December 31 1999

Forest Heroes Honoured: Two ex-Forest players have been honoured in the Queen's new years honours list. Viv Anderson, currently Middlesbrough assistant manager and Ian Wright of Celtic have both been awarded the MBE for their services to association football. Long serving Wolves striker Steve Bull is also honoured.

Other good news for football is the rest of the 1966 world cup winning team have been recognized at last. The five 'forgotten' players, Nobby Stiles, Alan Ball, Roger Hunt, Ray Wilson and George Cohen have all received MBEs in the New Year's Honours. It is the first time these five members of England's most successful football team have been formally awarded official honours.

Their six team-mates - Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Geoff Hurst, Bobby Moore, Jack Charlton, Gordon Banks and Martin Peters - as well as team manager Sir Alf Ramsey had all previously been honoured for their efforts at Wembley on July 30 1966.

Crossley Free To Talk: In less than 24 hours Mark Crossley will be free to talk to any clubs who are interested in him. The keeper is available for a free transfer under the Bosman ruling when his contract expires in the summer. Crossley has maintained that he wants to stay at the club where he started as a schoolboy under Brian Clough, but has turned down Forest's initial offer which saw his salary reducing by 1000 a week each year of the three year contract.

December 30 1999

New Man Ready: Forest's new chief executive, Mark Arthur, is ready to step into the role full time in the next couple of days. Arthur has been working for the club as the chief executive designate for the past couple of months after leaving his previous job as chief executive of Notts County Cricket Club. He officially takes over the role on January 1 2000 when Philip Soar will step down to spend more time with his family.

December 29 1999

Stay Away: David Platt has told the players to stay away from the City Ground until Friday at least. This is in the hope of keeping the flu epidemic at bay. Several other squads, including Birmingham City's have been ravaged by the flu epidemic and the last thing Platt needs as Forest start to find some form is for half the squad to be laid up with the flu.

December 28 1999

Marlon Wins It: Marlon Harewood tucked away an 81st minute goal to give Forest all three points against a rapidly fading Birmingham City today. The match could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be called a classic. Birmingham's squad had been decimated by injury and flu and Forest also suffered with captain Riccy Scimeca out with the flu as well. The first half was average at best with Forest getting the better of play but failing to put away any of the chances they made. Birmingham looked very poor in front of goal and I don't think they would have scored if play had continued for ninety days, let alone ninety minutes.

The second half was much better and both managers must have 'had words' at half time as both sides came out and played much better football, again Birmingham were second best but it took till the 81st minute for Forest to make the break through when Andy Johnson lofted a ball through to Marlon, who beat the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with the keeper. Usually Marlon is prone to shooting straight at the keeper when he finds himself in this situation but this time he kept his cool and shot straight across the front of the keeper, burying the ball deep in the left corner of the goal.

December 27 1999

Blame The Ref: David Platt has pointed the finger at yesterday's referee, Mike Dean, and called for the introduction of video replays at matches. Platt said: "It doesn't matter how much you prepare for a game, you just can't legislate for these sort of decisions."

"I thought we were the side that was going to go on and win the game - until the penalty. Every week you seem to hear a manager complaining about referees, so it can't just be me. Things have boiled over with me now because I believe we have had quite a few bad decisions this season."

Plat the went on to renew his call for video replays to be introduced during the game: "I still believe there is room in the game to use more technology, they do it in cricket and rugby now. I don't think it will slow down the game at all, but these decisions are costing teams valuable points."

December 26 1999

Away Day Blues Again: Another away defeat sees Forest languishing in 20th position in the league. Forest lost to Blackburn this afternoon 2-1 despite being the better team for a lot of the game. Blackburn took the lead from Per Frandsen after some poor defending by Forest on 19 minutes.

Such has been the change in Forest's attitude recently though, that instead of crumbling as they would have done only a month ago, they stepped up a gear and took the game to Blackburn. After some intense pressure from Forest, they finally got the breakthrough they deserved on 31 minutes, when Brennan's cross was met by Harewood, who headed it down to the feet of Andy Johnson. Johnson appeared to miss-control the ball, however, he recovered and smashed the ball a full 22 yards past the stranded keeper.

