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
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.
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
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.
Nottingham Forest have announced that the Youth academy are to stage three
prestigious pre-season friendlies to unveil their arena pitch at their new
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.”
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
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
The Forest stars on show will
be; Steve Wigley, Garry Birtles, Stuart Gray, Steve Hodge, Steve Sutton and
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."
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
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.
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.
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."
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
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."
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'
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."
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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."
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.