February 29 2000

Melton's A Potter: Steve Melton, a product of Forest's youth system, has joined Stoke City on a free transfer.

Melton made three appearances at first team level earlier in the season but did not appear to figure in Platt's long-term plans.

His contract was due to expire at the end of the season and the manager had indicated that he would not be offering Melton a new deal.

Akinbiyi Apologises: Wolves striker Ade Akinbiyi has apologised for his actions that saw him sent off in Forest's game at Molineux last weekend.

Akinbiyi said: "I want to apologise. I set all the kids at the game a poor example and am glad my son was not there."

He also went on to say that has no-one to blame but himself and that his actions were not sparked by any remarks made to him.

February 28 2000

Jim's A Winner: Jim Brennan had a much better weekend than the rest of his colleagues. He was in action for Canada as his side beat Columbia in the final to lift the Gold Cup.

Brennan has missed out on first team action for Forest for almost a month now, but against all odds his team went all the way to the final beating the likes of Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Columbia, of course, to triumph in the final by two goals to nil.

Finn Returns Home: Finnish goalkeeper, Pasi Laaksonen has returned to Finland after completing a weeks trial at Forest.

The 27-year-old goalie spent last week at the club trying to secure a deal for the end of the season, as a replacement for veteran Forest 'keeper, Mark Crossley who looks certain to be leaving in the summer.

Laaksonen made an appearance in the reserves, where they lost 3-2 to Southampton. At this moment in time nobody knows whether the 'keeper has done enough to secure himself a deal or whether a further loan spell is required.

Platt Is Appealing: David Platt is appealing over the sending off of Tony Vaughan. Vaughan was sent off in the fifth minute of the game at Molineux on Saturday along with Akinbiyi, who had headbutted him. Nobody could see why Vaughan was dismissed so everybody reached the conclusion that Vaughan was dismissed under rule 937b sub section 22, bleeding in an aggressive manner.

Platt spoke to the referee at half-time and was told that Vaughan was dismissed at the say-so of the linesman who claims Vaughan punched Akinbiyi in the face. Platt accepted the referee's version and let the matter rest. However, since Saturday, Platt has watched the incident several times on video and can see nothing Vaughan did in the incident that warranted a yellow card, let alone a red.

On the strength of this video evidence Platt is asking the referee to review his decision and appealing to the FA to strike the red card from the record.

If the red card does stand, apart from being an injustice, it will mean that Vaughan will miss the remainder of his loan period at Forest.

February 26 2000

Three Off, Three Goals and Controversy: A disastrous game all round, two players sent off for Forest, one for Wolves. Wolves win 3-0 when it should have been 2-0, cheating bastards! and David Platt had to be removed from the Wolves technical area by the Police.

The game went downhill from the 5th minute, when Wolves were awarded a free-kick just outside the Forest area. During the preparations for the kick Akinbiyi and Vaughan were involved in a scuffle which saw Akinbiyi headbutt Vaughan and floor him. Both players were shown the red card by Ref. Steven Lodge. Vaughan walked, bleeding, but Akinbiyi took some removing from the field. I'm not entirely sure what Vaughan did to get sent off, he obviously wound Akinbiyi up in some way, and as Vaughan didn't seem to protest too much I have to assume for the moment that he did do something.

Once all was calm again Wolves took the free-kick and Ludovic Pollet dived in to head home.

Fifteen minutes later, the game was starting to get very niggly when Wolves got the second, which, in fairness was a very good move between Muscat and Bazeley, which resulted in Bazeley ghosting into the area and blasting past Dave Beasant.

Forest tried to calm things down and get a foot back into the game, however, only five minutes later Louis-Jean bought down Naylor on the edge of the Forest area as he won the ball (fairly). Louis-jean passed the ball back to Beasant, who, seeing that Naylor was in trouble, cleared the ball to the sideline for a throw-in so that Naylor could receive treatment. Michael Branch was having none of it, and intercepted Beasant's sporting gesture before it could go out. With Beasant well out of his goal, Branch raced into the area and scored. To say all hell broke loose at this point would be something of an understatement as all the Forest team, lead by Beasant, descended on Michael Branch to vent their feelings.

