Forest Ever Forest – Q&A with Chris Broughton
For Christmas 2001 I was gifted a new Forest book entitled ‘Forest Ever Forest’. At the time I had been a season ticket holder in the Trent End for a couple of season and had started to follow Forest everywhere they went.
The book would become as close to a Forest Bible as I could get. It relived the tales of Forest fan Chris Broughton on his own personal Forest adventures dating back to the 1966/67 season right through to the present day (2001). It fascinated me because it was through the eyes of a normal fan who just happened to have lived through some incredible times.
In the days before the internet had arrived in my house and prior to many of the fan forums and the rise of social media I knew little about what had come before the nineties. Of course I had learned of our European Cup exploits and some of the other major achievements but not a great deal else.
‘Forest Ever Forest’ introduced me to many new things – the exciting team of the late sixties, the despair of the early seventies and then the most dramatic lift-off under Clough and Taylor followed by the often forgotten period through the early 80’s to Clough’s second great side. I remained just as hooked as it began to tread into my territory as a young lad in the nineties.
What really made me love the book, however, was the stories and anecdotes that went with each season. The regular violence at games, Football Specials and travelling to games, the various characters who would be encountered following Forest and , most of all, the songs. Oh those glorious songs.
Each chapter is named after a terrace chant of the era and it was a huge eye opener to read about this huge back catalogue of songs. In the book the demise of the original and inventive chants is a recurring theme and it has stuck with me ever since.
Chris lists all the songs in the back of the book in an ‘A-Z of Trent End Chants and Anthems’ which is a great read in itself.
I’ve recommended the book to many over the years but it has seldom been available bar the odd inflated copy on eBay. It’s nice to hear Chris is re-releasing it and I hope some of you will acquire a copy. As I’ve indicated you don’t need to have been around at the time to enjoy it – it’s a heart-warming, often inspiring read that relives the good and the bad of 35 years.
And, in the current climate where we are without live football, it serves as a tremendous reminder how great it is to be a football fan.
The author of ‘Forest Ever Forest’ was kind enough to answer a few questions for us on his book.
1. While there are numerous books written about Nottingham Forest this is one of only a couple I of that comes from a supporter perspective. There are some glorious tales not just watching Forest but travelling to games and the social scene around the football. What convinced you to write it in the first place in prior to its original release in 2001?
By the mid-1990s, I’d already been following Forest for around 35 seasons and had a wealth of memories, not just about the ‘Reds’, but also the rituals which went on alongside the actual football itself. Me and my pals had had a whale of a time following the ‘Reds’ the length and breadth of the country and Europe, accumulating a wealth of fond memories along the way.
However, although there were many of these books on offer about the ‘Reds’; everyone of them was written purely through the eyes of a reporter, commentator, manager or player. There were, as far I could see, none which had been written through the eyes of a true and loyal supporter.
In those days footballers were already a pampered bunch, travelling all over the place in luxury coaches and jet aeroplanes; arriving at their top-of-the-range destinations in a mere couple of hours or so, before getting out there onto the pitch to strut their stuff. All the players have to do is to get on the coach and hey-presto, they are arriving at their destination just a short while later.
On the other hand, however, many fans may have had to book holiday from work and dig deeply into their pockets for match tickets and various other associated costs only to end up having their very own “Port Vale on a Tuesday night” experience and seeing their team get thrashed hundreds of miles away from home on a wet and windy evening in October. Only the wit and humour of your fellow supporters can see you through that experience!
So, pen in hand (well, computer), I decided to put things right and gradually, after four years of writing the 408-page manuscript and banging on the doors of book-shops all over Nottingham and beyond, Forest Ever Forest was born. I’m pleased to say that over the following 20 years it’s sold all of its three- and-a-half thousand copies and all of the feedback and reviews I’ve received have been very positive indeed.
2. In the book you take us through every season from 1966/77 to 2000/01. Putting the on the pitch success to one side is there a favourite season you have out of all them as a fan?
It’s got to be 1977/78, after seeing the ‘Reds’ barnstorm their way to the English First Division title with a breath-taking brand of counter-attacking football no-one had seen the like of before. This was truly the beginning of the golden era for us, with thousands packing the City Ground every week and travelling all over the country in massive numbers.
Don’t forget, in addition to that we had also beaten Liverpool in the League Cup Final following a replay at Old Trafford. I was so overwhelmed by the end of that game, I stood and cried!
I must also mention the European Cup Campaigns of 1978/79 and 1979/80 which elevated Forest to the absolute pinnacle of European Football.
In 1978/79 we beat Southampton 3-2 at Wembley in the League Cup Final at Wembley, which was real ‘Roy of the Rovers’ stuff for me, not only because we won, but because one of my mates from Chilwell in Nottingham (where we were both brought up) scored two goals that day and even managed to make it back to Chilwell in time for a few celebratory pints in the Cadland Pub in the village.
There’s not many days of the week you can boast you’ve just seen one of your friends win the League Cup for his home-town Club Nottingham Forest! I’m sure you’ll have guessed by now the name of that player was of course…Garry Birtles!
