Despite an early lead through Andy Reid, Nottingham Forest’s unbeaten run came to an end as Wigan Athletic defeated them 2-1. ‘Steven the Camel’ offers a fan’s eye view from the DW Stadium…


A long, long time ago – when the Camel had real life friends – one of them deliberately chucked a half-eaten meat pie onto the platform of Wigan station. After enquiring as to the nature of the flagrant littering, the response was a simple yet poignant one : “Someone will be employed to pick that up, thus you should be thanking me for creating jobs and boosting our economy.”

Controversial logic I know, but it’s reasoning like this that has shaped the Camel’s life ever since. It’s also acted as a catalyst to question every decision witnessed on a football pitch – which leads me nicely to yesterday’s game.

Around 4,000 Forest fans made the trip up North, armed with a healthy mixture of hope and expectation. A wonderful start to the season had seen a solid yet unspectacular unbeaten run propel us to the top of the league, and this was the latest test to our new-found pragmatism.

The team-sheet came as no surprise to those around me in the pre-match bar, which I might add was rather comfy. Big screens showing the early game, ample seating, friendly bar staff – this was all quite impressive. A well-geared machine. The comment was passed that you could tell they had catered for huge away support before, having just been ejected from the Premier League for being crap.

We departed for the turnstiles about 14.30 and entered the DW. How vain do you have to be to name a ground after yourself by the way? I won’t rest until the City Ground is renamed ‘The Camel’s Den’ or ‘Steven’s Theatre of Screams’. I’m not precious about the name, as long as it references me in the title. It’s also worth noting that I broke my leg in a school cup final once. Perhaps I could tell everyone about it.

Over and over again.


Anyway, we were queuing up for a pre-match pie in the ground and the Camel was taken to one side by a steward. Now, being dragged to the toilets by a 20-stone man maybe nothing new to some of you, however on this occasion it was just to point out a ‘special’ bar that we could all go to at half-time. Seriously. One with seats, and people that actually served you quickly – take note A-Block bar staff. Speaking of which, I should get my half-time order in for the Barnsley game on 14 September. Two weeks notice should be enough for them to adequately prepare.

Anyway, I digress. The game…

Ok, we gave them far too much respect in the first-half. Simple as. You can’t let a team with Premier League experienced midfielders dictate the tempo of the game so easily. An excellent free-kick from Reidy was quickly cancelled out with a stonewall penalty and a tap-in, and we found ourselves 2 -1 down at half-time. All was not lost though – the steward was right – there was a secret bar downstairs, so the first-half wasn’t a complete write-off.

As for the second-half? Well, Billy took off Pep and moved Cohen into midfield. Much needed. We then activated beast mode by bringing on everyone’s favourite £17k-a-week-carthorse Ishmael Miller. Unfortunately, beast mode was broken – as it has been his entire Forest career – and we lost 2-1. Meh.

The need for a goal poacher intensifies…

However, a few questions still remain from the day: What’s the litter-to-ground ratio in Wigan compared to back in 2003? Why does The Camel talk in third person – and how would a prospective conversation between him and Billy Davies flow? Will the Forest club-shop scrap their order for 3,000 ‘Beast Mode On’ t-Shirts?

Adios. I’m off to have Dave Whelan’s face tattooed down my back and bum.

You can follow Steven on Twitter:
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Image: Courtesy of franky242/

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