After nine league games without a win, Stuart Pearce’s Nottingham Forest side grabbed all three points in a dramatic 2-1 win over Norwich City. Steven the Camel offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…


“There are never any new ideas,” a great man once said. “Only old ideas that have been re-packaged.”

That great man was, of course, yours truly. Lady Gaga’s meat dress, for example.

Cast your mind back to the 80s. It’s a freezing cold autumn evening and you’re huddled around the fire – but thanks to Thatcher you’ve got no milk to warm up on the stove and no coal to burn, so instead you’re forced to sacrifice your mum’s favourite LPs.

“No Mikey, no – please not Led Zeppelin,” she cries as you gleefully sacrifice Immigrant Song to the god of fire.

She begins to weep uncontrollably and, as the battery-powered radio plays in the background, you grab her hand, give it a comforting squeeze and start to belt out the Paul Young’s classic: ‘Everytime you go away, you take a piece of meat with you’.

“Just listen to these lyrics mother. This 80s pop funster is years ahead of his time. Listen to how he passionately champions the benefits of having a prime cut of meat on your person at all times.”

“I think we should talk about putting you into care Mikey.”

Anyway, I digress. Gaga? Innovative? I think not.

What has all this got to do with a football match you ask? Not much. However, Paul Young also sang ‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home’ – and never has a truer word been said about the comforts of familiar surroundings.

Forest came into the game on Saturday looking to break the shackles of what seems like an eternity without a win. Rumoured murmurings of discontent were doing the rounds, and even though these had little or no substance, it’s always a worrying sight when those imaginary buzzards start to circle.

Worrying sight? Imaginary buzzards? That’s possibly the best sentence I’ve ever written.

Anyway, pre-match entertainment consisted of drinks with my mate from Greece (the country not the film). Although strangely enough he did challenge me to a drag race over Trent Bridge at half-time.

I was also partaking in a beverage or two with a Norwich fan that had travelled up for the day, and an American who’d flown in just hours before. This eclectic metaphorical mix of olive oil, cider and unwarranted military responses inevitably lead to some interesting debate around the current Forest team and their woes, though we all agreed that today was a must win game for both sides.

We actually started the game quite well for a side that hasn’t won a game of football since cattle was legal tender. The heavy rain was making passing tricky, but we looked dangerous. Ince fired just over, and little Sharon Osborn in midfield actually passed the ball forward a few times. ‘Scenes’ as the kids would say.

Just as it was looking like we’d make the breakthrough we shot ourselves in the foot — Lascelles backing off to allow Howson to fire into the corner. Another soft goal to add to this season’s warm winter catalogue.

Here’s a radical thought – instead of backing off all the time, why not attempt a tackle? It sounds crazy I know, but I didn’t get the nickname of ‘the modern day Archimedes’ for not challenging the status quo.

Half-time came and went, and as I pondered upon possible substitutions a crazy thing happened – Pearce went for it. None of this ‘waiting until 10 minutes to go’ nonsense. Early subs and a change of shape. Exactly what the game was crying out for.

Full credit to my boyhood hero Pearce for also spotting that Dan Harding offers as much to a game of football as David Blunkett does to a colouring-in competition.

Enough of the vitriol! Let’s get positive! Paterson was excellent when he came on at half-time, and Angela Lansbury made some telling sleuth-like passes as the game wore on.

From the moment Britt turned in a Fryatt cross, the crowd could sense something magical was about to happen — and so it came to pass. The Turtle ‘Michael Angelo’ — or whatever his name is — popping up at the far post to bang home the winner, three minutes into injury time.

I’m not sure my Norwich friend appreciated me diving on him. He certainly didn’t appreciate the passionate kiss. It was an emotional conclusion to a rain-soaked day.

Three points + a horrific run of form ended. I’m hoping this will now be a turning point, not only for Forest’s season but for my life too. I’m 36 now – I shouldn’t be carrying pieces of meat around in my coat pocket, nor should I be lecturing the masses on the merits of playing a 2-3-5 formation at home. I doubt anyone will listen for much longer. I’d love to be able to promise that my next fan review will have a more acceptable nonsense to football ratio – but that would be a complete lie.

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Image: Courtesy of franky242/

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