According to Phil Soarís
book you made 213 appearances for Forest and scored 13 goals,
not bad for a defender, in that time you won a shed full of
medals and became a household name, from a footballing point
of view, whatís one of your happiest memories of the time?
I go back to the beginning, I take it we are talking Forest
obviously; this is a Forest show. I was at first a bit
reluctant to come here. I came here in October '76 on
loan and I met Clough and Taylor. You know Cloughy, I knew
nothing about him, he was just a mouthy git on the television,
and I thought I donít know if I fancy this guy. But
anyway, I came up and he said you know, one thing he said
that sticks in my mind, he said loan, the word loan, we want
you for a month, not for us to look at you, its for you to
look at us and I thought, you clever bastard, he turned it
You know normally a
loan is the club wants to have a look at you before signing
you permanently, but he said, Iíd sign you tomorrow, you have
a look at us for a month and see if you fancy us, I thought
you clever sod, he turned it around. But I made my debut
against Hull away and I got booed, I got booed for about 90
minutes, because the traveling supporters were in that corner
by the railway, I donít know if you know in the old days,
they had a railway thing over there, anyway, Sammy was in
the programme and Sammy was a hero, and this geezer Larry
Lloydís come up Ė Ďoh Sammy Chapmaní all the way through the
game, we lost it 1-0 Billy Bremner scored, I didnít have a
bad game in all honesty, he came in afterwards and he said
Iíll get the forms out of my briefcase, sign now, permanently
and I said no, letís see the month out.
should have said "Iím here to see you..."!
I didnít want to say that, heíd have said get the f#@k out.
So I did my month, we did reasonably well. I went back
to Coventry had a couple of games and Cloughy rang me up and
said come on then you must have decided, Iíve sorted out
the deal permanently youíre coming over. All right then
Iíll come over and have a chat with you, then I signed permanently.
But I was a bit reluctant in the beginning because I was in
the first division and Forest were a mid-table second division
team and I thought bloody hell am I ready to drop down yet
Iím only 27 but I took the chance and f#@k me what a great
decision it turned out to be. So yeah, you were asking
me about my happiest memory, thereís so many things happened,
I get asked that type of question umpteen times over the years,
thereís so many of them arenít there. I mean you lads
were around then, every day I talk to supporters who used
to come in those days. I used to walk down Pavilion
Road or wherever they came along the bank defeat wasnít even
mentioned, you know we thought that every time we ran out
of there we would win. I can remember, we drew two consecutive
home games, drew, against top class opposition, and we were
like Ďoh f#@king hell weíre losing ití, two draws against
Man U and Arsenal.
it used to be Forest and Liverpool didnít it? They were the
two big sides.
right, but you know we didnít talk about defeat, that wasnít
in our vocabulary, so Iím laughing now but Iím still trying
to think about my greatest moment.
got to be lifting one of the cups then surely?
would say probably its got to be the first Euro final in Munich.
I mean it was a drab game we all know that, it wasnít the
most exciting game, but little Nottingham Forest, lucky to
get promotion a year prior to that and then taking that first
division by storm when everybody put us as favourites to go
back down again, we just went out there and shook everybody
by the collar and told them to f#@k off, and we won the game.
We were winning games left right and center, Chelsea 5-0 I
remember one Wednesday night here and then we won the European
cup so as a one off occasion its got to be that simply because
it was the first time and I canít remember anything dramatic
that I personally did in the game. I had a steady old game,
heading it, stopping it and Trevorís header and Robboís cross
but there was nothing really in the game that stands out except
lifting the cup at the end. Retaining it the following
year, probably a very close second because we werenít expect
to beat Hamburg, Kevin Keegan and all.
You know they were much the
favourites, and personally that game was a bit more pleasurable
if Iím being honest than the Malmo game because we defended,
you know sounding big headed or not, Kenny Burns and myself
and Peter Shilton, we had the game of our lives that night.
We just stopped Hamburg and everything they threw at us, so
that pleases me a lot that we managed to retain it and I personally
had a good game against a better side.
You could talk about
beating my old club Liverpool in the old League Cup.
We played at Manchester and that gave me a load of pleasure
but if youíre going to write one thing Iíve got to say the
first European Cup.
about your saddest moment?
did it come about?
I mean things have changed now, I mean weíve just signed a
bloody 36 year old. Thatís because the training regimes
theyíve developed and diets etc., but Cloughy, old time manager,
when you hit 30 you knew with Cloughy that when you hit 30
heíd start looking. I was 31 or 32 when I left here.
