April 29 2000

Goalden Oldie: Dave Beasant broke a 76 year record for Forest today when he became the oldest player ever to play a first team game for the Reds. 'Bes' made his debut for Wimbledon over 20 years ago and when he took the field this afternoon he was 41 years and 40 days old. This beat the record set by another Forest keeper, Sam Hardy, who played his last game for the club 76 years ago at the age of 41 years and 39 days.

Talk of his age doesn't bother 'Bes' though and he said: "People seem to keep taking my age into account but I think it is irrelevant. I just gauge things on how well I am performing."

Vale Sink: Port Vale were relegated last week which meant their visit to the City Ground today left them with nothing to play for except a bit of pride. Unlike other teams finding themselves in this position though Vale couldn't be bothered and they were sunk by two first half goals from Stern John and David Prutton.

Stern John broke the deadlock on 11 minutes when he received a through ball from Andy Johnson which split the Vale defence in two. John composed himself and drove the ball low across the Vale keeper, Kevin Pilkington, and into the bottom corner of the net. Forest then extended their lead on 34 minutes when Marlon Harewood raced down the right wing and drove in a cross to David Prutton who took one touch and smashed the ball into the net.

Brian Horton must have had a few angry words for his team at half-time as they decided to come out and play in the second half. However, they never really looked in any danger of scoring, though they started to defend a little better and the game ended 2-0 to Forest, extending their current unbeaten run to six games.

Despite the win for Forest, overall this was a typical end of season game between two teams with nothing left to play for.

April 27 2000

Brennan's Disappointment: Jim Brennan returned from international duty with Canada yesterday only to find that he will now miss the last two games of the season after aggravating a hernia problem. Brennan has been suffering with the hernia for sometime but had been hoping to finish the season before the operation became necessary in the summer.

Brennan had been on duty with Canada's U23 squad in a bid to qualify for the Sydney Olympics, however, after losing to Honduras and only managing a goalless draw with USA the Canadians look to be out of the competition.

April 26 2000

County Cup Date: The date for last seasons County Cup Final will now be May 1, Bank Holiday Monday. Forest will be defending the cup against Notts County at The City Ground, Kick-off is at 15:00. Admission will be 7 and 4 concessions and supporters are advised they will be able to pay on the turnstiles.

April 25 2000

Matrecano Makes Comeback: Central defender Salvatore Matrecano has made a successful return from injury, playing 45 minutes in this evenings reserve game with Spurs.

It was the Italian's first outing since October when he suffered serious knee ligament damage against Port Vale. Forest officials decided before the game that Matrecano would play for just half the game and the former Perugia man came off at half time, despite wanting to continue. He is now likely to step up his comeback in next Thursday's reserve clash with West Ham and could, if he comes through that test okay, figure in Forest's final league game of the season at Stockport on Sunday week.

The game itself finished a 1-1 draw after a controversial offside decision robbed Forest's reserves of all three points.

Niall McNamara thought he had put Forest 2-1 up when he fired home in the second half but the goal was disallowed for offside, much to the dismay of reserve coach Jimmy Gilligan. McNamara, one of a number of Academy players who featured in the starting line-up, had given Forest a first half lead but Spurs hit back early in the second half.

As well as Salvatore Matrecano, the game also marked a return to action for teenage defender Kevin Dawson. The youngster had been sidelined for almost two months with a torn hamstring but he came through a 45-minute runout unscathed.

April 24 2000

Another Draw, Another Point: Jack Lester scored his second goal since arriving at Forest and helped them to secure another point in this 1-1 draw. With both Port Vale and Swindon getting relegated today there are now six points to play for and Forest are seven points clear of the drop zone. At last - safe!

Fulham were the favourites for this one, but Forest have been improving steadily over the last month and today's draw some them extend their current unbeaten run to five games, their best spell of the season so far.

Forest took the lead on twenty minutes as Riccy Scimeca put the ball through to Andy Johnson, who's one-touch pass put Lester through on goal. Lester's finishing was perfect and Forest took a deserved lead.

Fulham, against the run of play, equalised on 30 minutes. Mind you, it was the old problem for Forest as they left Chris Coleman unmarked in the area for a corner. The ball came to Coleman and he just picked his spot, still the amount of space and time Forest gave Coleman he could have gone off for a fag and come back on and still scored.

Fulham just about shaded the second half, with both teams missing chances. The only talking point was when Karl Heinz Riedle was carried off after an accidental collision with Chris Bart-Williams. Riedle was immediately rushed to hospital with suspected broken ribs.

