from 1898, was
there alongside some other Forest greats from that time
goalkeeper Harry Linacre, right-back Walter Dudley and left-half
Forest side that toured Argentina and Uruguay in the summer
Back Row L-R Bob Norris, Harry Linacre, H Hallam (Secretary),
Clifford, Chas Craig, William Shearman, H S Radford (Vice
President), Sam Timmins, Alf Spouncer, Fred Lessons. Front
Row L-R Walter Dudley, Thos Davies, Thos Niblo, George
Henderson, Albert Holmes.
boost in team confidence brought about by the tour was soon
eroded on the Reds return to League action. After a
3-1 home win against Wolves on the opening day we were soundly
beaten 3-1 at Preston North End in midweek, and 5-0 at Manchester
City the following Saturday!
Brown played inside-right for Luton Town against Forest in
the 1959 FA Cup Final at Wembley, and later became the 7th
Forest manager, serving the club between November 1973 and
January 1975. Billy Bingham was also in that Luton side. The
match was refereed by a certain Mr. J Clough of Bolton!
Tinsley Lindley OBE, LL.D, BA (Cantab)
Lindley was born in Nottingham on October 27th 1865. He played
for several clubs but made his name with Nottingham Forest
during various Cup exploits in the 1880s. Alongside Sam Widdowson
he was the epitome of the 'Corinthian gentleman amateur' of
his time. A tremendous all-round athlete, playing cricket
for Notts. CCC and Cambridge University, rugby for Notts.
RFC and football for Notts. County, Corinthians and Casuals
among others, Tinsley was an academic as well as a sportsman.
He refused to wear ordinary football boots when playing, preferring
walking brogues instead, declaring that boots marred his great
sprinting speed. Tinsley first appeared for England in 1886,
scored on his debut and in each of his next eight consecutive
International appearances - a record that stands to this day!
Dr. Tinsley Lindley
retirement from football Tinsley turned his full attention
to his law practice, after having been called to the bar in
1899 whilst still playing. He also lectured in law at Nottingham
University and served as a County Court judge. For many years
he practised from a suite of offices at 1 High Pavement, Weekday
Cross. Tinsley also stayed loyal to Forest, serving on the
Committee for several years. He was awarded the OBE in 1918
and died in Nottingham in 1940, aged 74.
football clubs in Victorian Nottingham
from Forest and County there were several other clubs playing
in the town in the early years of organised football, and
they must've appeared regularly on each others' fixture lists.
Among them were Nottingham Castle, Notts. Rangers, Nottingham
Mechanics and Nottingham Manufacturing Company. Notts. County's
original name was the Nottingham Lambs. Sadly, all folded
at one time or another leaving the two main clubs to establish
the Nottingham footballing tradition. Indeed, when the Castle
club folded in 1878, their players joined Forest en masse,
raising the Reds' playing strength considerably and making
Forest one of the most formidable footballing outfits in the
o'clock, Saturday afternoon . . .
. . that's when football matches kick off.
traditional Saturday afternoon kick-off goes back to the Victorian
period when it was common for the great mass of the urban
working population to toil in the factories, warehouses and
mills six days per week. The advent of the Saturday 'half-holiday'
meant that people knocked off at noon and so had time to go
home for a bite to eat and have the afternoon off. So . .
. what better time to kick off the game than 3 o'clock. Nip
home after work, have some snap, a couple of pints down the
local and off down the footie with yer work mates. A discussion
about how bad Forest were over a couple of ales afterwards
then back home - AND . . . still got Sunday off!
B L I S S !
alteration in Saturday working hours is probably the single
most important reason why football changed from being a middle-class
passtime into the mass spectator sport and working-class game
that it did.
be continued . . .
"Oooaah, assel seeyint Trent End, at Cluffyend.
Ope itzabit berrer nt lastun."
"Carntget muchwoss - mindjer . . . nowin Forris!
"Arr, neelehyuz baduz Notts!"
"Bleddyell! Assljumpoff Trent Bridge ifwegerras baduz
"Me anorl. Algerrah nipper te fishus aht dahn Stoke Bardolf!
"Arr, seeyer Satdeh."