David Platt descended on the Wolve's dugout to remonstrate with Colin Lee, where, according to Platt in an after match interview, Lee told him that Wolve's would allow Forest to score to 'even things up'. However, for what ever reason, the Wolve's players weren't having any of it and they didn't allow Forest to 'even things up'. Consequently Platt became more incensed and went back to the Wolve's dugout to have more words with Lee and things got very heated, eventually the Police had to escort the irate Platt back to his own dugout.

Forest then seemed to have it in for Branch, and Wolves, in a bid to keep the youngster alive more than anything else, subbed the player before any real harm could come to him.

If you were thinking that things were settling down just before half time, you were wrong, there was still one more incident to come. Neil emblem had carved his way through the Forest defence and was bearing down on Dave Beasant when David Prutton lunged in with a late tackle. Inevitably it was a yellow card, unfortunately for Prutton, it was a second and he went off to join Vaughan in the dressing room.

The second half, by comparison was a very dull affair, Wolves didn't seem too keen to take advantage of their extra man, and Forest seemed to have lost the will to fight after the first half.

February 25 2000

Brennan To Miss Wolves: Jim Brennan has helped his Canadian team win a place in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. This means he will remain in the States this weekend to take his place in his National side. The Canadians only qualified from the group stages of the game on the toss of a coin, but after beating Trinidad and Tobago 1-0 last night they now find themselves facing Colombia in the final.

Whatever the result of the final, Brennan will be back in Nottingham for next Saturday's game against Swindon Town.

February 24 2000

Forest Announce Loss: Forest are facing up to the realities of relegation from the Premiership today after announcing a 3.7 million half yearly loss

The loss is for the six months ended on November 30th, 1999 and reflects the fact that the board of directors are committed to regaining and retaining Premier League status, according to the club.

Forest Chairman, Eric Barnes, said: "The board is mindful that we have a new management team in place and remains optimistic about the club's future potential. We have been delighted to see several players promoted from our Academy into the first-team squad in the last six months. Development work at our Academy site started in February 2000 and the board remains firmly committed to this vision for the future."

Turnover is down by 46% compared to the 98/99 season, this reflects the effects of relegation to a lower league, but has not been helped by poor performances on the pitch.

February 23 2000

Christian Soldiers On: Christian Edwards, told by Platt at the start of the season that he could leave as he did not feature in his current plans, has gone to Oxford United on a months loan, in a bid to kick-start his career.

Platt Explains Wright Deal: David Platt has denied earlier reports claiming that the Forest board vetoed attempts to get Ian Wright back to the club.
Platt explained: "We became aware that Ian could leave Celtic and although I have still got money to go out and get players, that money has been earmarked to strengthen us as a squad for this season and next.
"Ian would only have been a short-term signing and all things considered it was felt it would be unwise to spend some of that money on bringing Ian here for just the remainder of the season.
"We have to use that money wisely with a view to strengthening for next season as well."

Vaughan Wants To Stay: On-loan defender, Tony Vaughan, has said today that he would love to join Forest on a permanent basis and kick-start his career.
Vaughan said: "It would be great to be part of a revival here. David Platt didn't have to sell the move to me at all - why would he with a club of this size?
"I have already enjoyed training with the lads and I hope I can get my career back on line with Forest."

Bartman Not Suspended: It has emerged today that Chris Bart-Williams is available to play at Molineux this Saturday after all. Earlier reports suggested that the influential midfielder was suspended after picking up five yellow cards this season. However, it has now been revealed that Bart-Williams has only picked up four bookings.

This is good news for Forest, as, since recovering from his injury problems earlier in the season, he has been very influential in Forest's return to some sort of form, which resulted in Forest winning two games in a row for the first time this season when they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at the City Ground last Saturday.

February 22 2000

Pasi Debut's On Losing Side: Pasi Laaksonen made his debut for Forest reserves earlier this evening. Sadly for him though he was on the losing side as Forest went down 3-2 to Southampton.

Pasi Debut Tonight: Finnish trialist, Pasi Laaksonen, will make his debut in goal for Forest tonight at The dell, when the reserves take on Southampton reserves. The kick-off is at 7:00 pm.