April 22 2000

Missed Penalty Costs Forest: A missed penalty cost Forest all three points in today's game against Sheffield United, that and a Stern John strike that was ruled out for offside though the referee has admitted that that was a mistake.

The first few minutes of the game saw a fairly slow and even game with the best chances falling Forest's way. However, the heaven's suddenly opened up and some of the heaviest rain I have ever seen fell on the City Ground for about twenty minutes.

The weather quickly turned the pitch into a swamp and turned the game into something of a farce. Forest, who have had a tendency to boot the ball upfield for most of the season decided to play neat passing football for a change, unfortunately even the shortest of passes were stopping short of the mark due to the sheer volume of water on the pitch. The players found themselves unable to run with the ball as it just stopped dead and players missed it completely or fell over it. For a few minutes this was comical and the crowd were enjoying a bit of a laugh. But as the rain continued and neither side made any progress against the elements everyone's patience started to run out.

The weather then played another part in the game as the United goalkeeper, Tracey, dove to snatch the ball from Jack Lester's feet. Lester was too quick for him and moved the ball out of the way. Unfortunately for Tracey, who was already skidding across the wet pitch, he couldn't stop in time and went through Jack Lester's legs taking him over in the process. The referee awarded a penalty, but Tracey was incensed. He went on to re-enact a dive into the swimming pool that now laughingly masqueraded as his goalmouth. This, as television replays have shown, was a bit harsh on Lester. The referee, to give him credit, showed a lot of common sense and allowing for the weather only booked Tracey where many other refs would have sent him off.

Bart-Williams stepped up to take the penalty but failed to lift the ball completely out of the waterlogged penalty spot allowing Tracey to save the kick.

The rains continued and we all started to speculate at what point the ref was going to abandon the game. However, with six or seven minutes of the first half left the rains stopped just as suddenly as they started. The first half finished without further incident and the groundsmen did a superb job of clearing off the excess water form the pitch.

For the first 35 minutes the second half was a none event. Neither side sure how the pitch would behave as the water cleared and the ball, and players started to skid about more and more. Then the last 10 minutes of the game burst into life as Forest tried to get the winner.

Forest thought they had done just that when Stern John turned and buried the ball in the back of the net. Unfortunately the goal was ruled offside (against Lester). However, after the match the referee admitted to Platt that this was the wrong decision (how helpful of him).

A minute later Sheffield United had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for a foul, though admittedly this time the referee had blown long before the ball was struck into the net.

The game ended 0-0, Forest got another valuable point and though they remain in 17 place they should be fairly safe now, though more points picked up against Fulham on Monday and Port Vale next Saturday won't harm their cause.

April 21 2000

Bonalair Quits: French star Thierry Bonalair has left Forest. Bonalair's contract was due to expire in the summer, however, the utility player has found himself on the fringes since the new year, asked to leave the club ahead of schedule.

David Platt explained: "Thierry wasn't featuring in the team. He was playing reserve team football and you could sense he wanted to get back to France. "He's planning to retire and wants to run a restaurant that he bought some time ago.

"Thierry has also had a lot of illness in his family, so it become advisable for all concerned that we terminated his contract now. He leaves with our very best wishes."

Bonalair made more than 70 appearances since joining Forest from Swiss side Neuchatel Xamax in the summer of 1997. He has not featured in the first team since the goalless home draw against West Brom in January.

Platt added: "Thierry has kept himself magnificently fit and when we've had to call upon him, we've done so with the utmost confidence in him. He could play in a variety of positions and really helped us out.

"He's the sort of player that every manager needs in his squad because he could operate in virtually any position along the back four or in midfield. You need those sort of players."

Vaughan Fit: Tony Vaughan will return to the Forest squad for tomorrow's City Ground clash with Sheffield United and his timing could not be better.

Forest will be without Colin Calderwood for the rest of the season after he suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured led in last Saturday's win over Birmingham. However, Calderwood would have missed this game due to suspension had he not been injured.

April 20 2000

Jesper Goes Home: Jesper Mattsson is returning to his former club, Halmstad, in the summer, in a bid to get his career back on track.

The central defender suffered a knee ligament injury during Forest's pre-season tour of Finland and has been out of action ever since. He recently resumed light training and is planning to spend the entire summer training with his former club in a bid to get fit.