What upset me about it, he called me into the office, I had
18 months left on the contract and he said; Ďlook, Iíll be
straight down the line with you because I know thatís how
you want me to deal with you, I donít think at the start of
next season youíre going to be my number one center half.
I said, Ďyouíre f#@king kidding arenít you. He said
Ďoh, Iíve got to look for a younger man.í I said, Ďokay,
your decisioní and he said ĎI donít think youíll be a reserve
team player because you wont want ití, I said Ďno I like the
big timeí and I had already stated that I wanted a go at management,
so he said ĎIíll help you outí, and he had a few articles
there and he helped me out in the press, saying Larry Lloyd
will be one of the great managers, blah, blah, blah,
and I had a couple of offers and off I went. But the
thing that disappointed me was what he said to me about trying
to reduce the age of players, Frank Clark had already gone,
Archie went just before me, Burnsy went shortly after me,
you know the older players. But he replaced me with
Willie Young, and Iím up there at Wigan and I thought f#@king
Forest signed Willie Young. I thought f#@k me, all right,
steady player big Willie, but he was as old as me and heíd
told me he wanted to reduce the age of the squad. I
thought you rotten bastard. That upset me. But by contrast,
in the same week, let me get this right now, I think in the
early part of the week we were in Tokyo to play that World
Club Championship game against Nationale of Uruguay, we lost
1-0 there, I came back, signed for Wigan and played against
Rochdale on the Saturday as manager of Wigan. And we
lost 1-0 as well against Rochdale. So I had two defeats
that week, one against the top club in the world and one against
Rochdale. So I thought what the hell have I done?
So whoís the best player youíve ever
No hesitation. Little fat bastard was a magician!
You know I used to go on these silly sorties now and again,
like a head case, you know, I didnít know where I was going,
I donít think the crowd did and certainly the opposition didnít
know where I was going, because I didnít know. So I just used
to think, what do I do, whereís my ball and invariably if
I started that end I used to veer to the left all the time,
whereís the fat bastard, and he used to say, hold it there,
let me get my breath back, and then if he was tied up with
the other full back up his arse then Withey and Woodcock or
Birtles and Woodcock, whoever it was up the front, I thought,
where do I go with this, boot it over the Trent so I can get
my breath back; so I can get back.
Yeah, John Robertson
he was slower than me but what he had, he had the first two
yards on anybody, because his brain was quicker than anyone
elseís. You ask him to run from the half way line to
the corner flag; out of 22 players on the field 21 would beat
him. He was the slowest runner in the world but he had
the 2 yards. Heíd put his fat arse one way, the player
would go that way, 30,000 people would go that way as well,
and he was the only person going the other way with the ball.
He was f#@king brilliant and the main thing with Robbo
was there was an end product. You know, heíd cross the
ball. Not only would he cross the ball accurately onto
Woodcockís head or to someoneís feet, or whatever he was trying
to do. He crossed the ball so that the little dickie where
you pumped it up turned the other way so you didnít hurt your
head when you headed it. A magician John Robertson,
absolute magician, no two ways about it.
is the best player youíve ever played against?
I knew that one was coming next, Iíve played against some
marvelous ones all over the world but if you stick to the
first division, probably surprising a lot of you, I didnít
mind the battles with, if you remember the two Davies, Wyn
and Ron, young Joe Royle, he used to put it around, Joe Jordan
used to smack you, Andy Gray was a bit rough, you know, they
didnít bother me, I could handle all the physical game.
Dennis Law always used to
f#@k me up. Little slight man, only weighed 10 stone,
but he had spring in his step, he used to give me trouble
in the air. I had no problems with Joe Royle and Joe
Jordan, etc. but Dennis Law used to jump in front of you,
horrible, awkward little bastard, and on the ground as well.
Youíve got to appreciate I was very young then, he was a bit
older than me but Dennis Law certainly was a handful.
On the European scene
a lad called Gert Mueller who played for Bayern Munich, he
was a little short fat one, the John Robertson build, he was
a huge handful as well.
Talking about personalities, Cloughie,
everybody knows Brian Clough obviously, heís revered as a
sort of a demi-god here, what was he like to work for, how
did you get on with him as a person?