February 21 2000

Player Of The Month, Then Suspended: It's been a funny weekend for Chris Bart-Williams. On Saturday he was voted Forest Player of the month for January by the club sponsors, Pinnacle Insurance, then he finds out he will not play any part in this coming Saturday's game against Wolves as he has received an automatic suspension for reaching five yellow cards.

A New Joker In The Pack: Finnish goalkeeper, Pasi Laaksonen, is arriving at the City Ground today. The FC Jokerit 'keeper is here on trial and provided there are no delays in his arrival, he should be featuring in Forest's reserve team for tomorrow night.

The 'keeper is being lined up as the replacement for Big Norm, who now looks to be on his way out of the club. If the trial goes well and Laaksonen impresses then he could become a permanent member of the Forest squad very soon, in a £300,000 deal.

February 19 2000

Two In A Row: For the first time this season Forest have recorded back to back wins in the league. Last week they won away from home, beating Walsall 2-0 and this week they have won at home, beating Crystal Palace 2-0.

Both goals came form set pieces. The first goal came on 10 minutes from an Alan Rogers free kick. Vaughan rose to challenge the keeper who promptly went down like the proverbial sack of spuds and the Palace defence completely ignored the ball preferring instead to wait for the referee to blow for a free kick. The ref didn't and the ball sailed into the net.

The second goal came on 51 minutes, again from a set piece. Rogers took a free kick from outside the area, crossing the ball deep across the face of goal, Quashie rose at the far post and headed it home.

The final score was 2-0 and spirits at the City Ground were visibly lifted.

February 18 2000

Scimeca Out: As reported earlier this week, Riccardo Scimeca is definitely out for Saturday's game against Crystal Palace. The skipper was originally feared to have a Hernia and be facing an operation. However, tests have ruled this out and it now appears he has nerve damage. Scimeca has resumed light training and is trying to put himself in the frame for next weeks game against Wolves.

February 17 2000

Norm's Gazza Fears: Paul Gascoine was due to make an appearance in Mark Crossley's All Star XI for the Forest 'keepers testimonial game on May 2nd. However, after breaking his arm by slamming it into George Boateng's face, Norm must face the possibility that Gazza won't be putting in the appearance after all.

Current estimates are that Gazza will be out for a minimum of six weeks. This takes him up to the beginning of April, which leaves only three or four weeks for Gazza to get himself fit again, assuming there are no complications with his injury.

Woan's Woes: Ian Woan's luck is currently going from bad to worse at The City Ground. Told earlier this season that he has no part to play in David Platt's plans for Forest and, therefore, he would not get a new contract in the summer. He now finds himself in the probable position of having played his last game for the club at any level after being carried off in last nights reserve game against Charlton with an ankle injury.

The full extent of the injury is not known yet and the club are awaiting the results of tests.

Woan was carried off in the latter part of the second half and Forest had to continue the game with only 10 men as they had already used their three substitutes by this point. Charlton went on to win the game 1-0, with the goal coming 12 minutes before the end.

February 16 2000

Scimeca - No Op Needed: Forest received good news today after nearly two weeks of waiting. Riccardo Scimeca does not have a Hernia and will not, therefore, require an operation.

The captain picked up a groin injury in the 3-1 defeat by Man City, and as a result had to sit out the 2-0 win over Walsall at the weekend.

It was feared that he would have to undergo a hernia operation. Tests have revealed that he has a nerve problem and he will miss this weeks home game against Crystal Palace. However, he is planning to return to light training in the next day or so and put himself in contention for the Wolves trip next week.

Macpherson Dies: Former Nottingham Forest chairman, Geoffrey Macpherson, has sadly died at the age of 84, after a short illness. The club are now mourning the loss of a highly respected and prominent figure who was involved with the club for almost 60 years, spending 24 years on the City Ground board.

Macpherson became chairman at the height of the club's success under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor in January 1980, his spell ended in October 1983. His tenure as chairman featured the second of Forest's successful European Cup campaigns in Madrid.

In July 1937 Mr Mcpherson was elected to the Forest committee and continued to serve as a director until February 1997 when he stepped down prior to the Bridgford Consortium taking control of the club.

