May 25 2000

Old Boys Reach Finals: The current Forest team may not have had a successful season but the Forest old boys have managed to book themselves a place in the finals of the Masters Challenge Cup, to be played at Wembley arena in October. Forest earned their place this evening by winning the Masters Football Midlands Challenge Cup at the new Nottingham Arena.

The competition is a six-a-side event for ex-professionals over the age of 35 and Forest fielded a squad made up of Garry Birtles, Peter Davenport, Stuart Gray, Neil Webb, Brynn Gunn, Steve Hodge, Gary Mills, Steve Sutton, Calvin Plummer, Brian Rice and Steve Wigley.

Forest started this evening's tournament as the favourites, but their first game saw them lose a two goal lead to be beaten 4-2 by Leicester. Derby then went on to beat Leicester 5-2. This meant Forest had to win their final group game against Derby by three clear goals, and they managed just that, beating Derby 7-2 with hat-tricks for Birtles and Davenport. Derby also suffered after Ted McMinn was sent off for two bookable offences.

Aston Villa emerged as Forest's opponents for the final after winning their group without conceding a goal. Birtles and Davenport were too much for the stingy Villa defence though and both scored a goal each as Forest won the final 2-0, to lift the cup and secure their place in the finals in in October.

Saudi Frustrated: Saudi Arabian striker, Sami Abdullah Al-Jaber has become increasingly frustrated with his country's football authorities for delaying a possible move to The City Ground.

The 27 year-old was unable to play a trial game for Forest because the necessary paperwork was not sent through to Forest in time by his club Al-Hilal. Now Sami fears the move may collapse altogether because of the red tape being put in his way.

Al-Jaber said: "The football authorities think that, because I'm a big star here, I can only go to the likes of Barcelona or Manchester United, but that's wrong, look at the Iranians and the Japanese - they have gone to small clubs and then proved they are capable and moved on. We have to prove ourselves first. These people don't understand this."

Forest had asked FIFA to intervene in an attempt to convince all parties involved in the deal that a move to Forest would be the best outcome although it is unlikely that any deal would be concluded before he has played in some trial matches.

May 24 2000

Academy Announce Friendlies: Nottingham Forest have announced that the Youth academy are to stage three prestigious pre-season friendlies to unveil their arena pitch at their new Academy.

The visitors for the games in August are Ajax, top Norwegian side Rosenborg and German side Bayer Leverkusen. At least two of these games will be played at the 24-acre Academy site, allowing the club to show off the new arena pitch. The Ajax game, however, may be staged at the City Ground depending on whether or not Forest are drawn to play at home on the first day of the new season.

The provisional dates for the games are: Rosenborg on August 6, Bayer Leverkusen on August 8 and Ajax on August 10/12.

May 22 2000

Prutton Called Up: Forest's rising star, David Prutton, has been called up to join England's preparations for the European Under 21 Championships. The 18-year old midfielder is training with the England squad in Leeds.

Prutton broke into the first team at Forest last season and after impressing everyone he has become a permanent fixture in the first team squad since. The rise of the young midfielder has led to David Platt offering him a new long term contract, but on the down side it has also generated a lot of interest from other clubs as well, with Prutton being linked with both Chelsea and Newcastle in recent weeks.

May 20 2000

Forest Call In FIFA: Forest have called in FIFA to intervene in the deal to bring Saudi Arabian striker Sami Abdullah Al-Jaber to the City Ground. The Saudi FA keen for their country's star player to join a high profile club, Forest are hoping to convince all parties that a move to The City Ground would be beneficial for all concerned and have asked FIFA to broker the negotiations.

May 19 2000

Soar Resigns: The board of Nottingham Forest plc have issued a formal statement today announcing that Philip Soar has resigned as a non-executive director and Deputy Chairman of the Company and of its subsidiary Nottingham Forest Football Club Limited with immediate effect.

A lifelong supporter of Forest, Mr Soar became Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of the Club as one of the organisers of the Bridgford Consortium which took control of the Club in February 1997. After Forest underwent further changes at Boardroom level last year, he decided to step down from his role as Chief Executive and was officially replaced by Mark Arthur on January 1 this year. He did, however, remain on the Board as a non-executive director and Deputy Chairman until his resignation now.

