If, like me, you have enjoyed the demise of Leeds United, or, even better than that, were amused by the 44 days of Cloughie taking the p*ss there, then you MUST read this book: The Damned United is written by Dave Peace and would be in my top three football books; only The Miracle of Castel di Sangro and David Conn’s The Beautiful Game can beat it. It’s a work of fiction but truly frightening and too close to the bone. At least BC didn’t have 13 year old kids throwing stones at his car like Dennis Wise did this week. I dunno, cockneys, no bloody sense of humour!
I was going to Eastwood Town v Witton Albion today but was offered some tickets for Forest. By half-time I was regretting it.
The Ribbon Maker picks us up, whilst his lovely wife cooks my family a roast dinner. I’m sitting in The Brian Clough Stand, Trent End side. I scan today’s line-ups and am disappointed there’s no place in the squad for comedy genius Scott Dobie. It looks like he’s holding hands with the overrated Nathan Tyson in the stands today. Dobie three goals in three years. Cost £525,000. Surely Bolton Wanderers will have him?
Cash strapped Huddersfield arrive with a blend of youth and experience. This year is their Centenary. They too have had a legendary manager. Bill Shankly is a man who could rival Brian Clough in the quote stakes. Bill Shankly when asked by a barber if he wanted anything off the top: “Aye, Everton.”
Huddersfield, population 150,000. Famous people from the area include: former Prime Minister Harold Wilson, record breaker, Roy Castle and “I shall say this only once” actor Gordon Kaye.
Players to have turned out for both teams include: David Phillips, Jim Brennan and Peter Withe. The Sex Pistols played their final ever UK gig in Huddersfield in 1977. Last of the Summer Wine and Mrs P’s favourite, the atrocious Where the Heart is, are filmed near the town.
Former Forest favourite Ian “Bomber” Bowyer is guest of honour at the game. He scored 96 goals in 564 appearances. He’s a European Scout for Portsmouth now, working for a proper guy: Paul Hart.
I last saw the Terriers play in a play-off semi at Sincil Bank a few years back. The Lincoln National Front were sat behind me that day, and were racially abusing Town’s Nigerian centre-half, Efe Sodje. I had a quiet word with them and showed an unexpected turn of pace at the final whistle. Scum!
Forest are still smarting from a 3-0 drubbing at thee Priestfield Stadium (and yes I know they had 19 shots). Gills’ manager Mark Stimson is a shrewd cookie and is buying in the bargain basement known as the Blue Square Conference. Two of them scored against Forest’s star-studded line-up last Saturday.
The first highlight of the game is an outrageous dive by Kris Commons, who is fortunate to escape a caution. The game is dull and lacks imagination. The Terriers offer no threat and fail to rumble Forest’s vulnerability.
The game turns on it’s head on 30 minutes. Terriers’ keeper’ Glennon makes a long swift clearance. Forest are caught short at the back. Wilson is in trouble and has Huddersfield’s Malvin Kamara snapping at his heels. Kamara goes down easily and referee Taylor points to the spot. Wilson is sent off and ex Evertonian Phil Jevons converts with ease. Heads are down; this Forest team feel sorry for themselves. Perch replaces Lennon at the break, it enables the influential Sammy Clingan to remain in midfield.
The game begins to flow and Forest pick up the pace. Huddersfield can’t decide to whether to sit on their lead or to finish it off. Next goal the winner. Terriers’ veteran Andy Booth plays the old fashioned forward role superbly. Wes Morgan hardly wins a header all day. Smith is solid in goal for Forest, while left full-back Matt Lockwood finally shows some form.
The chances come thick and fast for Forest, with both Commons and Holt unlucky at the far post. Ex Hammer Chris Cohen comes on for Grant Holt and plays like a man aggrieved at losing his place in the side. He scores his first goal for the club with a deflected, rising, looping shot over Terriers’ keeper’ Glennon. Town’s excellent Robbie Williams, strikes an upright from fully 30 yards out, with a thumping swerving shot. He’s put the ball on the money all afternoon.
It’s left to local boy makes good, Lewis McGugan, to fire into the roof of the net on 92 minutes and bring this famous old ground to its feet. He has been magnificent; barely 45 minutes before, his chin had been on the floor.
It sparks scenes of pandemonium. Calderwood is pogoing like Sex Pistol Punk Rocker Johnny Rotten at his last gig at Ivanhoe’s in Huddersfield. The kids I’ve brought are in tears of joy. It’s pure theatre. And I could have gone to Eastwood Town. Their most famous son, David Herbert Lawrence, couldn’t have written this one.
Forest 2 Cohen and McGugan Huddersfield 1 Jevons.
Man of the Match: Lewis McGugan