Raimondo Ponte is not a name that will be too fondly remembered by those of a Nottingham Forest persuasion. To fans of a certain age, however, they will remember the Swiss striker forming part of Brian Clough’s squad during the 1980/81 campaign.
In a recent interview with Swiss publication Le Temps, Ponte has claimed that leaving the City Ground was the biggest regret of his career.
Now 64-years-old, the former striker has claimed that he opted to walk away from Forest on the back of a conversation with his national boss.
Ponte managed 34 caps for his country but nonetheless, he says that leaving the Reds was the biggest mistake of his career.
He told Le Temps: “I left because of Leo Walker (then manager of Switzerland). He told me that I couldn’t play for the national team if I didn’t play more often. I had played 24 games but for Mr Walker that wasn’t enough. I made the biggest mistake of my career by listening to him.
“Nottingham, that was fantastic! There were world-class level players at Forest like Peter Shilton, Trevor Francis, John Robertson and the stadium was always full.”
Ponte would leave the Reds to sign for SC Bastia and perhaps ironically he played fewer games there than he did for Forest.
Playing under legendary boss
Of course, Le Temps asked Ponte about playing under legendary boss Clough and he was extremely complimentary of the twice European Cup-winning manager.
He continued: “He was a very good coach and a very special man. He knew exactly how to manage the group and gave responsibility to all his players. In the end, it was rather simple; you were good, you played, and if you weren’t, you were on the bench.”
Following retirement, Ponte went into management and became something of a journeyman gaffer. He managed several teams in his homeland including FC Zurich, Sion and FA Aarau.
Ponte also said later in the Le Temps piece that he still follows Forest with some interest and hopes to see the club return to the Premier League one day in the future.