Forest kept up the pressure for the rest of the half and were by far the better team. But as they took the field for the second half, with the sleet pouring down, the men in red started a little colder than Blackburn, who had all the opening play.

Things started to turn when Scimeca bought down Ashley Ward on 54 minutes. The Blackburn fans were baying for his blood, but the ref (Mike Dean) decided that the challenge only warranted a yellow card. From that point on the Blackburn faithful booed and jeered any Forest player who had the temerity to go anywhere near a Blackburn player. Ten minutes later Mike Dean's nerves had gone completely and he decided the only way to shut the crowd up was to give them the penalty they wanted so badly. So as Hjelde and Duff ran stride for stride into the Forest area Duff went down as if he had been shot. There had been arm work from both players and it was very much 50/50. Trouble is, even if it had be Hjelde who had gone down, Mike Dean would have given the penalty, so desperate was he to get back in with the home crowd, such are the spineless cretins that masquerade as refs these days.

Needless to say Lee Carsley sank the penalty to put Blackburn back in front. Then Dave Beasant got himself booked when he appeared to throw the ball at the referee after picking it out of the back of the net. Beasant claims he mis-threw the ball to Andy Johnson, but having watched it on TV it definitely looks like he threw it at the ref.

The referee was visibly calmer now, the home crowd were his mates again. Forest stepped up a gear and started to pressure Blackburn again. Both sides had chances to finish the game off but the score remained 2-1 to Rovers.

To any neutral watching this game they will have seen cracking game of football played by two teams who were definitely up for it. Neutrals will say the fairest result would have been a draw. Trouble is the man man who is supposed to be more neutral than any other, the ref, didn't want those nice people from Blackburn to be upset with him - twat!

Team News For This Afternoon: David Platt has dropped Nigel Quashie in favour of fit again Andy Johnson and Marlon Harewood will start up front with Stern John. Dougie Freedman has not been named in the squad so we can only assume that injury or illness has had a part to play here. 

December 24 1999

Fit Again: Gareth Williams and Moreno Mannini both gave David Platt an early Christmas present when they passed fitness tests and have been declared available for the holiday fixtures. They could both find themselves in Platt's plans over the holiday period.

Guinan Goes To Cambridge: Steve Guinan has finally bought the curtain down on a Forest career that despite lasting seven years has never really started. The striker joined the club in December 1992 and has made less that a dozen first team starts in that period.

The striker has joined Cambridge United after recent loan spells at Scunthorpe and Cambridge.

December 23 1999

Youth Cup Date Set: Forest's FA Youth Cup clash with Liverpool has been scheduled for Tuesday January 18th. The youngsters should be full of confidence when they entertain Liverpool at home, having already knocked out Manchester United in the last round.

Their reward, should they beat Liverpool, will be to face Arsenal or Watford.

December 21 1999

It's Off: Tonight's game against Oxford at the Manor Ground has been called off after a 3 O'clock pitch inspection this afternoon. The game will now be played on January 8 2000.

A Pitch Inspection Has Been Called: A pitch inspection has been called for 3 O'clock this afternoon, to determine whether or not tonight's third round replay against Oxford will go ahead. As of 11 o'clock this morning the chances of the game being played were rated no better than 50-50.

December 19 1999

Oxford Striker Returns: Kevin Francis, the 6' 7" striker for Oxford returned to action this weekend after a long layoff with an Achilles problem. The giant striker should give Oxford that little bit more of an edge in and around the box when Oxford take on Forest in the FA Cup third round replay at the Manor Ground on Tuesday.

December 18 1999

At Last!: Not for the want of trying, Forest have finally got the three points they deserved. Another fine performance saw Stern John score the only goal of the game against Crewe this afternoon at The City Ground.

December 15 1999

Good Performance Sees Forest Share Points: Forest put in a very good performance this evening at the City Ground against high-fliers Fulham but only managed to share the points as the game finished 0-0.

Forest were on the attack from the start and dominated the game throughout, and in a first this season they managed to play well in both halves. Fulham looked ordinary on the night, despite the fact that the point they got moved them into sixth place in the league.

