The rise from the second division
Beyond own dreams: Nottingham Forest '79 & '80
The most appropriate method of describing the magical journey of Nottingham Forest winning the European cup twice accommodates the oscillating finger of a Yorkshireman, the frequent kissing of television reporters and a nasal accent.
While the echoes of one of the previous managers Dave Mackay who states that “you’ll never achieve anything here” were still reminiscent of what one of their own described as the “least progressive club in the country”, Nottingham Forest was in the 13th position at the old division Two when Brian Clough entered the canvas on a chilly morning of 1975.
The Football League cup and the first division title was picked up after the induction of Brian Clough’s arrival as manager shortly after he started building a team of Britain’s finest men. The victories of the Midlands side were hence apparent.
The fact that Clough was working with meagre resources and had shortly been promoted from the second division and was competing with the big boys in the top tier did not stop him from taking Forest to new heights, as was seen by their rise to commanding European football.
In the first full season of 1975-76, Forest finished at the 8th rank due to the efforts of Clough and then secured a significant promotion to the first division by coming home third when Taylor was brought on board for the following campaign.
While they had initially decided to merely contend hard, they ended up winning the First League Cup by scoring seven more points than the unbelievable Liverpool team, in the 1977-78 season. The achievement was in-disputable considering that Bob Paisley’s Reds had not only retained their European Cup but had also won 8 out of the next 12 division titles.
Here, it is important to mention that 22-year-old Woodcock had played an important role in the achievement that ensued, considering that the PFA young player of the year scored 19 goals, even more than Robertson.
The block against Jürgen Milewski was awe-inspiring given the conditions he was given to train for such set pieces.
In the 20th minute of the game, Robertson reached the ball on the left side before breaking through the defence of Kaltz. After going back and forth with Bristles, who helped while down on the ground, Robertson tackled Keegan and shot it from the edge of the box.
The goal was an absolute much-needed confidence booster for Forest and Co. The centre back Larry Lloyd and Kenny Burns were amazing. Larry had warned his partner in defence Keegan that Burns was after him, Lloyd, who had barely passed his fitness on his ankle. Burns' attempt at slide tackling Keegan pretty much cleared up his intentions to everyone, including the referee, which made him give a yellow card to Burns.
Peter Shilton continued to deliver a smashing to Hamburg, a commendable save in the second held Peter Nogly something for the Highlights. After countless attempts, Kaltz got one through him, but it came back off the post. The Hamburg player Ivan Bulijan was almost successful in his attempt to score from a few yards out, but his shot spun away the Nottingham manager was just able to outplay Hamburg’s.
As any physical exercise would it slowly started to creep up on the player’s exhaustion started kicking in a tired Frank Gray was substituted by Gunn, Mills was replaced by O’Hare, and brittles was so exhausted that he failed to get a shot on when he was put on the goal. As the clock ticked its final strokes, the nightmares were about to come true for the Germans. It was a surging night for everyone even in the commentary box, Brian Moore announced to 13 million live viewers that Hamburg were European Champions. Despite the slip of tongue by Moore, the trophy was coming home to England for the fourth consecutive year.