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I think we'll still see lots of ups and downs

This is an interview with Tim Gosling, English journalist living at this time in Prague. It was taken shortly after Forest victory at Molineux.

What do you think of our last results and especially of the victory over Wolves at Molineux?

The win against Norwich was a huge relief, but I didn't expect it would revive the team to the extent we saw at Wolves. Sounded like we played to our potential for the first time this season. On a personal basis it was perfect. I'd been out all day and switched the radio on at about 60 minutes, just in time to hear the annihilation begin!

Could we say Forest are back on track?

Oh I'd be wary of saying that. We haven't really played well this season even when we were top. Apart from one or two games we were scraping results. The downturn was no surprise to me – although it lasted much longer than I thought it would. I think we'll still see lots of ups and downs.

You live and work in Prague. How do you follow Forest as “supporter in exile”?

Commentary and highlights through Forest Player mainly, and leaping around the room with my young boy when we score! I don't get to the City Ground much at all – family, work etc all get in the way. Closest fellow red I know lives in Budapest.

Are you originally in Nottingham? Do you remember your first visit of City Ground?

My dad was from Nottingham, but I was born in London and lived around the country, close to Leicester for a long time. I made my dad take me for my eighth birthday in 1978. A 1-0 win against Coventry if I remember right.

You experienced the era of Brian Clough. How would you describe these years?

I was only 9-10 during the European cup wins, but remember them well. My granddad, who was a Spurs fan, laughed at how tense I was as I watched the 79 final on his sofa. I sort of lost touch during the 80s, but was regular at the city Ground in the 90s. It seemed normal at the time to watch us beating Liverpool, Arsenal and all the rest. Now it seems a fantasy – but that's ok – still love the club. Missed Cloughies last game, but waved goodbye to Des as he left for Italy.

Do you have some personal memories of Brian Clough?

Not really, just the same shared admiration with other Reds, although he was clearly also a meglomaniac!
My main anecdote regarding Forest legends started as I was draped over the bar at the TBI one very drunken night with a Leicester supporting mate. It was late and the place was half empty. In the corner, Des Lyttle, Steve Chettle and Stuart Peace were having a quiet pint. I mumbled to my friend: "Is that Stuart Pearce over there?". My mate tried to lift his face off the bar and screeched at the top of his voice: "Stuart Piss? Who the fuck is Stuart Piss?!". Luckily for him, Stuart Piss couldn't be bothered to kick him into the Trent.
I also once hacked down John Robertson when the local team I played for played an ex-international XI. Two minutes later I hit a brick wall called Paul Hart and was sent flying.

Now we are with our former left back and fan’s hero at helm. What would you say, is Stuart Pearce right man for the job?

He's the ultimate living legend for Forest and a total hero of mine given the times I spent most at the CG, so I really hope so. That said, I was very dubious of the appointment – it smacked of pure PR by Fawaz, and SP's track record in management is not that great. He's done better than I would have thought to tell the truth – especially in his recruitment – but I have to admit I'm yet to be convinced, particularly regarding the style of football he plays and his tactics. They seem a little old fashioned.
However, the one thing he has done is banish the fickle crowd – great to hear the massive support the team is getting, even when playing like muppets. That's the huge advantage with Psycho – he will likely get the time to bring the club the stability it so badly needs.

Fawaz is determined to take Forest to Premier League. OK, promotion is possible, why not, but are we able to stay in top flight for long term?

Hmmmm. As time goes on I'm less and less convinced that I want the PL. A whole season in which the greatest ambition is to avoid relegation and not get thumped every week just seems so depressing. I'm tempted to say I'd rather stay a big fish in a smaller pond. Then again, that's kind of defeatist, and the money would be nice, whether we stay up or not.
I wish Fawaz would look at recent examples of how to do it properly – i.e. Swansea and Southampton. They both built a proper core to the club which took them up and let them prosper. Why try to reinvent the wheel?

Some people say the magic of Premier League has gone, everything is only about money, we can watch huge number of foreign players, diving, sometimes really boring football without shots, crosses, tackles etc. etc. And the true English football is now only in lower divisions. What do you think about it, it is right?

I've no issue with the PL regarding the standard of play – it's much better now than in years gone by, with real skill, speed and tactics on display. I don't watch it much, but it's entertaining when I do. Claims of damage by foreign players is just bigotry in my opinion.
The downside is the stupid amount of money involved, and the difficulties in challenging for honours for any club outside the teams that dominate (we;'ll have to see how Southampton get on as the season progresses I suppose).
It also hurts foreign football as well, as the PL drains all the best players from overseas. Aren't Czech pissed off with that? Though I've been to a few games, I've yet to find a team in Prague to follow – so anyone that wants to try to convert me get in touch.

How do you like Czech Republic?

It's a cliché, but I think the English get on pretty well with the Czechs as we have a similarly sceptical outlook on the world and dark sense of humour. I like the tolerance and gentleness of the society. Czechs will probably laugh at that, but compared with many other places I've lived, it’s a very peaceful place to live.

As you can see, fans of Nottingham Forest are in Czech and Slovak Republic as well. Do you have some special message for us?

Ha, not really – just happy to know there are some wise individuals that see the wonder of the mighty reds! Love to meet some of you sometime – probably to drown our sorrows over another near miss with promotion. You must all be crazy to choose to follow Forest!


V. S., 1.12
. 2014


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