(laughter all round)
Brian Clough, its well documented
we didnít get on. I think I still have the record for being
the most fined player, not in amount because these days they
get fined £10,000 but for the number of red trees we used
to get, thatís what we used to call them. Itís the Forest
official envelopes, thereís a red tree down in the bottom
corner. You used to walk in, theyíd just give it you
like that, another red tree, you knew what it was. The
only thing that was ever in the envelope was a fine.
I got a lot; for opening my mouth mostly.
The one thing with Clough,
as you know we didnít get on very well man to man, I mean
I said to his face and we laughed about it afterwards, I said,
if I was in a bar and I was alone in this bar stood at the
bar having a pint as you walked in and stood next to me I
said Iíd f#@king walk down the other end of the bar away from
you. He said; Ďoh would you, Iíd probably do the same
to youí and then he laughed about it, but heíd probably fine
me for saying that as well.
No we didnít get on man to
man but one thing you know Iíve got the utmost respect for
him as a football manager and I get asked the question a lot,
ĎShankley or Clough, who was the best?í And I always
say Cloughie, it was close, Shankley was a magician also,
but I always say Cloughie simply because he did it with two
smaller clubs, Derby and Forest so Iíve got to give Cloughie
the edge there. As a football manager second to none,
man to man we didnít really get on. I canít fault him
as a football manager, he was hard but what I was going to
say, although we didnít get on and we rowed pretty often,
and he fined me an awful lot, every Friday morning when that
team sheet went up on the board, number 5 was Lloyd.
Quick little story, when
I broke my foot he bought David Needham. Immediately I was
fit and had one reserve run out, he put me straight back in
the team and David Needham had done pretty well, but he still
left him out and brought me back into the team. I was
very surprised to get straight back in. We had a team meeting
and Cloughie said to Needham; ĎDavid, youíre probably wondering
why Iíve left you out, youíve done ever so well since I bought
you from Queenís Park Rangers, you know youíve done ever so
well, I canít fault you but youíre wondering why I left you
out, David youíre a lovely boy, youíre a lovely man.
If my daughter was looking to bring a man home to introduce
to marry, youíd be that man, youíre that nice; and thatís
why youíre not in the team. Youíre not a f#@king bastard like
him (pointing to me)!í
Oh, I was ready to fly for
him and then I thought hey, wait a minute, thatís a compliment.
Cloughie was very much the psychologist?
a very, very clever man. I mean way back Iíve told you
the story about Ďitís for you to look at usí, that sort of
thing. And that Needham incident really lifted me because
I was so down, I was pissed off that heíd bought David Needham,
he was about the same age as me, perhaps a year younger, so
pissed off I thought f#@k me Iíve broke my foot in two places,
Iíve got to get fit, I tried to get back too soon, put myself
back and in the meantime theyíd had that 4-0 win at Manchester
United, then we beat Bury away something like 7-1 in the league
cup I think. But then he went and put me straight in.
Yep, he just lifted me so high then.
it difficult to put the episode behind you when he actually
subbed you before the game started in Canada?
that was so bloody funny. I couldnít believe it.
In the end I was quite pleased he took me off, well I didnít
actually start, it was red hot and in Toronto of all places.
Its supposed to be cold but it was 100 degrees. But
well you know the story. And another time when we were
playing here against Tampa Bay Rowdies, when we had all the
parachutes and the balloons and everything, we were kicking
towards the Trent End. I donít have the mind for a friendly
game. Iím shit or bust you know; I didnít like the friendly
games. The ball was played to me and I went to back
heel it to Shilton and I fell over, and that was after only
3 minutes, up went the board and I was substituted 3 minutes
into the game. I walked back to Clough and said youíre
a f#@king loony you are. And he shouted back so are you.
its back to you then Larry as a person, youíre a Bristol lad
by birth but youíve been associated with Forest since 1976,
thatís 24 years on, you had a short break when you went off
and tried your hand at management but youíve always maintained
the link with Forest. What keeps you coming back?
decided very early on, in 76 my children were, well my daughter
was 6 and my son was 4 and then add the 5 years on that took
us up to late 80 so the kids were now 11 and 9 and just beginning
to start their real education, my wife, thatís my first wife,
she loved it here, she was happy here. You know in that
5 years that I was playing I made a lot of friends, I loved
the place, it was handy for everywhere, the motorway is just
up the road, you can get to anywhere from Nottingham but more,
I grew to love this club, you know I had 5 great years at
Liverpool I mean when I go back up there and commentate they
always make me welcome and they still remember me. You
know, here I have a special feeling for this club, I donít
know why it may have had a lot to do with success, If Iíd
have had 5 shitty years here, maybe I would have moved on,
I just donít know. But you know I love Nottingham in
itself, I tried management for 4 years and I thought I could
commute to Wigan everyday but the Chairman at Wigan didnít
like that. Then I landed the Notts County job and that suited
me down to the ground, but in the end it didnít work out because
I wasnít really accepted because of the Forest connections.
