Combined Forest City – Glory & Failure XI

One thing that the supporters of tonight’s headline Premier League match have in common is that the older and longer suffering fans of both Nottingham Forest and Manchester City will be able to familiarise themselves together, as one, with both glorious and dismaying pasts. These days the Citizens are used to winning silverware under Pep Guardiola, but that wasn’t always the case. For many years, playing second fiddle even in their own city to the great Manchester United team assembled by Sir Alex Ferguson. In 1998 they were relegated to the third tier of English football; the same year Forest were First Division Champions and promoted to the Premier League.

Since then, the two clubs have followed very different paths indeed. City would by the skin of their teeth gain promotion back to the second tier in 1999 after a dramatic Playoff victory over Gillingham at Wembley, whilst Forest would be relegated from the topflight, with both sides the following season meeting up in the middle.

During that campaign, 1999/2000, City would beat Forest home and away before gaining promotion to the Premier League as runners-up, they would be relegated the following year but bounced back in 2002, City beating Forest 3-0 at Maine Road (no thanks to our local born hero Darren Huckerby scoring a hat-trick), amongst their highlights, ever since, their story has included Roy of the Rovers like dreams that has seen them win five Premier League titles, two FA Cups and six League Cups along the way.

Nottingham Forest on the other hand were relegated to League One in 2005 where they would spend three sorrowful seasons at step three of the English football pyramid, before ending a 14-year spell in the Championship ahead of finally securing promotion this summer.

But whilst both clubs have enjoyed great days, and some awful periods in time that will bring an empathy between the two sets of supporters, these great teams also share a number of familiar sets of faces that fans will remember, reflect on, and like their past seasons in history, not always be able to enjoy.

Our one to eleven takes a look at those players that have played for both clubs ahead of their meet in the league at the Etihad Stadium of which will be for the first ever-time tonight, the first time in fact since that famous FA Cup win for Nottingham Forest in 2009, which ended 3-0 to the then managerless Championship side, against football’s newest billionaires. Oh how things have changed since then…

Tommy Wright (Goalkeeper)

Pipping the likes of Costel Pantillimon and Arjanet Muric, Wright is not really a household name for either team, joining Nottingham Forest in 1993 and largely playing understudy to Mark Crossley, the Northern Irishman played just eleven league games for the Reds, joining second tier City in 1997 where he would end up relegated into the third level of English football after a season where he shared duties (badly) between the posts with Martyn Margetson.

Gary Fleming (Right Back)

Northern Ireland international Fleming started his career at Forest playing 74 times in the league during the 1980’s before moving to Manchester City in 1989. The full back played only 14 league games as City finished 14th in the league before signing for second tier Barnsley where he would stay for seven years playing over 200 matches.

Tony Vaughan (Centre Back)

An Academy graduate at City, Manchester born Vaughan started his career at Ipswich Town who signed him as a youngster before re-joining his hometown club in 1997 as then boss, Frank Clark paid over £1.3m for his services. The centre half played 59 times for City but went on loan to Nottingham Forest in 2000, later signing for David Platt permanently and playing 43 league games for the Reds. He would later in his career play for Mansfield Town and Hucknall Town before retiring from the game as one of those often forgotten by fans.

Stuart Pearce (Centre Back)

Considered by many as the greatest player to represent Nottingham Forest. The swashbuckling Psycho played 79 times for England and enjoyed some iconic moments in the red and white whom he appeared 522 times for, but in 2001, aged 39 years old, he became Kevin Keegan’s first signing for Manchester City and helped them win the league as captain during their First Division promotion campaign. Pearce would also later go on to manage both clubs.

Colin Barrett (Left Back)

Who put the ball in the scousers net? Cries Nottingham Forest fans everytime the name of Colin Barrett is mentioned, a European Cup winner with the Reds, he played 69 league games during his spell at the City Ground from 1976-1980. Prior to that, Barrett was a Manchester City player born in Stockport, he signed as an apprentice at Maine Road and played 69 games before initially joining Brian Clough’s revolution on loan, before a £29,000 fee was paid. Bargain.

Nicky Summerbee (Right Midfield)

The son of City legend Mike who was also an old-fashioned right winger in his day, Nicky went on to make well over 100 league appearances for the Maine Road based outfit before joining Sunderland in 1997. A fans favourite at his home town club, he didn’t quite make the same impression at Forest, playing just 17 league games in 2001/02 before joining Leicester City.

Ian Bowyer (Centre Midfield)

The Cheshire born midfielder started out in the Manchester City youth team playing 50 league games and scoring 13 goals between 1968 & 1971 before moving to Leyton Orient of the second division. In 1973 he signed for Nottingham Forest and would stay at the City Ground (but for a short spell at Sunderland in 1981) until 1987, playing 564 matches that included a couple of European Cup Final appearances too. Bowyer’s most memorable moment perhaps, scoring the winning goal in the 1978 European Cup semi-final against Cologne.

Alf-Inge Haaland (Centre Midfield)

These days remembered more famously for his sensational goalscoring son, but a versatile player and a good one in his own right, who started his English career at Nottingham Forest, playing ninety times and scoring seven goals in four seasons mainly in the Premier League, before joining Leeds, and later Manchester City, where he would famously be on the end of a career threatening tackle by Roy Keane in the Manchester derby.

Djamel Abdoun (Left Midfield)

Not a lot of people will know that Algerian winger Abdoun made one appearance for City in their 2006/07 season under Stuart Pearce. The French born winger was brought in on loan from Ajaccio but failed to make an impression at the Etihad, but in 2013 he would return to England from Olympiakos. Playing 27 times for Forest scoring twice, the pick of those two a Panenka style penalty in a 5-0 thrashing of West Ham.

Nigel Clough (Forward)

The son of an all-time great and a legend in his own right at Nottingham Forest for his goalscoring exploits. Along with relegation in 1993, after scoring 131 goals for the Reds, Clough left to join Liverpool but his time at Anfield didn’t perhaps go the way it would ideally have planned. In 1996 he left for Manchester City but couldn’t save them from relegation, scoring just four league goals in 39 games, his time at Maine Road, nunlike at the City Ground, was considered to be a huge flop.

Trevor Francis (Forward)

Britain’s first million-pound footballer who famously signed for Forest from Birmingham in 1979 before scoring the winning goal in that year’s European Cup final. Francis was actually sold by Manager Brian Clough, two years later to Manchester City for a similar fee (just over £1.2m), an injury however blighted his short stay at the club who whilst also struggling financially, they eventually decided to sell him after a season long spell to Italian side Sampdoria.

*Main image @ManCity Stuart Pearce captained both clubs to relative success.

Leave a Reply