Class of 2020

#1

Stan Collymore (Player)

There’s a common question that gets asked, not just at Forest, its asked everywhere, for every team, in every sport…. Who’s the best player you’ve seen. For fans who came to Forest post Clough era, and who were lucky enough to see him play, one name comes up more often than not. Stanley Victor Collymore.

Signed from Southend United – where he already had a goal scoring record of 1 every other game – at the beginning of Frank Clark’s tenure as manager, Collymore had a bit of a reputation about him before he even started a game. Touted as the next big thing, the complete striker and more than anything else, exciting to watch – the kind of player that gets fans off their seats. Needless to say he didn’t disappoint.

After already scoring 16 goals going in to the final 3 games, Collymore etched himself into Forest legend bagging a brace away at Peterborough to confirm Forest’s return to the top flight including that immortal late winner! Collymore then went on to set the Premier League alight scoring an additional 22 league goals in his first season before departing the club the following summer for a then club (and British) transfer record fee of £8.5 million.

A goal scoring record in all competitions of 41 goals in 65 appearances. Its a shame the way it ended, but my word, what memories we have of his time in the Garibaldi.

#2

Ian Storey Moore (Player)

What’s the greatest match ever to take place at the City Ground? There were some crackers under Cloughie, less so recently though there are a handful that do linger long in the memory. But for a generation of Forest fans, the answer, without hesitation, would always be the FA Cup Quarter Final against Everton in 1967. Over 47,000 fans packed into the City Ground and saw Forest end up 3-2 victors. A game equally memorable for the Forest goal scorer, with Ian Storey Moore netting a now legendary hattrick.

And that is what Storey Moore was all about. Goals. In his 236 appearances for the club, he scored 105 times, being the top goal scorer in every season he played. Among that tally, a goal against Arsenal would be a genuine contender for one of the best goals ever scored by a Forest player with a winding, mazy run from inside his own half to arrived inside the box, dance around 3 Arsenal defenders before firing the ball across the keeper into the bottom corner of the net.

An integral part of a generation of Forest players that while they sadly fell short of winning any titles or cup competitions played some of the most exciting football in the history of the football club. Do yourself a favor and have a look on YouTube for some clips from that era. Absolutely magical.

#3

Nigel Clough (Player)

Imagine the pressure you’d feel if you turn up for your first day at school and your Dad’s the headmaster. Now try doing something similar in front of 30,000 people every other week.

Nigel Clough’s legacy at Forest could so easily have been dominated by him being his Father’s Son. But Nigel, staying true to the legacy of his Fathers playing career, had other plans.

The fine wine of number 9’s. Clough had so much in his locker. Good in the air. Skillful and confident on the ball. No nonsense passing that had a surprising range (see the assist for Brian Rice’s seminal goal against Arsenal), Clough was also a natural goal scorer. Over his 2 spells at Forest, Clough netted 102 times in 324 appearances including 2 against Luton Town at Wembley as Forest won the Littlewoods (League) Cup – reigniting our winning ways in cup competitions and launching the 2nd winning era of Brian Clough’s time as Manager.

Never better than he was at Forest and despite a decent start at Liverpool – who he joined for a then record fee of £2.75 million, he ultimately joined the wrong club at the wrong time ad the emergence of Robbie Fowler meant his chances to continue his development into a world class striker stalled somewhat

Ultimately, fans remember Nigel Clough for being one of the best strikers the club has ever seen and likely for being the manager we may always want but probably for the best, will never have. Considering the shadow cast by his father, his greatest achievement is that his legacy within the history of Nottingham Forest, exists outside of that shadow.

#4

Peter Shilton (Player)

Goals win you games. But a strong defense, led by a supremely talented, world class goalkeeper, can keep you in games too.

Forest won 2 European Cups, you might have been told that once or twice. Everybody remembers the goals that elevated Francis and Robertson into the upper echelons of Forest legend. What people tend to overlook, is that aside from the bonkers 3-3 home draw to Köln in the Semi Final of the 78/79 run, Forest never conceded more than 1 goal in any single game. And in both finals, the opposition failed to score – with the Hamburg game being especially memorable for the offensive onslaught by our opponents that day.

The man responsible for those clean sheets, and the next addition to the NFFCNA Hall of Fame is Peter Shilton. Signed from Leicester City in 1977 for the sum of 250,000, Shilton excelled in his first fill season as a Forest player. In the 78/79 season, Shilton conceded just 18 goals in 37 league appearances and subsequently won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, voted for by his fellow professionals. In one of Forest’s best ever seasons, Shilton was one of the standout performers in the team. It doesn’t get much more legendary than that.

In his 5 years at Forest between 1977 and 1982, Shilton made 202 appearances which in his lengthy career, is only bettered by his initial spell at Leicester City where he played 286 times. Capped a then record 125 times by his country – some of which were during his time as a Forest player, Shilton is one of THE first names that comes up when thinking about the best goalkeepers to have ever played the game. That he spent 5 of his best years at Forest, helping the club to countless titles and trophies, is one of many reasons why he belongs in the hall of fame. Safe hands indeed.

#5

Viv Anderson (Player)

Nowadays, with the success of the Nigel Doughty Academy, fans (rightly) make a big deal about local players, those who have been at or around the club for most of their professional lives and we take a great sense of pride when those players go onto to achieve their own level of greatness. Matty Cash, though born in Slough, rose through the academy to become a premier league player (though sadly not with us) and its another right back, who should absolutely epitomize the saying “He’s one of our own!”

Viv Anderson was born in Clifton Nottingham in 1956 and at 18 years old, Anderson joined Forest as a player. Clough liked him and he became a regular in the side helping the team win promotion from the old 2nd Division and remained a constant fixture in the team for the best part of a decade amassing 328 appearances and scoring 15 goals – one of which was particularly memorable – a screamer against AEK Athens in the European Cup.

The pinnacle of Anderson’s playing career came in 1978 when he became the first black player to represent England at international level. While that achievement belongs to Anderson for the hard work, effort and talent that got him to the top of the game, it also feels so absolutely perfect that a Nottingham Forest player who was born in the great city would achieve this albeit long overdue accolade.

From a US perspective, it would feel wrong not to compare this achievement to that of the late great Jackie Robinson and while things had changed considerably in 1978 compared to the days when Robinson made his MLB debut in the 1940’s, you need only look at the racial abuse black players still receive today to understand how huge an achievement it was and still is for Anderson to have broken the color barrier and to proudly represent his country while also being a Nottingham born Forest player as well.