So I left there and ran a couple of pubs in town then, but
I donít think Iíll ever leave here now.
played in whatís got to be one of the greatest ever Forest
XIís. A while back the fans voted for their greatest XI and
you got in as sub. This questions from one of the guys
on the internet, a guy called Mark Roe, he wants to know whatís
your greatest ever Forest XI?
greatest ever Forest XI, Iíve got to pick it from my era because
although I knew the Storey-Mooreís and I get on well with
Ian now, and the big center half McKinley, he was a god here
and Joe Baker certainly was a god here, but Iíve got to pick
it from my era, and I think off the top of my head it wonít
be too far away from the European cup team. Shilton,
then at the back Viv, myself, Kenny, well should I pick myself?
too late I have, the left back caused me a little bit of a
problem because certainly Iíve got a lot of affection for
old Frank Clark. I thought Frank did a terrific job and then
Frank Gray came along who I thought was a very, very good
left back. Colin Barrett had a few games there but Iíve
got to go for Frank Clark. No I wont, Iíll stick Stuart
Pearce in there, you know Iíve been a bit selfish by staying
with that team, but I saw a lot of Pearce whereby I didnít
see the McKinleys, etc. So yeah, Stuart Pearce has got
to go in there at left back, but I wouldnít have my old mate
Martin in it, good player that he was, he made that all time
team. Out on the right, probably Stone, Iíd have Roy
Keane in and probably Archie Gemmill in and John Robertson
on the left. And then Woodcock certainly, and probably Birtles.
you could turn back the clock on your football career, is
there anything youíd change?
my football career as a whole, I think it would be me causing
shit at Liverpool and then them transferring me to Coventry.
But had that not happened I wouldnít have played here.
But certainly going back
to 1974 when I caused a lot of shit at Liverpool. I donít
know if youíve felt in your life, no matter what job, or in
your personal lives or whatever, but when youíve done a thing
and immediately you know itís a big mistake and thereís nothing
you can do about it. I signed for Coventry and I went
down there. My first dayís training, my first 5 minutes
training, I thought silly big bastard; youíve dropped a bollock
I regret not staying at Liverpool
you know, but to soften what Iíve said, if I had have stayed
at Liverpool I probably would never have played here.
It was a massive, massive mistake in my life leaving Liverpool
but Iíd signed the contract so there was bugger all I could
do about it. I was even thinking about feigning a back
injury because I'd had a back injury at Liverpool and if there
is anything wrong with you thereís a clause in the contract
voiding it on medical grounds. So I thought that if
I had a bad back Iíd go straight back to Liverpool but I played
the game straight.
Regrets? Perhaps I
could have worked a little bit harder, particularly when I
was here, in retrospect everything came quite easy;
I mean we were fit, at least I thought I was fit, if Iíd have
worked just a little bit harder on myself and my fitness perhaps
I might have got another season here. The weight was
creeping on all the time, every season my starting weight
was another 2lb up. I probably could have worked a little
bit harder on my game.
talking about your game, Kev always uses the example of George
Best, how you watch the old recordings of him, running through
defenders, having chunks taken out of his legs, but he just
never goes down, even in the penalty area. With todayís
players you only need to break wind near them and theyíll
fall over screaming. Why? What do you think is going
Is it a management thing? Are
players told to try and get what they can?
Well Iíve never known a manager that would say that to be
quite honest. They might say do your business because
nobody dare touch you in the back because referees today will
give a penalty. They donít say go for a penalty.
lot of the foreign players do though donít they?
I think thatís one thing they have brought into our game.
That is an influence on them. You get talented players and
I hope somebody gets a grip of it quickly. (Steve interjects)
ĎEven Owenís started ití.
Thatís the very example
Iím going to use. Talented players like Michael Owen
looking to dive and I mean the playerís got so much ability
thereís no need to do that and I think thatís an element that
the foreign players have brought in and its done our game
no good at all.
back to the old days when youíd storm in like a tank, when
youíve got half your shin missing but you still keep going,
will it ever go back to that.
