I said earlier this season that my collect of Nottingham Forest goals for this regular column would be a mixture of bangers, sentiment, finesse and, in some cases, for no real reason.

Well, the one I’ve chosen for the latest instalment can be filed firmly in the sentimental category.

Marlon King checked in at Forest from Gillingham in 2003, chosen as the man with the thankless task of replacing fan favourite Marlon Harewood.

The academy graduate had joined West Ham United in the day before transfer windows existed and Forest moved quickly to sign King.

It’s fair to say that supporters weren’t happy at the departure of Harewood and replacing him with King was hardly seen as adequate in the eyes of the fan base.

It didn’t help that the striker managed just one goal in his first six appearances for the Reds as he struggled to adapt to life in the Championship.

Derby County v Nottingham Forest
(Photo; Clive Brunskill; Getty Images)

King’s work rate was never in question but for a long time he just seemed short of the required quality when it came to replacing Harewood.

A game against West Ham when emotions were high, gave the talisman something to remember fondly from his time at Forest.

The game, shown live on Sky during a Sunday lunchtime, came just six days after the death of Brian Clough. It was Forest’s first game since his passing and the City Ground was sombre to say the least.

Supporters had been asked to wear green as a nod towards the legendary manager’s famous attire. His jumper proved symbolic during his time at Forest and the City Ground was awash with green.


Forest hadn’t started that particular season too well and when Harewood fired the Hammers into the lead with 30 minutes remaining, the task looked impossible.

West Ham were the league’s big hitters and in Teddy Sheringham and Harewood they had a strike-force to be feared.

Supporters rallied and backed the players profusely. The noise increased ten-fold and when Paul Evans smashed an unstoppable effort into the net in front of the Trent End, Forest had lift-off.

A point would have been a decent result in fairness but the men in Garibaldi didn’t want a point, they wanted to win it for Clough – and boy did they do that.

With 93 minutes on the clock Andy Reid fired a long ball to King. He was one-on-one with a defender and this was his moment.

With time all but up he flicked the ball onto his right foot and with options limited curled an unstoppable effort beyond Stephen Bywater’s outstretched palm and into the net.

I watched the highlights on YouTube for this piece and the footage doesn’t really do it justice.

Being positioned in the Upper Trent behind the goal frame, it seemed to reach the net in slow motion.

There wasn’t a lot of power on the shot and for a short time it seemed as though it might be meat and drink for the goalkeeper.

The longer it hung in the air though, the more it became clear it was destined for the net.


I always say the goal and on such an occasion deserved a better celebration from King.

He was clearly hot under the collar over some of the stick he has been getting from supporters since signing for the club.

Nottingham Forest v Fulham
(Photo; Shaun Botterill; Getty Images)

King past a petulant glance towards the Trent End as David Johnson came and jumped on him in jubilation.

Clough wouldn’t have welcome such an attitude on his watch and King was out of the City Ground after just 11 goals in 52 appearances.

It was a great way to send the man who conquered Europe twice off in style though and King will always be able to cherish his stoppage-time winner against a quality West Ham side.

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