Jesper said: "I'm hoping to work hard on my fitness with Halmstad throughout the summer with a view to being able to resume my career at Forest next season.

"This season has been little short of a disaster for me. It's been frustrating and there was a time not so long ago when I wondered just what the future held for me.

"But hopefully that's all behind me now. I'm back in light training and all being well, I should get the all-clear to step up my work-load within the next few weeks."

Forest Watch Sami: Forest reserve coach Jimmy Gilligan has flown to Saudi Arabia to watch Sami Al-Jaber play for Al Halil in the semi-final of the Asian Cup.

The 27 year old is highly regarded in in Arabic football, scoring 33 goals in 93 appearances for his Country. He came over for a weeks trial at the City Ground at the end of March but Forest were unable to get clearance from the Saudi Football Federation to play him in a reserve game. As a consequence Sami headed back to Saudi Arabia with a promise from Forest that they would fly out and watch him at a later date.

Sami said: "The club is sending someone to see me because I couldn't play for the reserves when I was there on trial."

David Platt commented: "Sami did well in training during the week he spent with us and it was a shame that we didn't get the chance to actually run the rule over him in a match situation."

"We told him we would send someone to watch him play and we're happy to keep that promise."

Calderwood Leaves Hospital: Colin Calderwood has left hospital today. He has been in the Priory Hospital, Birmingham, since he broke his left leg and dislocated his ankle in Saturday's game against Birmingham. TV replays show that Calderwood clashed heads as he jumped to head the ball. He was knocked unconscious by the clash and as he dropped to the ground his right leg collapsed under him, leaving the left leg to take the full force of the uncontrolled landing.

Calderwood underwent Surgery on Saturday night to repair the damage to his ankle and ligaments, and to have a stabilising pin put into the broken Fibula.

April 19 2000

Doig Drafted: 19 year old Chris Doig has been drafted into the Scotland Under-21 squad for next week's friendly against France. Doig has been selected by Scotland youth coach Alex Smith despite a season hampered by hamstring problems.

Reserves Beaten In 9 Goal Thriller: The reserves were beaten 6-3 yesterday in an exciting clash Charlton Athletic in the FA Premier Reserve League.

The game had been switched to Charlton's training ground at the last minute after the original pitch was declared waterlogged.

Forest were 2-0 down after only five minutes before striking back with goals from Gareth Edds, David Freeman and Andy Gray to take the lead 3-2 after only 25 minutes. But by half-time Charlton had retaken the lead and went into the break 4-3 up.

Charlton's second-string added two more in the second-half to finish 6-3 winners.

April 17 2000

Calderwood Update: Colin Calderweood's injury is not as bad as was first feared. The Scot was carried off in the second half of Saturday's game against Birmingham with a suspected double fracture of the left leg.

However, although he has fractured the Fibula and dislocated his ankle Doctors believe he is much better off than he could have been had it turned out to be a double fracture as first suspected.

Calderwood is now looking to be back for the start of next season, some six months earlier than he would have been had his injury been as serious as first feared. The dislocated ankle also caused severe trauma to his ligaments, however, because the leg will be in plaster anyway this injury is expected to 'take care of itself'.

David Platt was initially very worried about the injury, however, after talking to the doctors he is much more optimistic about it. Platt said: "The initial diagnosis was terrible but we've got reason to be much more optimistic having seen the x-rays."

"Colin underwent his operation on Saturday evening and hopefully if all goes according to plan he should be back in time for the start of next season. Our thoughts are with him."

April 15 2000

Bad Break For Calderwood: Colin Calderweood broke his left ankle after falling awkwardly in the 55th minute as Forest fought their way to a hard earned three points. Forest came out 1-0 winners after Darren Purse headed into his own goal from an Alan Rogers free kick. It was not one of the most exciting games, but Forest had more chances than Birmingham and looked likely to get something from the game.

Dave Beasant became a late hero in the game after making a brilliant save, very similar to Gordon Banks' save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup. A dangerous corner was swung in and Hyde's head connected with the ball perfectly. Beasant dived and palmed the ball up onto the crossbar.

The three points mean that Forest are almost assured of safety this season, though a few more points in the bag wouldn't do them any harm.

April 14 2000

Petrachi To Go: David Platt has given Gianluca Petrachi the green light to end his misery and return to Italy this summer.

Petrachi joined Forest from Perugia last summer as part of the 2.4 million deal that also saw Salvatore Matrecano arrive at The City Ground. He has not figured in the first first team since January. The midfielder is now thought to be keen to return to his native Italy having failed to settle in this country.