Mr Macpherson was an Honorary Life Member of Nottingham Forest Football Club, and is a sad loss to everyone at The City Ground.

February 14 2000

Wright Signs For Burnley: Ex-Forest striker Ian Wright has left Celtic on a free transfer after being told by Celtic they could not promise him more games.

The decision by Wright to join Second Division Burnley for the rest of the season has generated an angry reaction from disappointed Forest Fans, They are asking why Forest were unable to land the 36 year old striker on a free after having him on two months loan at the start of the season.

The biggest stumbling block at the time appeared to be Wright's wages of £20,000 a week. However, it has been revealed that he is taking a large wage cut in order to join Burnley so the question remains, where did it go wrong between Wright and Platt?

February 12 2000

Pressure Eased: Forest picked up three very vital points today against relegation rivals Walsall. The game was a real relegation six-pointer, with Forest only one point outside the bottom three, but in 18th position thanks to a better goal difference. Anything other than a win here would have been close to a disaster and rumours circulating earlier in the week were predicting the departure of David Platt should we not win this game.

Forest started the game the brightest, and over the 90 minutes were the better team. Alan Rogers gave Forest the lead from a free kick though there seemed to be some debate at the time as to whether or not Jon Olav Hjelde made contact with the ball before it went in.

In the second half Walsall started to get back into the game, but unlike earlier weeks Forest's defence looked up to the job and it looked as if Forest were going away with a nice little 1-0 win under their belts, however, Dougie Freedman, a substitute for Marlon Harewood, danced his way through the Walsall defence and hammered home a second for Forest during injury time making the final score 0-2 to Forest.

With other results at the bottom of the division going Forest's way they now find themselves four points clear of the relegation zone, as we say, the pressure was eased, but is by no means off. It's going to be a tough few weeks before the end of the season, but if Forest can keep up these improving performances they should find themselves safe, and so should Platt.

February 11 2000

Work Starts On Academy: Building contractors have started work on the Wilford Lane training ground to create a state of the art academy facility.

The 400,000 project is intended to be a match for any similar facility anywhere and will include the construction of three new high quality pitches.

John Pelling, the Financial director and Youth Academy director explained: "There are two important areas in the development of a youth academy; the coaching staff and the facilities.

"Therefore we are now endeavouring to create the high standard of facilities that will compliment the excellent coaching staff we already have in place under the directorship of Paul Hart.

" We have to comply to certain standards to qualify as one of the 38 Academy teams but this facility will be considerably higher and we are sure that it will be the envy of many clubs in the Premiership."

February 10 2000

Forest Look To Caribbean: Forest are hoping to attract more top Caribbean players following a fact finding mission to Trinidad by chief executive Mark Arthur.

As part of the deal to sign striker Stern John, Forest have agreed to build up links with Trinidad and Tobago. The Forest chief executive is on the island on a four-day mission to promote the club and forge links between Caribbean teams and the City Ground.

Arthur's trip has also been sanctioned by the Football Association as part of the bid for England to host the 2006 World Cup.

Forest spokesman Nick Lucy said: "Mark Arthur has already met representatives of one of the island's top clubs as well as members of the Caribbean Football Union.

"This trip will also be used as a way of trying to increase merchandising opportunities on the island.

"Stern John is a very big name in Trinidad so people are keen to know how he's doing."

Arthur has also been discussing preliminary arrangements for a pre-season tour to parts of the Caribbean.

February 9 2000

Vaughan Keen to Play: After failing to break into the Manchester City side this season, and turning down a permanent move to Cardiff, Tony Vaughan now finds himself with the job of plugging Forest's leaky defence.

David Platt has confirmed that vaughan will play against Walsall, and he is ready to make the move permanent if the central defender impresses him during his one month loan spell.

Vaughan said: "I'm delighted to be joining such a big club as Forest. No one had to sell the idea of coming here to me once I knew that David Platt was interested.

"I've trained with the players here and you can tell there is a lot of ability in the squad. It could be that there is a loss of confidence with one or two things going against them but I feel sure that Forest are more than capable of climbing the table."