Forest Chairman Eric Barnes said: “When Philip Soar resigned as Chief Executive of Nottingham Forest Football Club last year, he indicated his wish to spend more time at his home in Berkshire and to further develop his other business interests.

“Whilst he did continue as Deputy Chairman of the Club following that resignation, he has decided that following the end of the season it would now be the appropriate time to resign from the Board.”

Mr Soar commented: “As a supporter of 47 years standing, it goes without saying that I wish the Chairman, the Board and all at the Club every success in the future.”

May 18 2000

First Friendly Announced: Nottingham Forest have announced the first official pre-season game today. The match will take place on Saturday 29 July at the City Ground and the opponents will be Leeds United. The kick off is at 3:00pm and tickets will be priced at £10 and £5 concessions.

David Platt is placing great importance on the pre-season program and it's role in preparing the team for a promotion push next season. The match against Leeds takes place two weeks before the Nationwide campaign kicks-off again on August 12 and it should provide the Forest team with a good test.

Other pre-season games are planned in Trinidad & Tobago and the USA, but dates and opponents have yet to be confirmed.

May 16 2000

Forest Old Boys Play Again: Some of Forest's former stars are returning to action for the Masters Football Midlands challenge next week.

The six-a-side tournament takes place at the Nottingham Arena next Thursday, 25 May. Other teams included in the tournament also include Birmingham, Aston Villa, Leicester, Coventry and Derby.

The Forest stars on show will be; Steve Wigley, Garry Birtles, Stuart Gray, Steve Hodge, Steve Sutton and Gary Mills.

May 15 2000

Merino Goes Home: Spanish youngster Carlos Merino has returned to his home club Atletico Bilbao after three years at The City Ground. He opted not to extend his contract at Forest after becoming frustrated at his lack of opportunities in the first team.

The 20-year-old signed a new four-year contract at the Spanish club and is looking forward to the new challenge. He said: "It is a great step in my career. The eagerness to fight that the British players have is something that I needed. I believe I am a more complete player than I was three years ago, when I arrived in England."

May 14 2000

Forest Still A Dirty Side: The final statistics for the season show that Forest have finished second in the bad boys table this year. They ended the season with 61 yellow and 10 red cards, the only club with a worse record was Tranmere who finished with 72 yellow and 7 red cards.

The worrying thing about this is that Forest still have a £25,000 suspended fine hanging over them from last season for exactly the same feat. This means that the FA are likely to call in the fine last season and very likely to fine them again for this season.

Interestingly, both Forest and Tranmere despite being the worst teams discipline wise, have both provided the players who were most fouled against. Forest's Jack Lester and Tranmere's Wayne Allison were both fouled 99 times each.

May 13 2000

Beasant Is No. 1 - Official: Dave Beasant has been named Forest's 'Player of the Year' this season after making the No.1 shirt his own.

David Platt opted for Dave Beasant after Mark Crossley suffered a dip in form towards the end of last year. Since that point, with the exception of the QPR game for which he was suspended, Beasant has secured the No. 1 spot with some impressive performances.

The announcement of Beasant's award has, however, caused some confusion. The award is normally voted for by the fans, by filling in a form inserted in the match day program. However, despite attending every home match I have not been given one of the forms. Not sure whether or not I had just got a duff program without the form I started to ask people I know in different areas of the ground. Strangely they hadn't received a form either. I can't find anyone who did vote for this award, or even knows anyone who did. So the question that has to be asked is just who did vote for the award?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Beasant doesn't deserve it, I'd just like to know exactly who did vote for the award as it seems the fans didn't.

May 12 2000

Barnes Gives Platt Go Ahead: Club Chairman, Eric Barnes, has given David Platt the go ahead to buy a striker to help solve the team's goalscoring problem.

Platt's priority this summer now appears to be a new strike partner for Stern John, who is expected to make a big impact next season. One rumour is that talks with Andy Booth and Sheffield Wednesday will be reopened now the small matter of the Owl's relegation has been settled. Platt is also keeping an eye on Saudi striker Sami Al Jaber.