Oh, and by the way, there was the small matter of going onto win the European Cup Final against Malmoe of Sweden at the Olympic Stadium in Munich on 30th May 1979!
This was followed by a further European Cup Final victory against SV Hamburg of Germany in the fantastic Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid the following year.
We also came Runners-Up in the League Cup Final against Wolves at Wembley Stadium, losing 1-0 on 15th March 1980.
3. At the time of its release before the internet had really taken hold this book was a revelation to me with the repertoire of songs and chants you include throughout. And the declining atmosphere was a running theme you picked up on in the later seasons. What happened do you think to those original and varied songs?
Well……..I don’t really know, but I have at least one theory.
Back in the 1960’s – when even I was young – I’d say the majority of the best Trent End songs and anthems were born. These are the ones still remembered by older fans and chronicled in my book Forest Ever Forest.
This decade was unique really and remembered more for its ‘Sex, Drugs and ‘Rock’n’Roll’ than for its football. However, back on Trent-Side the 9,000 Trent Enders were churning their songs out at a frightening pace. They sang them in unison, one after another, from the very beginning of each game, right to the very end. They were adamant that, if anybody didn’t join in, there’d be hell to pay.
By the end of the 1970s, fashions were changing, people were getting older and a new phenomenon – Skin Heads – had arrived in a big way, bringing with it its designer clothes and Tamla MoTown Music!
As the Skin Heads were moving into the Trent End, the “Long-Haired Scruffy Youths” as they were often referred to in the Matchday programme gradually left the Trent End and many of the older Forest fans stopped singing the old songs. The new breed of Trent Ender was much more inclined to get involved with football hooliganism than making up ‘soppy’ songs about the ‘Reds’ and simply dropped many of them from their repertoire.
4. You have a ‘A-Z of Trent End Chants and Anthems’ listed at the back of the book – give us a few of your personal favourites…
These are my personal favourites:
- City Ground, oh mist rolling in from the Trent.
- Forest Ever Forest, all our hopes are with you.
- Come on and cheer again, Come on and cheer again.
- Aye-oh, Aye-oh, We are the Trent End Boys.
- We don’t care we’re Forest fans, Do-Dah, Do-Dah.
See Chapter 37 of Forest Ever Forest: “The A to Z of Trent End Chants And Anthems”, and Pages 401 to 405 for each of the other hilarious ditties.
My absolute favourite of all time is number 1 on the list above and second favourite is ‘Forest Ever Forest’.
5. You talk about this in the book but tell us about the inspiration behind its title.
Chapter 1 in the book, entitled “Forest Ever Forest, All our hopes are with you”.
To quote directly from the book:
“One of the earliest Trent End Anthems, “Forest Ever Forest”, is still sung today although, somewhat frustratingly, the first verse seemed to vanish into thin air about fifteen years ago, never to be heard from again. Sung to the tune of “Land of Hope and Glory”, it goes:
Forest Ever Forest,
All our hopes are with you,
True supporters forever,
‘til our days are through,
Through the seasons before us,
Down through history,
We will follow the Forest,
6. Nearly twenty years on from its release did you ever envisage we would have still not returned to the top flight?
No, it’s very hard to fathom just what’s gone wrong over this period. Personally, I think we’ve been too quick to sack our managers so there has been very little continuity and structure put in place at the Club. Quite simply, to flourish and get into the Premiership and (or even in the Championship to a lesser extent), the Club needs to be a Premiership outfit from the very top to the very bottom of its hierarchy. The Club just hasn’t managed it, I’m sorry to say.
7. When you consider a generation of Forest fans have grown up since 2001 seeing no real success at all (one promotion from the third tier) how fortunate do you feel to have witnessed those days not just in the 70’s & 80’s but also very, very good sides in the late 60’s and mid 90’s?
It’s true to say I feel blessed to have been alive and well during this incredible period in the Club’s history and following the ‘Reds’ all over this country and Europe. And how many ordinary fans can say that in their lifetime they’ve seen their team win back-to-back European Cup Finals, followed them to Wembley 10 times to see them win a shed load of domestic trophies including League Cup victories over Liverpool, Southampton, Luton Town, and Oldham Athletic, and Runners-Up in that same competition to Wolves and Man United, and FA Cup Final Runner’s Up against Spurs. We also won the Simod Cup Final against Everton and the Zenith Data Trophy against Southampton during this period. Cor Blimey, I’m well out of breath now!
One thing I’d like to say to the Forest Faithful is “Get hold of this book and have a good old read; I swear it’ll put a spring in your step and a smile on your face – guaranteed!
And one very last thing: On 28th May 2020, it’s the 40th Anniversary of Forest’s back-to-back European Cup Final victories. Why not commemorate this incredible feat, by having a good old read about it in Forest Ever Forest! (This is now available from Amazon Books and is printed to order.)
Thanks to Chris. You can get a copy of ‘Forest Ever Forest’ via Amazon at the following link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forest-Ever-Fans-Eye-View/dp/0954069900