The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Still Proud, But Devastated …
November 2, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Football, Nottingham, Nottingham Forest

I was trawling my drafts blog file and found a post I had written a few months ago.

Specifically when Forest were playing their match against Sheffield United at the City Ground to get to the Premiership Playoff Final.

Obviously I wasn’t feeling too optimistic given how the second half was going.

Though to be fair, after 23 years of pain – including that terrible situation in 2020 – I had reason to be doubtful. Which is why what happened was so amazing … and why I am so, so glad I was there to witness it.

Though this post may not be wasted.

Given the competitive nature of the Premiership, maybe I can use it in our last game of our season in the ‘big league’. Though I hope I don’t have to … even though if it the worst did happen and we were relegated, I can honestly say having a season back in the top tier would be regarded as a gift I feared I may never see again.

Who knows …

On one hand we have lost so many of the players who helped us get to that place.

On the other hand, we have replaced them with arguably better players … not to mention most of the previous regime were there when we were underperforming, hence the magic of Steve Cooper as our manager.

My main hope is we just keep him, because regardless of what happens, he created miracles we’ve not seen since ol’ Big Head and who wouldn’t want more of those?

Come on you reds.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

At the end of the day it was a match too far.

It all looked so good, but after a season where we went from bottom to touching distance of second, the young team – full of injured players – just couldn’t see it though.

It was so close though.

Closer than we’ve been in decades.

And for that I’m so so proud. But also devastated.

Even more so for the brilliant young players who will leave us now. But have earned their shot at the big time.

So to them – and all the players, the manager and staff – thank you for all you did.

You Reds.



Some Weeks Last A Lifetime …

So I was supposed to be back today, but the gods had other plans.

I got covid.

After avoiding it for 2 years.

After moving to the other side of the planet in the middle of the pandemic.

They decided now was the optimum time to give it to me.

And maybe they were right.

Because this trip has – so far – been filled with nothing but miracles and love.

I got to see the wonderful Martin and Mercedes get married in Portugal, surrounded by old friends who I’d not seen in an age.

Including the brilliant Clare Pickens who I love enormously.

Not to mention Nusara and her husband … who I discovered actually exists.

Now it’s fare to say all weddings are special, but this was magnificent.

There’s many reasons for that – from the people, the venue, the moment – but it was something more than that. As I said on the speech I was asked to give at the last minute, we needed this. All of us. Not just Martin and Mercedes … but every person who was – and continues to be – affected by the devastation of COVID. Which means every person in the World because whether it has been small or big challenges, we’ve all had to deal with them.

And from there, I then got to see my beloved Nottingham Forest pull off the miracle.

From bottom of the league with the worst start in 108 years to playing at Wembley after 30 years and getting promoted to the Premiership after 23 years away.

And to be able to do that with my beloved Paul – who I’d not seen for almost 2 years – by my side, was just even more special.

I don’t mind telling you I cried when I saw him.

When he got out his car and gave me one of his massive hugs hello, I clung on and cried. God I’ve missed him.

Don’t get me wrong, I love NZ, but it is the first place I’ve ever lived that genuinely feels ‘far from everything’ … so with that and all that has gone on in the past 2 years – not to mention the fact this is the longest I’ve not seen him in my entire life – I realised how much I’ve missed and needed him around in my life.

So to have that and then watch our beloved Forest get back into the promise land together was – well, just unbelievably special.

Now if you remember the post I wrote when I was setting off on this adventure, you will note I have not mentioned seeing Paula and her baby yet and that’s because of the COVID gods. But they’re still being nice to me …

Because not only has COVID not been too bad for me – especially compared to what some people have suffered – it meant I had to move my flights as NZ travel rules meant they wouldn’t let me catch my plane. And even this set back has a silver lining.

Because of the demand on airlines – and the time it takes for RAT tests to show a negative reading – the earliest flight I could get was next Tuesday. So not only will I have the time to see her before I go, but I also get to see Paul again when we go to the Queen concert we booked back in 2019 that they had to cancel because of COVID.

Seeing Queen with my best friend and his wonderful wife Shelly is like the ultimate gift to end this incredible visit to Europe.

But there’s more …

You see the Queen concert is on the day the UK celebrates the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

I mean the royal one, not the musical one.

The reason this is significant is way back in 1977, my Mum and Dad brought me to London to watch the crowds celebrate her Silver Jubilee. I remember it well, despite being so long ago. So to be back in London – albeit by pure coincidence – on a day where England yet again is celebrating a landmark moment in the Queen’s reign takes me back to that day with my parents and that is a feeling I will really treasure.