Eric Barnes is more than aware of the deficiencies in the current squad, especially in attack. He said: "David made certain additions late on in the season, bringing in the likes of Tony Vaughan and Colin Calderwood and I now think that our defence has been sorted out, but we need to score more goals and that's an area that David will be allowed to strengthen."

May 10 2000

Sami Hints At Move: Sami Al Jaber has hinted that he wants to quit football in the Middle East and move to Western Europe. The 27 year old striker had a trial period at Forest earlier in the season, but due to red tape was not able to take part in any games.

Jimmy Gilligan has been keeping a close eye on the Saudi International and travelled to the Middle East a couple of weeks ago to watch Sami take part in the Saudi Cup Final. Gilligan plans to keep monitoring the Saudi's progress and he will have been interested to read his comments in a recent interview. Al Jaber said: "I don't want to play any more local competitions and the Gulf competitions are not any better than playing in Saudi. In the Asian competitions it's OK because we're going to face teams from Japan, Korea, Iran and Iraq but if you play locally, like in the Arab Cup it's boring."

He continued by hinting that he may be happy to try his luck at a smaller club like Forest when he said: "The Saudi football authorities think that because I am a big star here that I can only go to Barcelona or Manchester United or Inter Milan but that's wrong. Look at the Iranians and the Japanese, they have gone to small clubs and proven they are capable and then moved on. We have to do the same."

Beasant Is Tops: Dave Beasant has been named the best goalkeeper in the First Division. The 41 year old veteran finished the season as the highest scoring keeper in the Carling Opta list, amassing 875 Opta points - 75 more than second placed keeper, Wolves' Michael Oakes.

David Platt was delighted with Beasant's performance and said: "Dave has managed to keep himself at the top of his game and it's a testament to his professionalism."

Thompson Wins Academy Award: Youth Academy defender John Thompson has been named as Forest's Academy player of the year. The 18 year old Irishman has played for the academy at under 19 and at reserve level. He has also won international recognition with the Irish under 18 side.

May 9 2000

Prutton Offered New Deal: Young midfield star David Prutton has been offered a new four year contract to keep him at The City Ground until the year 2004. Prutton has been the subject of many rumours linking him with Premiership clubs since he broke through to the first team this season. Despite the interest of clubs such as Newcastle and Chelsea Forest are keen to hang on to their rising star, a product of Paul Hart's youth academy. To this end Forest have been working hard to make sure the youngster remains part of the City Ground set-up for the future.

David Platt commented: "This is not just a way to try and keep David at Forest, it's a reward for the hard work he's put in this season. He's worked hard in training and on the pitch and has come on brilliantly since making his debut last year."

Platt went on to rate Prutton as better than Paul Ince, saying: "David is probably better than Paul Ince. You can always rely on him to shut down one side of the pitch for you. I don't think there is anyone better at closing people down and that's why he's not for sale. He needed to improve his scoring and he's started to do that, which is down to the hard work he has put in at the end of training sessions."

Crossley Wants To Be Boss: Mark Crossley has revealed that despite being rejected by David Platt he would like to return to The City Ground at some stage in the future, possibly as a player, but also as a manager! The popular 'keeper has spent the last 13 years at the City Ground but will leave Forest at the end of this season after failing to agree a new contract with David Platt.

The Welsh international was given an emotional send off last week during his testimonial and again by fans after Sunday's 3-2 win at Stockport.

Crossley commented: "I have to realise now that I have to leave the club, but I still dream of returning some day. "Maybe I could come back in the future in some capacity, like as manager or coach or even a player again.

"I love Forest and it's heartbreaking to leave but any return in the future would be fantastic."

May 8 2000

Reserves End In Style: The reserves, like the first team have ended their season in style this evening. They travelled down to Wimbledon for their final game and came away 3-1 winners.