Platt Backs Quashie: David Platt has leapt to the defence of Nigel Quashie, who has failed to show the form he displayed in his early career at QPR.

In the early parts of this season Quashie found himself as a first choice midfielder due to Andy Johnson's Achilles problem. However, his form has been erratic at best. Once Johnson was fit again Quashie found himself relegated to the bench as Johnson stepped back into his regular place. Since then though, further injury problems for Johnson have meant that Quashie got back into the team and his performances have been much improved, and included his first goal of the season against his old club QPR a fortnight ago.

Platt is now backing Quashie to retain his place in the side and shut the boo boys up. He said: "He has found it hard to settle here, especially when he got glandular fever, and suspensions and injuries have not helped him this season.

"However, he is performing and I don't think has anything to prove to anybody.

"But to get his place back he's trained brilliantly and there's no doubt he's been looking very sharp. It's great to have him back."

February 8 2000

Robbed: Forest's youth team were robbed earlier this evening. Despite being the better team on the night they lost the game 1-0 to Arsenal's youth team. The only goal of the game was scored by Nottingham born Jermaine Pennant in the 53rd minute. The goal itself was blatantly offside, but despite protests from the players, staff and crowd the goal was allowed to stand.

Vaughan Completes Move: Manchester City defender Tony Vaughan has this evening completed his loan move to forest and is expected to start in Saturday's game at Walsall.

Youth Cup Replay: Forest's youth team are in action again this evening. They face the Arsenal Youth team in the FA Youth Cup 5th round replay at The City Ground. KO 7:00pm.

The youth team have already knocked out Manchester United in the 3rd round and Liverpool in the 4th round and got a creditable 0-0 draw at Highbury last week. The winners of this game will go on to play the winners of Leeds v Wimbledon in the 6th round.

If you haven't seen the youth team in action yet we thoroughly recommend it, and entrance to the game is only £3 for adults and £1 concessions.

February 7 2000

Vaughan In City Ground Switch: Manchester City defender Tony Vaughan is set to Join Forest tomorrow on a month's loan, with a view to a permanent switch.

David Platt has made the move for Vaughan after Saturday's game against Manchester City at The City Ground, in which Chris Doig was taken off with a hamstring injury and Riccy Scimeca was taken off with a groin strain. Both Players are 'very unlikely' to take part in this Saturday's relegation battle against Walsall.

Vaughan, signed by City for £1.3m from Ipswich, has failed to command a permanent role in the City team and has had spells on loan at Cardiff and Norwich this season. He is due at The City Ground tomorrow to complete the formalities and is expected to take part in Saturday's game against Walsall.

If the loan deal does become permanent it will cost Forest a fee in the region of £450,000.

February 5 2000

Another Blue Day: Forest were taught a lesson in how to fight your way back into a game today. The opening five minutes of the game saw City in control, just! Forest were certainly giving as good as they got in the opening exchanges. Then Chris Bart-Williams superb shot on seven minutes gave Forest that all important lead.

Forest now took control of the game and started to look as if they were all gelling as a team. Jack Lester, making his debut, had an impressive first half, looking very fast and sharp.

City got an Equalizer on 32 minutes when Doig appeared to back off from Taylor, Taylor took the chance and fired past Beasant.

The second goal came only three minutes later as Shaun Goater latched on to a simple ball which, for whatever reason, Scimeca appeared to ignore. Goater doesn't need to be given chances like that on a plate and he quickly lobbed the ball over Dave Beasant.

During the break Scimeca was replaced by Kevin Dawson. When the second half started, Forest looked determined not to let this one slip away from them and they started with energy and passion. This was rewarded with several attempts on goal but sadly nothing else.

City started to get back in control of the game, and in fairness it looked like the second half was going to be stalemate as both sides had chances. However, Shaun Goater had other plans, which revolved around Forest's lack of understanding of the basic principles of marking the opposition players from corners and free kicks. After Rogers gave away a (pointless) free-kick on the right touch line Kennedy drove the free-kick into the Forest area, Beasant came for the ball but a completely unmarked Shaun Goater beat him to it to make the final score 1-3 to City.

