Dougie Freedman continued his near-perfect start as Nottingham Forest manager, as the Reds came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1. Steven the Camel offers a fan’s eye view from the City Ground…

Has there ever been a more inspiring story than the sensational rise to fame of Popstars funsters Hear’Say?

I remember being so excited at the release of their debut single Pure and Simple that I queued for hours at my local Woolworths the night prior to its release.

2001 was the year that Kim, Noel, Suzanne, Myleene and the fat one burst onto the scene, laying waste to all around them – but where are they all now you ask?

I’m not sure about the others, but I recently caught up with Hear’Say’s most talented member – Noel Sullivan. He was propping up a hotel bar in Leicester. It was 3am on a Wednesday morning and he was dunking a malted milk biscuit into a pint of San Miguel. Things have not turned out well for him.

I watched him dunk that biscuit over and over before it eventually crumbled into his pint. A tear ran down his cheek. I could stand it no longer. I approached him with caution:

“Noel,” I whispered. “Noel, do you realise that biscuit lasted over 10 minutes before crumbling? That’s sensational. Would you like a slice of ham?”

“What? Who are you,” he replied sternly. “And why have you been staring at me all evening?”

I put my arm around his shoulder, gently wiping his tear away with my mittens.

“Feast on this ham Noel, and sing these words with me…. Where ever you go. I want to be there. Whatever you do. You know I’m gonna be there. It’s pure and simple (yeah, yeah). I’ll be there for you.”

We sang, arm in arm, until the sun came up. During the time we polished off 17 pints of beer, three packs of biscuits and a roll of uncooked French ham.

I’ll never forget the last words he said to me before his dad picked him up:

“Why did you queue overnight for our single Mr Camel? You could have just downloaded it.”

He was right. Besides which, Woolworths was knocked down years before. I guess I just don’t react well to change.

Speaking of which, what a change we’ve seen on Trentside in recent weeks. The latest team to try and tackle the Freedmania revolution came in the shape of free-flowing Bournemouth. They certainly have a footballing identity. A Bourne-mouth identity, if you will.

Passing with a tempo not seen on Trentside since the days of David Friio, homing pigeon Eddie Howe is busy creating his own legacy on the south coast. A curling effort from Andrew ‘The Vicar’ Surman gave the Cherries the lead after just three minutes. Forest were doing well just to hang on at 1-0 with Bournemouth very much in the supremacy (ok that one was weak, I admit).

Now we were being passed off the park, however we stuck brilliantly to our game plan of 27 men behind the ball and trying to bore them to death. I jest of course, but the game plan worked. Lascelles smashed in an equaliser from a corner and the game was tied at ones (as my American friend Dom would say).

It was at that moment I decided to issue Freedman with an ultimatum – don’t let in a goal whilst I popped to the bar. Dougie didn’t only oblige, he issued Angela Lansbury with the order to take the lead with a spectacular free-kick.

I ran down to the concourse:

“You, bar rodent,” I screamed. “Issue me with one of your fruity cocktails immediately.”

I’m still not sure what she served me, but I can’t remember much of the second-half put it that way.

Forest kept their shape and saw the game out. Even a late cameo from Big Lars gave me the giggles. He really is a specimen isn’t he? Almost eight-feet tall and I’ve not seen him win a header yet. Brilliant. I’d give him a 10-year contract immediately if I were in charge.

Anyway, so I’m sat outside a crumbled building which used to be Woolworths. They still haven’t cleaned the rubble up, yet unsurprisingly enough it’s not the worst-looking building in Eastwood. I sift through the wreckage of the world’s greatest superstore and what do I find? Only a Led Zeppelin LP and a DVD of the French Cattle Strike of 1991. Weird. There’s my night sorted then.

Every Bourne film referenced – tick.

Ham and biscuits referenced – tick

Classic pop-based ludicrous story – tick.

Review complete. Mission accomplished. Until next time Camelletes.


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