For a lot of the game Fulham were struggling to get out of their own half, but when they did attack they did look dangerous. Forest had the majority of the chances which saw Dougie Freedman shoot wide, Stern John hit the post, then the crossbar, Scimeca just over the bar Prutton just wide (twice) and Quashie over the bar.

The only downside to tonight's game was Forest really did deserve to get the three points, luck just wasn't with them.

Chettle Signs For Barnsley: Despite earlier reports that David Platt had said Steve Chettle would not be signing for Barnsley before the end of his loan period, he has done so this evening. Chettle has put his signature on the bottom of an 18 month contract after impressing his old boss Dave Bassett since arriving on loan at Oakwell three weeks ago. It is understood that Chettle has joined Barnsley on a free transfer, though there has been no official word from the club on any transfer fee.

Forest Face Fulham: Tonight at the City Ground, KO 7:45pm. Forest will be looking for a win tonight to kick-start their busy Christmas campaign which sees them playing Crewe on Saturday, Oxford United next Tuesday (FA Cup 3rd round replay), then traveling away to Blackburn on Boxing day,  two days later facing Birmingham at home and then Charlton away on Jan 3.

Tonight's game sees more injury worries for Forest with Chris Doig still doubtful (flu) and Thierry Bonalair and Gareth Williams added to the injured list. Youngster, Kevin Dawson could make his first team debut tonight to help fill in some of the gaps left by injury and Andy Johnson is out through suspension, though he will be available for the Crewe game on Saturday.

December 14 1999

From Riches to Rags: Forest started this season in the unusual position of having a lot of money to spend. David Platt has now reportedly got through 14million of this money on transfer fees and salaries (Ian Wright alone cost 20,000 a week while he was here).

He has now been told by the board that the kitty is empty and he must sell before he can buy any new players. The news comes a a bit of a blow as Platt has he has already made it clear that he is desperate to bring in another quality striker after losing both Ian Wright and Mikkel Beck.

Platt said: "We will have to do some sort of trading to bring in new faces because of the difficulties of loaning players. Losing Beck was not good news for us, but we knew that after 28 days Derby could call him back. We will continue to look to strengthen the squad to give us more options."

No Permanent Deal For Chettle Yet: Speculation over the weekend implied that Steve Chettle was ready to sign for Barnsley permanently and expected to do so in the next week. Daid Platt has said that this is not the case and the loan deal will continue. 

Platt has already been bitten twice this year on loan deals with both Ian Wright and Mikkel Beck being recalled by their clubs. It looks like Platt wants to keep his options open on Chettle in the event of Forest's injury worries getting any worse.

Youth Team to Face Liverpool: The Forest youth team have received their reward for knocking out the Manchester United youth team in the FA Youth Cup, they face Liverpool's youth team at home in the next round.

Should they beat Liverpool,  they know their next opponents will be either Arsenal or Watford. So if they are going to win the FA Youth Cup they are going to have to do it the hard way.

The Liverpool game is expected to take place in the early new year.

December 13 1999

Barnes Has Confidence in Platt: Eric Barnes, the Forest chairman, has said today that he his confident in David Platt's abilities. Barnes was adding weight to the views expressed by Nigel Doughty on Friday night in a local radio interview. Nigel Doughty and Eric Barnes have spoken out after most tabloid newspapers reported last week that David Platt had until the Crewe game on Saturday to turn things around. 

Talk of Platt's demise appears to have been nothing more than speculation on behalf of the press with Eric Barnes saying: "We employed David as a man for the future and we stick by that. He continues to share the confidence and support of myself and the board and that is that. We signed him because he is a young man and a great prospect for the future. I am disappointed for him, none of us expected to be where we are in the league now."
"It took Brian Clough two and a half years to turn the club around so we have to give the manager a chance. Yes we want to be doing better but nothing has changed my view that we have got the right man."

