The concept for a supporter driven movement amongst the NFFC fanbase sprang out of the 150th anniversary during the 2015/16 season. With little effort from the club to embrace the milestone a small number of us organised a day of celebration on April 2nd 2016 before a home fixture against Brentford. In typical Forest fashion, we lost 3-0.
Hundreds met in the old Clinton Arms where the club was formed in 1865 and many more set off from the Brian Clough statue just off the Old Market Square towards the ground in a mass walk. The momentum and positivity created that day was the beginning of what would become Forza Garibaldi.
Created in the summer of 2016 the campaign focussed on a primary aim of reinvigorating the atmosphere at Forest games and introducing a bigger match day experience around the 90 minutes on the pitch. The latter is predominantly done via various pre-match occasions both home and away where fans congregate to drink and sing together. Camaraderie and a spirit amongst the supporters is at the heart of these meets.
For those of us who spearhead this movement we have all cherished the social side of following Forest. Most of us are friends through attending games and the atmosphere is of the utmost importance to us all. It remains a major part of our passion for Nottingham Forest. The community angle, while not particularly one of our original goals, has become a major part of this and fans seem to have bought into the rather simple notion of meeting and socialising with their fellow supporters.
While the gatherings bring an enjoyable few hours they also are intended to provide a spark to the atmosphere. The noise and the fervour created before the game continues with us into the stands. Inside the ground the noise has understandably suffered due to a prolonged period of poor performances and results. Inevitably the two are always linked to some extent. Where we have had some success so far is with the visual displays, particularly those on a large scale in the Trent End.
With the prospect of a brighter future ahead for the club we are looking to continue to develop something that brings Forest fans together and develops a new level of backing for the team. There is no blueprint for how we do this, no grand plan. We feel that our role is to add a touch of organisation to help the atmosphere along but to allow it to grow naturally. The last thing we want is some cheap, manufactured effort which we all see in many other grounds. If this is your bag then our rivals down the Brian Clough Way are pioneers in this field. Avoiding becoming like them is always somewhere in our thinking.
Forza Garibaldi aims to take the support at NFFC in a fresh direction without falling into the trap of doing what every other set of supporters do. In many ways we look at how support in English football used to be and aim to revitalise that type of atmosphere in a modern setting. The ultra-factions that have introduced more life into grounds but are not something we are striving to emulate.
We will continue to stress that Forza Garibaldi is not a closed group. Any Forest fan is welcome to become involved and contribute. We get that this isn’t for everybody. If you aren’t interested in what we are offering then we shouldn’t get in your way too much. We don’t claim to represent the entire fan base and nor do we want to. We hope that FG can be viewed as an umbrella for all fans to participate should they so wish but the choice is down to the individual.
The idea is to create something special at Forest: a fan-led initiative to drive the support and to inspire the team. We want to be original and to forge a reputation as one of the leading sets of fans in the country. And we want you to join us.
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