I donít think it will ever go back to that. Iíve got
to say perhaps trying to take George Best out at the adamís
apple was wrong, but it didnít half feel good at the time.
surely the way he was playing was a lot better for you as
a defender than for him to come near you and suddenly go flying
and get a penalty.
yes it was a lot better, of course it was. He might stumble
but heíd go again and save you a booking or two. I think
today, me personally and Kenny Burns would have a bit of a
problem because we used to like hurting people and I donít
think many defenders do today because you can get bad injuries.
Most injuries these days are caused by falling awkwardly or
running at pace and perhaps a muscle goes. Thereís not
too much caused by a crunching tackle that puts their adamís
apple into D block, you know what I mean.
can be done to restore some of the honesty to the game and
get rid of some of the cheats?
them for diving but it needs a strong referee to do that.
I mean its started to creep in that now, hasnít it?
That could be one of the good things that comes from Europe
where referees, particularly in Italy, yellow card them.
I think that could be extended a bit more in our game.
you think there are too many yellow cards thrown around nowadays?
mistake they make is this, I know their governing body governs
them, but Referees have had their individual bits taken out
of them, theyíre all just clones. They follow these
rules to the letter. Theyíre not allowed to be individuals.
What they do, and itís a massive mistake I think, is
in the first 5 or 10 minutes, I saw it in the Charity Shield,
5 players booked in about the first 15 minutes, is show the
yellow card too soon. Then the referee has put himself
up a blind alley. So if one of these players who has
been booked for nothing goes in and cuts you in half, thereís
no option. Heís got to send you off because itís your
second booking. Whereas if heíd used a little bit of
common sense and said come on, lets behave, instead of the
first booking, and then the tackle that cuts someone in half,
thatís a true yellow card. I think they try and stamp
their authority on the game too early and they donít leave
themselves a get out.
your view on video refereeing; say for a yes no case such
as a sending off or a penalty?
think it could be abused, they could be calling up for the
third eye every 2 minutes. I think for the ball bouncing
over the line a beam or whatever to detect that would be alright.
There might be room if the rules are set down straightaway
so that you can get a quick decision, say within 5 seconds,
but its got to be done very quickly.
about Sky TV and their cash, good or bad?
tremendous, canít fault it. Many clubs would die if
Sky pulled the plug tomorrow. A lot of Premiership clubs would
die, let alone lower league clubs. I think what Sky
is doing they do right. Although the Premier clubs get
the cream but it filters down through the lower leagues.
I heard a quote from a Chairman of a third division club,
their share is only £200,000 a year but he said Ďthat keeps
do Sky choose which games get broadcast each season?
Because one of the things weíre all annoyed about is that
Forest are on 5 times before Christmas, thatís one away game
and 4 at home. Weíve all got a f#@king season ticket
so weíll be at the game anyway.
the sad thing about it. The clubs have no say.
If Sky rang up here and said right, your game kicks of at
3 oíclock but we want to broadcast it so your now going to
kick off at midnight then Forest would have to do it.
itís basically, they pay the money so they call the shots?
theyíre covering the game, yeah. They canít just ring
you up of theyíre not covering the match. If people
in America want to see the game and Sky are broadcasting it,
then they can tell you when to kick off; end of story.
Going back to you earlier question I think the 4 games at
home is just bad luck.
think what Sky are trying to do is make it more attractive,
showing 4 games from here is better than showing 4 games from
some dilapidated ground.
What also comes into it you see, and theyíre probably being
crafty in this respect, their technicians know they can all
come here and itís all set up for them.
you had the chance to change or introduce one rule in football,
what would it be? Or would you leave things exactly
as they are?
glad you added that last bit, it gets me out of a hole there.
I think thereís too much tampering with football these days
and thereís no need to. Take Jimmy Hill, 2 years back;
said Ďlets make the goals biggerí. What a piece of crap!
We wanted them to make ours smaller.
only at one end though, and then move them round at half time.
No, I wouldnít tamper
with football too much, itís been basically the same for most
of this century.
thing Iíd like to see is this business about the referees
stepping back the wall 10 yards, and they donít move.
I think he ought to say, right another 5 yards then;
thatís a good one; Iíd go along with you on that one.
It works great in rugby and you donít see anybody arguing
with the refs.
got to the end of our questions Larry, thanks from everybody
and hereís hoping for a good season for Forest.