December 12 1999

Forest Go To The Bridge: Forest must travel to Stamford Bridge in the next round of the FA Cup, if they can beat Oxford in the third round replay at the Manor ground that is. The fourth round will take place during the weekend of January 8 2000. The full draw for the fourth round is:

Grimsby V Bolton/ Cardiff
Aston Villa V Ipswich/ Southampton
Man City V Leeds/ Port Vale
Reading/ Plymouth V Preston North End
Walsall/ Gillingham V Bradford City
Fulham/ Luton V Wimbledon
Chelsea V Nottingham Forest/ Oxford Utd
Tranmere V Sunderland
Arsenal/ Blackpool V Hereford/ Leicester
Spurs/ Newcastle V Sheffield Utd/ Rushden & Diamonds
Wrexham V Cambridge Utd
Coventry V Burnley
Liverpool V West Brom/ Blackburn Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday V Wolves
Charlton V Q.P.R./ Torquay
Exeter City/ Everton V Birmingham City

 December 10 1999

Missed Chances Mean A Replay: Forest drew 1-1 with Oxford tonight in the third round of the FA Cup meaning a trip down to the Manor ground for the replay. 

The game was dominated by Forest for the most part, but a succession of missed chances saw them fail to kill off Oxford. Stern John, Chris Bart-Williams and Dougie Freedman all having good chances saved by the Oxford keeper, Paul Lundin. Despite their almost total control of the game it took until the 39th minute for Forest made the break through when a long ball from Scimeca bypassed the whole Oxford defence to land at the feet of Dougie Freedman who belted the ball home. Two minutes later Forest nearly grabbed a second when Prutton drove through the defence and unleashed a ferocious shot which beat everyone, only to smash into the post and come straight back out. How Oxford went in at the break only one down I will never know.

The second half saw Forest on the attack again but this time Oxford had started to play as well. Forest did get a second goal (just) as Stern John managed to knock the ball very very slowly into the net off the post, unfortunately the linesman had already flagged for offside. More pressure from Forest saw a high ball into the area received by Stern John who knocked it down to the feet of Dougie Freedman, and standing only seven yards out with an open goal Dougie managed to blast the ball wide.

Dave Beasant had very little to do during the game as Oxford were very rarely getting out of their own half, however, on 75 minutes, during a rare outing in the Forest half, Oxford substitute Paul Powell curled a great shot from just outside the box into the bottom corner of the net to get the equalizer. This had the effect of stunning Forest and bring Oxford to life and the lat fifteen minutes was played at a frantic pace with both sides having good chances to get the winning goal.

Platt Is Safe: Interviewed on a local radio station this evening, Nigel Doughty has rubbished the reports in the national tabloids that David Platt is on his way out of the club. He said that David Platt is on a two year contract and will be the Forest manager until the end of the season at least.

December 9 1999

Beck's A Gonna: Speculation as to whether or not Jim Smith would allow Mikkel Beck to play in Friday nights FA Cup game against Oxford has finally been put to rest tonight with the news that Beck has been recalled to Derby so he can play for them on Saturday. 

Beasant Given Two Months: Dave Beasant has been given two months to make the number one shirt his own after replacing Mark Crossley between the sticks. The 40 year old veteran keeper has been given until February to secure himself a new contract at The City Ground.

Beasant said: "The disappointing thing for me was that Mark Crossley was given the nod at the start of the season. I am never happy sitting on the bench but the problem at Forest is that we have two goalkeepers who would be first choices at most clubs. I enjoyed playing in the reserves helping out some of the younger players but there is nothing like playing in the first team. As long as I am fit and capable of playing at a high standard I will keep doing it."

Duke Opens Study Centre: The Duke of Edinburgh was visiting The City Ground today to officially open the club's new Study Support Centre - one of the first of it's kind in the country. The study centre is there to help local youngsters by offering the chance to be educated - after school - in a modern high tech environment using the latest computer technology.

The Duke unveiled a commemorative plaque and also met David Platt and several of the current squad along with members of The City Ground Staff.

December 8 1999

Beck Blocked: Derby County boss Jim Smith has vetoed David Platt's request to allow Mikkel Beck to play in the FA Cup. David Platt is planning to try and persuade Jim Smith to change his mind as Beck does not currently feature in the Ram's boss' plans for the future. Should he fail then Dougie Freedman will almost certainly be recalled to the starting line-up to partner Stern John on Friday night.