Woan Rejects New Deal: It looks like David Platt has finally got his wish and removed any trace of Brian Clough from the playing staff at Forest. We have just heard that Ian Woan has rejected his new deal with Forest. The 32-year-old is out of contract as of now and he was told earlier in the season that he would not be offered a new deal. However, after a few brief appearances in the first team and some decent performance in the reserves it would appear he did enough to make David Platt rethink his earlier decision and offer him a new one year deal.

Woan has apparently thought things through over the weekend and decided that the offer, understood to be a significant cut in wages, was not worth taking. This makes Woan a free agent and like his close friend Mark Crossley, he can leave the club on a Bosman.

Unlike Crossley, however, at 32 Woan is probably very close to the end of his career as a player and the offers may not be coming in thick and fast for him. However, his Wife Kelly is an American, and Woan is believed to be very keen on moving over to the USA to get into the coaching side of the game.

We wish him and Mark the best of luck for the future.

Vaughan Recovering: Tony Vaughan is recovering after undergoing knee surgery in hospital over the weekend. The defender picked up the knock in his final loan appearance for Forest against Portsmouth and although he was passed fit to play at a time when Forest were desperate to escape the clutches of relegation, the injury was continuing to cause him some problems. He missed Sunday's final game of the season at Stockport to have the operation.

May 7 2000

High Note To End On: Forest ended the season on a high today when they came away from Edgley Park with a 3-2 win over Stockport. This saw Forest leapfrog over Stockport to finish the season in a disappointing 14th place.

The game itself looked on paper to be typical end of season fare, with neither side having anything other than pride to play for. However, five goals, including a great, if not bizarre own goal from Crewe kept the crowd entertained on a hot spring day in the north.

Stockport started both halves of the game better than Forest, and overall probably edged the play over the whole game. However, for once this season luck was on Forest side.

Stockport took an early lead on four minutes when Scimeca played a ludicrous pass across his own area to Gareth Edds, that had no chance of reaching the intended recipient. Ali Gibb intercepted the ball and took it to the by-line where he crossed it in for Wilbraham to smash home. Forest had to then ride out wave after wave of Stockport attacks before their luck changed on 33 minutes when Mike Flynn bought down Jack Lester on the Stockport box. Chris Bart-Williams stepped up and drifted the ball into the right hand side of the net to level the scores. This goal seemed to wake Forest up and they then started to get the better of Stockport as the half wore on.

Forest then took the lead four minutes later as a hopeful ball was punted long by Alan Rogers. The ball appeared to be going nowhere and should have been cleared easily by the Stockport defence. However, Stockport defender, Martin Taylor rose to head the ball to his own keeper and looped it straight over the stranded keeper into his own net.. The half ended with Forest 2-1 in front.

Stockport came out the brighter for the second half, but on 55 minutes, Gareth Edds smashed a shot at goal which hit the outstretched leg of Mike Flynn and deflected into the net. 3-1 to Forest and two of them were own goals. To give them full credit, Stockport never gave up and started to apply more and more pressure to the Forest defence. Eventually they got their reward when in the 75th minute Aaron Wilbraham grabbed his second goal of the game to make the score 3-2 to Forest. This purred Stockport on again and Forest had to ride out a very rough final 15 minutes before they walked off the pitch 3-2 winners and ended their season on a 7 match unbeaten run.

May 5 2000

New Contract For Keeper: Youth team 'keeper, Barry Roche, has agreed a new contract which will keep him at the City ground for the next four years. The 18-year-old has been on good form for the U-19 and reserve sides this season and with Mark Crossley leaving this summer Platt was keen to tie him down to a deal as a replacement foe Crossley.

David Platt said Roche deserved the new deal: "He has been impressive this season and he now has the chance to work with the first team. The rest is up to him to prove what he can do. He obviously has a lot to learn but he has come on very well."

May 3 2000

Whinging Twat: Lars "Greedy Whinging Twat" Bohinen has launched an attack on Nottingham and Forest supporters in particular. Bohinen has accused the city of Nottingham of being "deep rooted with hate" after his appearance in Mark Crossley's testimonial.