What this all means is not only has this trip been more wonderful than I ever imagined, it’s ended up giving me more miracles and love than I ever expected. Miracles and love that I needed more than I ever imagined.

So while I can’t wait to get back to my family – and my team – I can honestly say this has been a couple of weeks that are one of the most important and memorable weeks of my life and for that, I thank everyone who made it possible … from Martin and Mercedes, Paul, Nottingham Forest, Colenso, Q-Prime, NIKE, Paula, Queen, Lee Hill and Virgin Atlantic and my brilliant supportive wife and son right through to, bizarrely, covid.

I don’t know how you did it Mum and Dad, but thank you.

So till next week.

R



We’re Going To Fucking Wembley …
May 18, 2022, 8:45 am
Filed under: Football, Nottingham, Nottingham Forest

Bottom of the league after 7 games.
Worst start in 108 years.
Team down and out.

And yet, since the brilliant Steve Cooper came in as manager, we have fought our way to a position where we are going to Wembley to play in the Championship final with the prize being a seat at the Premiership table.

Last time I saw Forest at Wembley … it was a different millennium and Wembley was a different stadium.

[We lost, thanks to an own goal – in fact the only goal he scored in his entire carer – from Forest defender Des Walker. Not to mention the ref not sending off Gascoigne when he blatantly fouled one of our players so Spurs didn’t end up going down to 10 men. But hey, am I bitter? Errrrrm, yes … yes I am actually]

But all that aside, this is amazing.

As in, truly, truly amazing.

I was definitely scared for a moment … especially when it went to penalties, but we did it.

Win or lose, this is a season that will long live in the memory. Up their with our most glories of glory years.

And yes, I cried. Sue me.

Need to go and lie down, my blood pressure is threatening a nuclear meltdown.

You fucking beautiful reds!!!



No Post Till I Know If I’m Going To Be Crying Happy Or Sad Tears …
May 18, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Comment, Football, Nottingham, Nottingham Forest

… come on you reds. Pleeeeeease.



You Don’t Get The Chance To Be Part Of History Very Often …
May 17, 2022, 8:15 am
Filed under: Football, Nottingham, Nottingham Forest

Later today – or in NZ time, very early tomorrow morning – Nottingham Forest play the second leg of the Championship Playoff against Sheffield United.

We played the first leg at their ground last Saturday and won, 1-2.

It should have been 2 nil … but it wouldn’t be Forest without letting in a needless goal on the 90th minute so they still have a chance to scupper us.

And don’t think I’m just being a doom-fan, they did just that in 2003 when we were in this position … beating us 4-3 at home. ARGHHHHHH.

But beating them tonight isn’t just about revenge.

Nor is it even about getting closer to the Premiership.

It would be another way I can get my revenge at the RHCP for sacking me.

What am I talking about?

Well I recently saw this article in a Yorkshire newspaper …

… and while Flea was pretty decent to me, at this point – with the scale of this result at stake – all alliances are well and truly off, hahaha.

But even with that, this is already beyond our wildest dreams.

At the start of the season, we were rock-solid bottom of the league with just 1 miserly point after 7 games played..

It was our worst start in 108 years.

ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT.

So to be in this position is beyond anything anyone could have hoped for – especially as we all expected it would be a relegation battle season, rather than a chance at getting in the Premiership.

For all our amazing success, Forest have been fucking pants for 2 decades.

Even a couple of years ago, when we were in the playoff position for basically the whole season, we managed to lose the very last game by enough goals to ensure we ended up outside the playoff position

I honestly took over a year to recover from that … but here we are, potentially 180 minutes from the big time. Back where I would like to say we belong but have not been there for 23 years.

Hell, if we had not just had a meltdown against Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago, we could have even made automatic promotion – and that would have just been nuts.

So while I still am burned from 23+ years of broken dreams and false promises, I hope they make it. I still feel they’ll slip up as that is just what I’ve been conditioned to expect – but it would be amazing for them, the manager and the city as a whole if they didn’t.

I would cry.

Proper cry.

Not just because I’d be so proud of them, but it would take me back to being a kid when being from Nottingham meant you were part of Clough’s all-conquering team and that felt so special.

And while they will never win the European Cup again, getting back to the Premiership would be something worth celebrating for years.

But even that wouldn’t be as huge as this teams ability to make me – and the whole city of Nottingham – fall in love with Forest and football again.

The scenes this year are arguably better than anything I saw even in the glory years … so while I desperately want to see them win, in some ways, they already have.

Good luck Forest.

Come on your reds.