December 6 1999

Forest Fined: Forest have been fined 25,000 by the FA after pleading guilty to a charge of making unauthorised payments between 1984 and 1993. The charges were related to payments made to players and management outside of their contracts during this period.

The leniency shown in the size of the fine reflects Forest's plea that some of these charges date back 15 years and the club is now under new ownership. None of the people involved in the charges works for the club any more.

December 5 1999

Slump Continues: Forest's slump looks to continue for some time yet. They lost 1-0 to Ipswich today, though the performance was better than last week at Crystal Palace we still didn't appear to have any ideas. Stern John was trying very hard and was unlucky when he tried to lob the Ipswich keeper. He also had another blistering shot smack into the post. Other than that though Forest looked a little lost out there. Yet again there were several changes to the team, with Mark Crossley dropped, Alan Rogers injured and Andy Johnson suspended. I look forward to the first game David Platt fields an unchanged side - you never know, it might happen.

December 4 1999

Chetts Does Good: Steve Chettle set about convincing Dave Bassett that a permanent move would be best for both parties by scoring a great goal after only two minutes and then turning in a brilliant performance at the back to help the Tykes to a 1-1 draw against Charlton.

December 3 1999

Petrachi Out For Two weeks: Further injury worries were piled on Forest's troubled midfield today as Gianluca Petrachi has been sidelined for at least two more weeks after undergoing surgery for a hernia problem. The surgery was only minor and the Italian midfielder could be back in training as early as the end of next week.

December 2 1999

Tank Breaks Down: Alan Rogers could be out until the new year. The left sided wingback broke down in training with a suspected torn tendon in his ankle. Platt has definitely ruled him out of the Ipswich game on Sunday, and if scans confirm Forest's fears it could be the new year before he is back in the squad.

Cup Glory For Youth Team: Nottingham Forest's ever impressive youth team have, this evening, knocked Manchester United's youth team out of the FA youth cup.

The game, played at Bury's Gigg Lane ground looked as if it might not go ahead after torrential rain. However, the Forest team coped admirably with the conditions. Forest ran out 2-1 winners, with goals from Andrew Reid and Jermaine Jenas, United's reply came five minutes from the end with a goal from Danny Webber.

Palmer Completes Move: Carlton Palmer has completed his move to Coventry City today. The deal follows his loan period with the club and has been completed for an estimated 500,000. Palmer and Platt seemed to fall out during pre-season training when Palmer refused to be a substitute for the Bradford City game. Platt made little use of the midfielder during his early days at The City Ground and shipped him off to Coventry on loan in September. Coventry have been impressed with Palmers attitude and application, and since his arrival have only lost one game in their last eight.

Forest Have A Court Date: Forest now know that they will be in court in Belgium on March 2 2000. The club are taking action over the alleged match rigging antics of ex-Anderlecht president Constant Vanden, who, it is alleged, paid referee Guruceta Muro 18,000 before the second leg of the 1984 UEFA Cup semi final. Forest went into the match with a 2-0 lead after the first leg game at The City Ground, but lost the away leg 3-0.

There were several controversial incidents in the game, but the most talked about is Paul Hart's match winning goal in the last minutes of the game being disallowed. Replays have failed to find anything wrong with the goal at all.

Forest are seeking 3million in compensation, made up of 1.5m loss of earnings for the club and 1.5m in win bonuses and other financial rewards for the players.

Anderlecht have been given until January 25 2000 to submit  their defence to the court.

December 1 1999

Prutton Signs On: David Prutton, Forest's young midfield star has just signed a new four year contract. The youngster only made his first team debut this season and in two-and-a-half months has impressed most who have seen him play. Prutton has also made an impact in the England under-18 setup.

David Platt has made it clear that the youngster that he is an important part of Platt's plans for the future. Platt said:  "There is no doubt in my mind that he's a quality Premier League Standard player. He's been excellent all season and he has, and can, play in almost any position."

 


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