Platt said: "Gianluca has had problems with injuries since he joined us and it's no secret that he has struggled to settle in England. He is available for transfer."

The Search Is On: Forest have launched a search for the two linesmen from the infamous UEFA Cup clash with Anderlecht in 1984.

Forest lost the second leg of the semi-final 3-0 in Brussels in controversial circumstances after it later emerged that the Spanish referee, Gureceta Muro, had received a 'payment' of some 18,000. He has since died, but lawyers representing Forest are now trying to find the two linesmen - Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira and Filipe Crespo - to see if their evidence can help their case.

Peter Ellis, Forest's Nottingham-based lawyer, said : "The case is still in preparation but we will endeavour to find the two linesmen. We have tried without much luck before but we may find more useful information by getting hold of them. It's still not clear where these two officials are now but hopefully we can find that out soon."

April 13 2000

Freeman Called Up: David Freeman has been named in the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad for the first time ahead of their friendly with Greece. The 20 year old Dubliner has been included in the Eire squad with the call-up coming less than 36 hours after he scored twice in the reserves against West Ham to earn Forest's first win in seven matches.

Meanwhile, youngsters Keith Foy, John Thompson and Andy Reid have all been named in the Northern Ireland under-18 squad ahead of their UEFA Under-18 Championship qualifying play-off second leg against France.

Francis Said No To Forest: Trevor Francis has revealed how he turned down the chance to succeed Brian Clough as Forest boss when Clough's 18 year reign ended.

Francis, who is now in charge at Birmingham and will lead his side into action against Forest at St.Andrews on Saturday, claims he was approached by a Forest official towards the end of the 1992/93 season. Clough ended his 18 year reign in charge at Forest at the end of that season and Francis was apparently at the top of the Reds' wanted list.

Francis, who was in charge of Sheffield Wednesday at the time, claims: "The Forest job was mine if I wanted it - but it was the right job at the wrong time. I had just taken Wednesday to two Wembley finals and been allowed to strengthen the team and I just could not leave there at the time." Francis' time in charge at Wednesday eventually turned sour. He was sacked after the Owls finished 13th in his fourth season in charge of the club.

April 11 2000

Former Stars Seek Compensation: Former Forest stars Garry Birtles and Hans Van Breukelen continue their Belgian court battle with Anderlecht next week.

The pair are hoping to further their claim for 3 million in compensation for Forest. The club, and the 16-man squad which featured in the 1984 UEFA Cup semi-final, are seeking compensation as a result of match-fixing allegations.

Birtles and Van Breukelen intend to turn up the heat on the Belgian FA, who would not welcome the Anderlecht case becoming the focus of public attention in the build-up to Euro 2000. Former Forest and England striker Birtles said: "Our case highlights the fact that there is no specific law with regard to bribing a referee in Belgium, and that must be of concern to anyone who cares about the game of football because it could happen in the European Championship Finals."

"The Belgian authorities would no doubt prefer that this case didn't come to court until after the European Championships, but we want to keep the pressure on because we feel so strongly about the way the club and the players were cheated out of playing in a UEFA Cup final."

Forest deputy chairman Phil Soar and solicitor Peter Ellis will accompany Birtles to Belgium, where they will discuss matters relating to the case with Belgian legal representatives.

Clough Speaks Out: Forest legend Brian Clough has taken a swipe at current manager David Platt - just weeks after giving him his backing.

Clough now believes that Platt should not have been handed the top job at the City Ground - until he had served a managerial apprenticeship in the lower leagues. Clough, who guided Forest to a host of honours, including two European Cups, during his 18-year spell in charge of the Reds, said: "Despite the fact he worked in Europe, he only lasted six weeks. It takes longer to learn management.

"He was thrown in at the deep end at Forest and started signing Italians. He's got a team of foreigners and he's near the bottom of the First Division."

April 10 2000

Quashie On Transfer List: It has just been reported on the local news that Nigel Quashie has been put on the transfer list after a bust-up with manager David Platt. There were no other details in the report and we will let you know as soon as further information is available.

April 9 2000

Terry - No Chance: John Terry came on as a substitute late in the game on Saturday and managed to impress everyone in the game. However, David Platt has admitted to the press that there is no chance Chelsea will allow him to move to the City Ground permanently.

Platt commented after the game: "There's no chance of Chelsea selling John - no chance whatever, Gianluca Vialli knows he has got a good player on his hands and won't let him go at any price."

