Nottingham Forest – 3rd March 2018
A trip to Nottingham Forest is always one I look forward to. On this occasion though, the beast from the east reigned in most of my excitement.
I spent the best part of the morning checking Twitter updates in expectation of a postponement. When that didn`t materialise, I was forced to battle the snow and icy pavements as I made my way to Wilnecote train station.
Arriving in Nottingham, the first task was to find a pub. After having a wander, we stumbled upon a Wetherspoons named The Joseph Else, situated in the city centre. Having swigged my first pint of Carlsberg, the talk turned to TV, food and dogs… anything to avoid the inevitable pessimism a football conversation between Blues fans would bring.
One more pint in, we had exhausted all other topics so had no other option but to turn to the subject football.
Chiekh Ndoye was the first port of call. ‘If he plays, I`m going home`. That led to me enquiring about the odds of the big man netting his first Blues goal – eventually reading 15/1. That was until it was suggested ‘I`d give you 50,000 to one if you give me a quid right now`.
That was a conversation finisher.
With that pound coin still firmly in my pocket, our attentions turned to Steve Cotterill. The fact he was being replaced by Garry Monk, regardless of the outcome of the Forest game, was hardly a secret. In a way it made the defeat we all knew we was about to embark upon slightly more bearable. ‘At least we`ll be shot of him come five-o-clock`.
The first 45 minutes was drab. It was oh-so Steve Cotterill. Pass, pass, pass back to keeper, hoof. Lose the ball. Win it back, pass, hoof, goal kick. Win header, lose 50/50. Pass, hoof, flick on, hoof, goal kick. The first half from a Blues perspective.
I`ve never witnessed a Blues away contingent to be as quiet as they have been in the last few away games. We`ve had disastrous managers in the recent past – Lee Clark and Gianfranco Zola to name a couple – but even they didn`t manage to create an environment so dour that the fans had totally given up vocally. What`s the point in using precious lung capacity? We knew what was going to happen. The most exciting thing about the first half was the emptying of my bladder.
The noise got going though after the home fans chanted ‘you`re getting sacked in the morning` to the perplexed (soon-to-be-former) Blues boss. The Blues fans duly joined in.
Obviously, we were two down with eleven minutes to go but, to their credit and our amazement, Blues had a go. It has always baffled me how teams can play so poorly for 80 minutes then suddenly find a rhythm so late into the game. That is what Blues did. Michael Morrison – who I do not like one bit, but was happy to see him recalled purely for the fact I wouldn`t have to watch Marc Roberts attempt to break the world record for the amount of misplaced hoofs – scored a consolation which was greeted by muted cheers.
Another game, another defeat. But we did score. That is one to tell the grandchildren.
The train journey home was dominated by thumbing down my smartphone checking for the Tweet. Nothing. ‘We`re now approaching Derby`. Still nothing. ‘We`re now approaching Burton-On-Trent`. Silence. I get up and stand by the door. One last check. ‘We`re now approaching Tamworth`.
Vibration. A text from a Forest fan (a work friend) ‘Cotterill`s gone`. I found it hard to believe until a voice from two carriages down shouted with excitement ‘ HE`S GONE, WOOOHOOO`.