Nottingham Forest: A Life In Red & White
Greg Mitchell, Nottingham Forest fan and Co-Founder of supporters’ group, Forza Garibaldi, opens up about following England’s oldest professional club and spending a life in red and white.

There’s no better walk in football than strolling over Trent Bridge. It’s a unique feeling that makes most fall in love. My first walk following Forest wasn’t looking over that stunning view, though, it was heading down Wembley Way.

March 29th 1992, my first ever game. We took a minibus with my Dad’s Forest mates from the pub and some of their kids. I was seven-years-old and didn’t really understand what this day meant – another trip to Wembley and another trophy won, this time beating Southampton 3-2 after injury time. 

Unbeknown to me at the time, that moment marked the apex of my 28 years as a Forest fan. I only have a few vague memories from the day, but from there on out, I was completely hooked; sucked into a life of red and white and all the success that came with it. 

Even in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Forest were still making regular trips to the home of football. League Cup wins in ‘89 and ‘90; an FA Cup final in ‘91; the aforementioned ‘92 final; and, finally, a League Cup loss to Manchester United. 

After that, success came to an abrupt end. Brian Clough, the man who was all but immortal to every single Forest fan, retired. 

Brian Clough [right] – Nottingham Forest’s greatest ever manager

Since then, Forest haven’t been back to Wembley. A couple of near misses in the playoffs mark our closest ventures, but for fans of my era, success has been non-existent. 

We’ve relied on stories from people who lived those magical European nights, those big wins against our closest rivals, those memories of surviving relegation on the last day of the season.

As time goes on, the list of clubs not to have visited the new Wembley grows ever smaller. Forest are now one of only eight of the 91 Football League clubs not to grace its turf. With each passing year, the anticipation of the Garibaldi’s return to Wembley grows greater and greater.

Forest are sleeping giants who’ve laid dormant for far too long now, but you’ll never hear the majority of us complain. We all know, eventually, our time will come again.

But success isn’t the reason you follow this club. I know most fans will say this no matter who they support, but our club is different. We stand as the oldest professional side in the world; the pioneers of so many things in this modern game we all love. Our highs do not always come via trophies.

I’m now 35, and my greatest day following Forest was seeing us stay up in the Championship at the end of 2017/18 season. If we’d have gone down that day I dread to think what would’ve happened. 

The build-up and nerves were almost unbearable. But we did it. We survived. Cue one of the biggest celebrations I’ve ever been involved in. Pure euphoria. It meant so much more than just survival, it meant we finally got rid of our disastrous owner – a silver lining from one of the lowest points in the club’s history.

Forest are sleeping giants who’ve laid dormant for far too long now, but you’ll never hear the majority of us complain. We all know, eventually, our time will come again. 

In the meantime, while this city still has its club on the banks of the Trent, you can guarantee every season will give us the highs we crave. Sure, there will be some lows, but mark my words, it won’t be long before we’re back in the big time.

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