The Norwegian professional whinging champion moved to Blackburn in 1995 after playing 69 games for Forest, for a pay rise that he himself described as "like winning the lottery". Bohinen was a big hit with Forest fans and proved that he could play football if he wasn't distracted by endless whinging bouts. However, his move to Blackburn was not the roaring success that he said it would be and after failing to impress anyone whatsoever Blackburn shipped him off to the backwaters of Derby where he has also failed to make any impact whatsoever. Except perhaps with Jim Smith who, along with his training methods, Bohinen has criticised openly on his web site.

Of course, everyone else is completely wrong and Bohinen is right. That is why his career has taken off like a Saturn V rocket since he left Forest. May we humble Forest fans make a suggestion to Mr. Bohinen, stop whining and play football - prove to everyone that you aren't a waste of space and you are worth the money that Blackburn and Derby have wasted on you and for f#'k's sake stop whining man!

Norm's Goodbye: According to the Nottingham Evening Post today, last night's testimonial game was the last that Mark Crossley will ever play in a Forest Shirt. According to the article Crossley had a meeting with David Platt on Monday and unfortunately things didn't work out too well. It seems almost certain that Mark will leave the club he joined as a trainee under Brian Clough after 13 years.

May 2 2000

Norm's Big Night: Mark 'Norm' Crossley capped his 13 year career at the City Ground this evening with a star studded testimonial evening in front of 15,011 people.

The main game saw a Mark Crossley XI take on Jim Smith's Derby County and run out 2-1 winners with goals from Paul Merson and Mark Crossley. It was an entertaining game, with Crossley's team boasting Vinnie Jones, Paul Merson, Nigel Clough, Brian Laws, Mark Pembridge, John Barnes, Steve Chettle, Geoff Thomas, Chris Waddle, Des Walker, Nigel Jemson, Ian Woan, Andy Johnson and Alan Rogers. It was managed by Stuart Pearce and guest 'trainer' was Stan Collymore. Jim Smith fielded a full Derby Squad, and despite the usual taunts and chant's from the City Ground faithful, when their part in the proceedings was over they left the pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd.

Next up to face Mark's XI were the European Cup squad made up of members of the 1979 and 1980 squads. They came onto the pitch to a thunderous reception before lining up for the cameras. The squad included Peter Shilton (couldn't play due to injury), Chris Woods, Kenny Burns, Larry Lloyd, Frank Clark, John Robertson, Martin O'Neil, Brynn Gunn, Tony Woodcock, Garry Birtles, Ian Bowyer, Archie Gemmill and Gary Mills. Once the players had lined up on the pitch the great man himself was led out to the loudest ovation of the night. It was just like old times, with Clough wearing the infamous green tracksuit top. Once the introductions were over and the cheering had died down the game got under way.

Though they are a lot older now and the pace had gone, except for Archie Gemmill who ran like a Jack Russell down the right wing (I reckon for a man the wrong side of 50 he could easily hold his own in the First Division), it was nice to see they they could all still play the ball just the way Cloughie liked it. The crowd loved every minute of the game and if you sat back and closed your eyes you could imagine those glory days of the late 70's and early 80's all over again. They provided twenty minutes of great entertainment for the crowd and ran out 4-1 winners (though I think Mark's XI were taking things a bit easy on them). When the final whistle went the crowd erupted and ran on the pitch to greet the heroes of the past.

A great night and a fitting tribute to Mark's City Ground career.

Brennan Has Op: Jim Brennan has today undergone his hernia operation after playing for much of the season with the problem. He had hoped to complete the season before having the operation but he aggravated it during international duty with Canada's U23 squad in the Olympic qualifiers last week. Consequently he has had to go under the knife earlier than he had hoped.

May 1 2000

Forest Win County Cup: Niall McNamara grabbed the only goal of the game to earn Forest a win over neighbours Notts County today and lift the Nottinghamshire County Cup. A side made up of Forest reserves faced a near full strength Notts County, but the inexperienced Forest team dominated the game and deserved the win to retain the Cup.

McNamara, an 18-year-old Irish striker who is tipped for a big future, grabbed what proved to be the only goal of the game with only 19 minutes remaining.



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