February 4 2000

Ron Blames Board : Ron Atkinson has spoken out against the Forest board, blaming them, not David Platt, for the club's current predicament.

Big Ron, who retired from football at the end of his stint with Forest, insists that the board should have built on his early success as the manager when he took control in January last year, he commented: "If we had signed a couple of players we might not have stayed up but it would have been a sign that everyone in the camp was prepared to make an effort. The players saw Carlton Palmer come in against Everton and we won 1-0. The euphoria after that match was unbelievable. We needed a second lift in that week but it never happened, then we lost to Manchester United!"

Ron says he wanted to sign Dean Windass from Oxford but the club's board would not release the funds, even though he had sold Craig Armstrong to Huddersfield for 750,000.

February 2 2000

Booth Charged: Forest Assistant manager, Dennis Booth has been charged with misconduct by the FA following the incident at Blundell Park last month which saw Booth ejected from the ground by the Police.

Booth was ejected by the Police for allegedly using foul and abusive language during the 4-3 defeat by Grimsby. The incident was sparked off by the sending's off of Jon Olav Hjelde and Dave Beasant.

Booth now faces either a touchline ban or a fine and has been given two weeks to appeal.

The Premiership Can Wait: Says young midfielder David Prutton. Prutton, who only made his first team debut for Forest this season against Bristol City in the Worthington Cup, has vowed to put Nottingham Forest before his Premiership ambitions - so he can learn his football lessons.

The 18 year old has recently been linked with interest from clubs such as Newcastle and Tottenham (George Graham was seen watching him intently during Forest's FA Cup match at Oxford). Prutton believes that staying at Forest will allow him to develop as a player before any move to the Premiership.

Prutton said: "You can play for 16 years and still have things to learn. I have only just broken into the side so there is a lot more I can do to progress further.

"I can do that better at Forest. Here I can learn from former players like David Platt and Paul Hart, who has been a great help to me."

Prutton also aims to score more goals. As yet he has failed to score for the first team. He remarked: "I have been getting a lot of stick from the other players for not scoring. But I do think if I can get one then the floodgates may open.

Recently people have been commenting that the player is overdoing things by playing for both the first team and the youth team. However, manager Dave Platt said: "I asked him if he wanted to play in the youth cup games and if he felt he was able to do so because of all the games he is involved in.

"He said 'yes' on both counts, that's the sort of bloke he is."

Youth Team Draw At Arsenal: The Forest youth team came away from Highbury with a respectable 0-0 draw in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup last night.

The youth team are progressing well in the competition considering they have had to beat Manchester United in the third round and Liverpool in the fourth round.

The date of the replay will be announced shortly.

February 1 2000

Platt Backs Forest To Survive: David Platt has backed Forest to survive in Division One this season. Then again, he is the manager so he's got to say that hasn't he.

In an article in today's Nottingham Evening Post Platt discusses the points total needed to survive in the league. Since the Premiership started the highest points total on which a team has been relegated from Division One is 52 points (Millwall 95/96). This means the estimated minimum points for survival is 53 points.

Platt believes that Forest are easily capable of amassing the 23 points needed from their remaining 17 games.

Platt said: " It is in our own hands to ensure we remain in the First Division. I think the boys have now realised that they have the ability to get out of the position we find ourselves in - and I certainly know they have the quality.

"We have improved a lot in recent weeks and we were pleased with the performance at QPR on Saturday.

"But you are never as safe as houses in any league, because you still have to go out and get results. But we are good enough to get out of this."

Mark talks About That Tee Shirt: Mark Crossley has spoken about the tee shirt he wore for the Q.P.R. game on Saturday.

The shirt had "No matter what happens to me" on the front and "I will always love you, the supporters of Nottingham Forest Football Club."

A lot of people are interpreting the move as a way of saying goodbye, even though he is adamant he doesn't want to leave The City Ground.

His current contract expires this summer and he has been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal with David Platt since last year.

Mark said: "I've been at Forest for 12 years and the fans have always supported me. When I knew I'd play against Rangers, I sat down and thought about how I could tell them how I appreciated that. I came up with the idea of the shirt because I've seen one or two other players do something similar in the past."

 


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