The word ‘legend’ is always thrown around rather loosely, but it’s fair to say the top appearance makers at Nottingham Forest very much are that.

To offer footballing service for such prolonged periods of time is always worthy of recognition and highlights a number of things.

It highlights loyalty, it highlights ability and it highlights consistency – everything which is valued deeply within the game.

Here are the five top appearance makers within Forest history and all of them have had a huge impact on making the team what it is today.

John Robertson Forest
European Cup Semi Final First Leg match at the City Ground. Nottingham Forest 2 v Ajax 0. John Robertson of Forest slips away from his Ajax marker, 9th April 1980. (Photo by Williams/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

5. John Robertson – 514

Quite simply, the club’s best ever player and one who certainly would’ve won the Ballon d’Or had he played for a more lucrative side.

With Robertson on the left wing, Forest had a magician at the helm and someone who, under Brian Clough, was one of the best in Europe.

Robertson won seven major trophies with Forest – including the two European Cups, which he was pivotal in – assisting the winner in the first and scoring the winner in the second.

In total, he scored 95 goals for the Reds and really, should have a statue outside The City Ground.

Stuart Pearce Forest
18/05/1991 FA Cup Final, Wembley, Nottingham Forest v Tottenham Hotspur, Nigel Clough (far right) turns to celebrate after Stuart Pearce had scored for Forest. (Photo by Mark Leech/Getty Images)

4. Stuart Pearce – 522

Someone else who should probably have a statue is Pearce, with the left back still arguably the most popular player to pull on a Garibaldi top.

Nicknamed ‘Psycho’ by an adoring Forest fanbase, Pearce was loved for his tough tackling, intense passion and ferocious ability.

A staggering return of 88 goals from left back says everything about his attacking play, with Pearce well ahead of his time for his position.

Pearce gave 12 seasons to the club and won the League Cup on two occasions in a Forest shirt.

Steve Chettle Forest
12 Dec 1998: Nottingham Forest captain Steve Chettle argues with referee Mike Riley during the FA Carling Premiership match against Leicester City at Filbert Street in Leicester, England. Leicester won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Alex Livesey /Allsport

3. Steve Chettle – 526

A Nottingham boy, Chettle lived the dream as he got to represent his side a staggering 526 times, while also winning major silverware.

 

Like Pearce, Chettle was a part of those League Cup winning sides in 1989 and 1990, while he also won the Championship (equivalent) in 1998.

Chettle played for the club as a defender from 1986 to 1999 and was perhaps unlucky to never receive a full England cap.

He was also part of the 1994/95 Forest side that finished third in the Premier League.

Ian Bowyer
15 September 1979 Football League Division One, Norwich City v Nottingham Forest, Ian Bowyer of Forest wins the ball. (Photo by /Mark Leech Sports Photography/Getty Images)

2. Ian Bowyer – 564

Nicknamed ‘Bomber’, Bowyer was a trusted player of Clough and was a crucial part in Forest’s fairy tale success story.

Bowyer was actually signed two years before Clough arrived in 1975 and with some pedigree, but was soon taken to a level beyond his wildest dreams.

Under Clough, Bowyer won seven major trophies and his goal against Koln to send Forest to the 1979 European Cup final is still spoken about today.

Bowyer left in 1981, but came back in 1982 and in total, made 564 appearances for the club.

Bob McKinlay
British soccer player Bob McKinlay (1932 2002) of Nottingham Forest FC, UK, 22nd July 1968. (Photo by R. Viner/Daily Express/Getty Images)

1. Bob McKinlay – 685

A no-nonsense centre half, McKinlay gave his whole career to the club as he followed in the footsteps of his uncle Billy, who also represented Forest.

McKinlay not only helped Forest get to the First Division, but he was also a part of the 1966/67 side that fell agonisingly short and as runners-up to Manchester United.

However, McKinlay did have other notable success at the club – namely the 1959 FA Cup, which is still the last time the Reds won the trophy.

McKinlay played an incredible 685 times for the club, scoring just the 10 goals, with his exemplary service unlikely to be topped.

Will there be another player to break this top five for Nottingham Forest?

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