Forest Legend’s Bid To Find Father

“It’s incredibly important for people to be able to find out where they’re from, it’s a bit of right,” Professor Turi King, February 2024.

The search is on for Peter, the Polish gentleman who is the biological father of one of Nottingham Forest’s two-time, European Cup winners, Tony Woodcock.

In the mid-1950s, Eastwood, in north-west Nottinghamshire, one of the county’s favourite sons was born, but, unbeknownst to him came the conundrum he’d not find out, until decades later – he is Anthony Stewart ‘Tony’ Woodcock.

Come the 1970s and Woodcock was on his way to making a name for himself in the sport of football, both at home, and abroad, with success, on the main, coming at his hometown club of Nottingham Forest.

Having begun at local side, Priory Celtic, Woodcock would sign a professional contract with Forest at the start of 1974, some fifty years ago last month, and, following a couple of loan spells he would eventually, under the legendary Brian Clough, make his City Ground breakthrough during that of the 1976-77 season, where his career would take off.

Now though, those five decades having elapsed in the blink of an eye, Woodcock has been made to wonder where it all comes from, and is doing so with the guidance and expertise of Professor Turi King, they relentlessly searching for his biological father.

“Nobody in the family really has any sporting background (himself withstanding),” admits Tony.

“Even leaving Nottinghamshire, going abroad, and the like, so where do I come from? I’d like to find out and, if something comes of this, then great.”

One of the things Woodcock wonders about is whether his biological father watched as he made his rise from Eastwood, to European stardom when, during the heady days of the 1970s, with Forest, he helped the Reds win that of the old, First Division title (1978), two League Cup successes (1978, 1979), the FA Charity Shield (1978), and most famously, the European Cup itself, on first, that famous night in Munich, Germany, in May 1979, with a 1-0 win over Malmo FF, before following it up by being part of the squad that went on to win it the following year (against Hamburger SV), in Madrid, Spain.

A scorer of goals, Woodcock soon earned himself a move to Germany, and to FC Koln, enjoying two spells with them in the Bundesliga (1979-82 and 1986-88), being a league runner-up in ’82 (again losing out to Hamburger SV), either side of a spell in London where, for four consecutive seasons (1983-86) he would be top-scorer at Arsenal, before finishing his playing career back in Germany with Fortuna Koln.

Woodcock would also enjoy time representing his country, at both U21s, and at full international level, scoring goals there and playing at both Euro 1980 (Italy), and the 1982 World Cup (Spain).

He, like his children are now, are well-travelled, adding:

“I’ve four children, and three grandchildren, and I’ve got so much in which to be thankful for.

“With this though, there wasn’t really much interest until my son did a DNA test and it came back that he was 25% Polish, so I did one myself and it said I was 50% Polish, on my paternal side, so it was a bit of a shock really.

“Many families do experience this, and I know that it’s not just about me, it’s about my family as well, as they also deserve to know.

“It is quite interesting though, and there really could be anything that comes up.”

Back in Eastwood meanwhile, in the mid-fifties, Tony’s biological father, a Polish gentleman named Peter (no known surname at present), was working as a head dyer at Giltbrook Dyers & Cleaners.

Now, working with both DNA, and the immense power that is social media, Tony, having enlisted the services of Professor King, are hoping to open the doorway into what has long-since been a closed past.

“I did have numerous calls with other people but they all required a surname to work with,” admitted Tony.

“Whereas seeing the work which Turi does, and meeting her in person, it’s been a fantastic experience; the early response from which has been great, and all we need is that one little break, form which it’s then down to whatever you want to do with things.”


Professor King meanwhile is, among her many talents, a Nottingham-born geneticist and genealogist who, alongside Stacey Dooley on DNA Family Secrets, looks to aid others in cracking open their past.

As she well knows though, and often says to those seeking answers, to prepare yourself for all eventualities, because anything really is possible.

Speaking of Woodcock’s unique search, Professor King said:

“The DNA tests have been done, but I’ve also warned Tony that, with his father being Polish, the likelihood of finding something soon is a slim one.

“Although people are doing tests more-and-more, it’s not a popular thing yet, hence us going headlong down the route of social media.

“We can always tell people their ancestry, but getting names is much harder.

“But then, sometimes, suddenly, you get something coming up, especially if someone comes forward, so we’re trying absolutely everything – it does sound like there’s people that knew Peter, so we’ll see if we can jog people’s memories.”

Now, with focus on the search for Peter centred around that of Eastwood, Langley Mill, Kimberley, and the outskirts of Nottingham, both Professor King, and of course Tony Woodcock, are hoping he strikes gold once more, especially as Tony is already speaking so highly of the Professor.

“She’s a rock star of her profession, and her father is also a big Forest fan,” continued Tony.

“So, whatever happens here, with all this, we will remain good friends and I’m delighted to be working with her.

“I’m also extremely thankful for the upbringing I’ve had; my mum and dad and my sister Jean, have always been an important of my being, so I’d like to think that they understand.

“It’s just a shame it’s taken so long, but secrets do come out in the end.”

If anyone can help Tony Woodcock and Professor King to solve the conundrum of Peter, then contact them direst, they’d love to hear from you (further info via Professor King’s X/Twitter here)

On a personal note I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both European Cup winner Tony Woodcock, and the ‘rock star’ genealogist Professor Turi King, for their time, and I wish them continued luck in their search, and their future endeavours.

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Tony Woodcock in his playing days at Nottingham Forest.

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