April 8 2000

Party Poopers: Forest managed to spoil the party for the travelling army of Charlton fans today. The final score was 1-1 and had Charlton won they would have been promoted as Barnsley could only manage a draw.

Charlton, to be honest, didn't look too bad, but they certainly did not look a whole league in front of Forest. The first half was not particularly good and there were very few chances for either side. In fact it looked very much like half time was going to be 0-0 when, with only four minutes of the half left a long punt from Charlton saw them catch the Forest defence fast asleep. Andy Hunt latched onto the ball and drove it under the onrushing Beasant. When will they learn?

The second half saw Forest in a more determined mood, however, they didn't look in any danger of actually scoring. On 75 minutes Calderwood was sent off for his second bookable offence and it looked like it would be backs-to-the-wall time for Forest. But instead Forest stepped up another gear and 'went for it'.

On 81 minutes Rogers and Brennan worked well together and Brennan went on a surging run into the Charlton area only to be wrestled to the ground. The Ref had no doubts and pointed straight to the spot. The Charlton players somehow had the nerve to protest angrily (they need to watch the replay on telly, they were in no doubt that it was a penalty). The player who bought Brennan down was booked (sorry, didn't get his name), but technically should have been red carded as he was the last defender. Bart-Williams stepped up for the spot kick and smashed it home. The Charlton fans were silent.

Forest kept on attacking, but in fairness Charlton had woken up and were also looking for the winner. It wasn't to be and they'll have to wait for next week to celebrate promotion. Not a classic match but an exciting last fifteen minutes.

Chaos At The Game: Forest fans are being warned to brace themselves for chaotic scenes ahead of today's home game with Charlton as road-works are likely to cause big problems for the travelling fans.

With an expected 6,000 strong travelling army from The Valley the problem centres on one of the main approach roads to the ground, Radcliffe Road, which is closed to inbound traffic. Diversions are in operation, but it will be worth heading down to the ground extra early to make sure you arrive in time.

April 6 2000

Sami Flies Home: Saudi Arabian star Sami Al-Jaber flew back to the Middle East today after the Saudi football authorities failed to give clearance for him to play for Forest in last night's reserve game.

Forest have said they are determined to monitor his progress. During his time with Forest the striker impressed in training but failed to play a competitive game.

The reserve game against Crystal Palace last night saw Forest draw 1-1, with Dougie Freedman getting the goal for Forest.

April 4 2000

Rogers Wants To Stay: Alan Rogers has told the Nottingham Evening Post today that he wants to stay at Forest. Rogers has been the subject of transfer speculation in recent months, with big money moves to Liverpool and Fulham being touted around by the press.

After scoring his tenth and eleventh goals of the season against Crewe on Saturday to make himself the club's joint top scorer with Dougie Freedman, the former Tranmere man is now hoping to extend his contract with Forest in the summer.

Rogers has been a force to be reckoned with this season after moving from the left-back/Wing-back position into a more traditional midfield role and his current goal tally emphasises this point.

Rogers said: "I am more that happy at The City Ground, and despite having two years still on my contract I would like to negotiate an extended deal in the summer.

"I've just been taking more chances, and playing in midfield I feel that I can get into the game a bit more.

"I have always been a good finisher and now that I'm playing in my favoured position I can get in the scoring situations.

"The manager has always said that there's not much between us and the top teams. There's no reason we cannot challenge next season."

April 3 2000

County Cup Clash Cancelled: Tonight's County Cup Final between Forest and Notts County has been cancelled after it fell victim to the weather.

April 1 2000

Much Better: Forest managed to turn in a much better performance this week and reaped the rewards as well. The final score was Crewe 0 - 3 Forest.

David Prutton got on the score sheet for his first ever senior goal on 25 minutes to give Forest a 1-0 lead. Forest dominated the first half and deserved to go in at half time with the lead.

The second half was only a few minutes old when Alan Rogers got Forest's second goal after Marlon Harewood made a brilliant run down the right, beating three defenders before crossing the ball for Rogers to ram home.

Rogers got his second and Forest's third on 79 minutes after playing a neat one-two with Jack Lester before unleashing a fierce left foot drive to kill the game off.

The Crewe fans started to drift off home after the third goal as they realised they were in serious relegation trouble. Forest's own relegation fears were eased a little by today's performance, but a few more games like today's will be required before Forest can consider themselves safe.

 

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