Catching up with Not­ting­ham For­est’s 1979 Euro­pean Cup win­ners

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Neil Fissler

TREVOR FRAN­CIS has re­vealed that Not­ting­ham For­est took a mas­sive gam­ble – by play­ing Bri­tain’s first mil­lion pound foot­baller with­out in­sur­ing him!

Brian Clough shat­tered the Bri­tish trans­fer record – pre­vi­ously the £500,000 that West Bromwich Al­bion had paid to Mid­dles­brough for David Mills – to sign the Eng­land striker.

Fran­cis was in­jured prior to his move from Birm­ing­ham and jumped at the chance of some match prac­tice just 24 hours later.

The first team game, how­ever, was called off so he made his de­but for For­est’s third team – against lo­cal ri­vals Notts County in the Mid­lands In­ter­me­di­ate League!

Such was the rush to get the trans­fer com­pleted, For­est weren’t able to get him in­sured to play – but went ahead and took the risk any­way.

Fran­cis told The FLP: “I can understand to many peo­ple it looked strange that I was making my de­but for the third team on a park pitch – in front of 20 peo­ple against Notts County.

“A lot of peo­ple would have looked on a £1m foot­baller play­ing on a park pitch and thought it strange, but it was a bonus for me to have the chance to get a lit­tle bit of match prac­tice. I had a few in­juries in my ca­reer but in this one I didn’t get in­jured – it was a good job as For­est hadn’t in­sured me!”

Fran­cis ad­mits that what he didn’t know when sign­ing was that he wouldn’t be able to play in the Euro­pean Cup un­til the fi­nal, if they reached it – be­cause of UEFA’s reg­is­tra­tion rules. So he had to watch the quar­ter-fi­nal against Swiss side Grasshop­pers and the semi against Ger­many’s Cologne from the side­lines.

But as soon as For­est won through to face Swe­den’s Malmo in the Mu­nich fi­nal, he was free to take his place in the side.

And on the stroke of half-time he paid back most of the mil­lion pound fee by head­ing the only goal of the game.

“Ian Bowyer played a ball out wide to John Robertson. Cloughie al­ways used to tell me when I was play­ing out wide to get into the back post when John got the ball on the other flank,” said Fran­cis.

“Nine times out of ten he would go past his full-back and de­liver a ball into the box.When he got the ball, I re­alised I had a lot of ground to make up and had to get mo­tor­ing.

“And as that ball came into the box I had to make sure I got a good con­nec­tion to put it back to­wards where it had come from.

“I could get very good ac­cu­racy with my right foot but I wasn’t so good with my head. For­tu­nately, it flew in.”

The rest is history... 1. John Robertson: The winger was as­sis­tant man­ager to Martin O’Neill at Wy­combe, Nor­wich, Le­ices­ter, Celtic and As­ton Villa. 2. Martin O’Neill: The North­ern Ire­land mid­fielder has man­aged Wy­combe, Nor­wich, Le­ices­ter, Celtic, As­ton Villa, Sun­der­land and now the Repub­lic of Ire­land. 3. Ian Bowyer: Mid­fielder who has man­aged Here­ford United, was as­sis­tant man­ager of Plymouth and Rother­ham. Has coached at For­est and scouted. 4. Tony Wood­cock: Striker who now works for a fi­nance com­pany. Is agent for his son-in-law, Eng­land rugby in­ter­na­tional Mike Brown. 5. Frank Clark: The full-back served For­est as coach, man­ager, chair­man and am­bas­sador. Also man­aged Ley­ton Ori­ent and Manch­ester City and is vicechair­man of the League Man­agers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (LMA). 6. Kenny Burns: The de­fender has worked as a news­pa­per colum­nist, af­ter-din­ner speaker and en­ter­tained match day guests at the City Ground. 7. Trevor Fran­cis: Striker who has man­aged QPR, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Birm­ing­ham and Crys­tal Palace and has worked on tele­vi­sion for Sky and BT. 8. Ken Smales: Played county cricket for York­shire and Not­ting­hamshire, join­ing For­est in 1958 un­til his re­tire­ment 35 years later. Died in March 2015, aged 87. 9. Colin Bar­rett: Full-back who be­came a painter and dec­o­ra­tor from his base in South­well, where he now works as a house painter. 10. David Need­ham: The cen­tral de­fender is now a suc­cess­ful businessman in Le­ices­ter, where he was chair­man of Hinck­ley and runs a com­pany that makes plas­tic signs. 11. Peter Shilton: Eng­land’s rep­cord ap­pear­ance holder with 125 caps, the leg­endary goal­keeper man­aged Plymouth. Spent three weeks on Danc­ing on Ice in 2010. Now a mo­ti­va­tional and af­ter-din­ner speaker. 12. Chris Woods: Was goal­keeper coach at Ever­ton and Manch­ester United as well as with the USA na­tional team. Now work­ing for West Ham United. 13. Viv An­der­son: Full-back who was Eng­land’s first black in­ter­na­tional. He was as­sis­tant man­ager at Mid­dles­brough, runs a sports travel busi­ness and is an FA am­bas­sador. 14. John O’Hare: Striker who ran a pub and sold in­sur­ance be­fore go­ing to work for Toy­ota in Derby, where he is a part-time chauf­feur. Also a For­est club am­bas­sador. 15. Jimmy Gor­don: Wing-half ei­ther side of World War Two. Coached un­der Clough and Tay­lor at a num­ber of clubs. Died in Au­gust 1996, aged 80. 16. Garry Bir­tles: Striker who was a for­mer car­pen­ter. He had a fish busi­ness in Grimsby but is now a tele­vi­sion pun­dit and writes a news­pa­per col­umn. 17. John McGovern: Mid­fielder who man­aged Bolton and Rother­ham and was as­sis­tant man­ager of Plymouth. He also worked for lo­cal ra­dio and is a For­est club am­bas­sador. 18. Peter Tay­lor: Clough’s side­kick who also man­aged Bur­ton Al­bion, Brighton and Derby County. Died of a heart at­tack while on hol­i­day in Ma­jorca in Oc­to­ber 1990, aged 62. 19. Stu­art Dry­den: The For­est chair­man was a for­mer Gre­nadier Guard and ran a sub­post of­fice in Rud­ding­ton. 20. Brian Clough: Man­aged For­est be­tween 1975 and 1993. The leg­endary man­ager died in Septem­ber 2004, aged 69, af­ter a bat­tle with can­cer. 21. Larry Lloyd: Cen­tral de­fender who had spells in man­age­ment with Wi­gan and Notts County. He ran a bar in Not­ting­ham and Spain, where he has re­tired. 22. Archie Gem­mill: Mid­fielder who coached at For­est but is now re­tired af­ter spells man­ag­ing Scot­land youth teams. NOT PIC­TURED Steve El­liott: For­ward who lives in Ful­wood, Pre­ston. He has man­aged leisure cen­tres for South Rib­ble Bor­ough Coun­cil and now works for Net­work Rail. Bryn Gunn: De­fender still based in Not­ting­ham, where he played for and coached Non-League Arnold Town. Cur­rently drives a van for cal­i­bra­tion com­pany SGS. Daugh­ter Jenny and son Luke have both played cricket for Eng­land – the lat­ter in the in­door for­mat. Peter Withe: Eng­land striker who man­aged Wim­ble­don be­fore tak­ing charge of Thai­land and In­done­sia, Now coaches Nakhon Pathom United in Thai­land. Gary Mills: De­fender who has man­aged a num­ber of clubs, in­clud­ing York and Notts County. Now in charge of Wrex­ham.























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