We catch up with Not­ting­ham For­est’s 1976-77 pro­mo­tion team

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Neil Fissler

STEVE WIGNALL ad­mits he can­not look at the Not­ting­ham For­est team photo of 197677 with­out won­der­ing what might have been.

Wignall joined For­est on loan at the start of what turned out to be the start of some­thing spe­cial at the City Ground when Brian Clough led them to pro­mo­tion and the An­glo-Scot­tish Cup.

Within a sea­son, they were First Di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons. Backto-back Euro­pean Cups fol­lowed all with­out Wignall, who was de­nied the chance to im­press.

The Liver­pool-born young­ster was sent off at the end of the 1975-76 sea­son and the sus­pen­sion was car­ried over, rul­ing him out of com­pet­i­tive ac­tion.

Clough de­cided to look else­where, send­ing Wignall back to Fourth Di­vi­sion Don­caster, but not un­til he had taken his place in the pre-sea­son team photo.

Wignall still curses his rush of blood and his spat with Richard Money which was to cost him his shot at the big time

“We played the last game of the sea­son against Scun­thorpe at home, a lo­cal derby which was al­ways keenly con­tested.

“I had heard a lit­tle ru­mour that Brian Clough was com­ing to watch me. He hadn’t long been in charge at For­est.

“Terry Cur­ran, one of my old play­ing mates, was there and tipped me the wink they were in­ter­ested. Stan (An­der­son, Don­caster man­ager) didn’t tell me any­thing, as usual.

“I was only on the pitch for two or three min­utes and got sent off. I think it was one of the quick­est dis­missals at the time.

“It was noth­ing to be proud of and, even worse, Cloughie was there to watch me. He asked to take me on loan and I would join the team on their pre-sea­son tour of Ger­many.

“Stan asked if I’d be in­ter­ested. I hes­i­tated for a mil­lisec­ond and an­swered ‘yes’. It was the chance to play in a higher di­vi­sion.

“I was in­volved in all the games we played and did OK. Peter Tay­lor told me they were very pleased with my con­tri­bu­tion.

“My month-loan pe­riod was com­ing to an end, but un­for­tu­nately I hadn’t been able to play in the early-sea­son games back in Eng­land be­cause of my sus­pen­sion.

“This may have had a bear­ing on the fi­nal out­come, but I will never re­ally know. The man­ager and his as­sis­tant called me into their of­fice.

“And, after quite a long de­lib­er­a­tion, they said they had de­cided not to sign me. They felt I would be good enough but needed a bit more time to adapt to what was needed im­me­di­ately.

“I was dis­ap­pointed to say the least. I had felt this was my one chance to break into the big time. The achieve­ments of that For­est team are le­gendary.

“I still look at the team pho­to­graph taken that pre-sea­son and won­der “if only”. I was only 21 and felt I would have adapted.”

1. John Robert­son: Scot­land winger who won eight ma­jor tro­phies with For­est and worked as chief scout and as­sis­tant man­ager to Martin O’Neill at Wy­combe, Norwich, Le­ices­ter, Celtic and As­ton Villa.

2. Paul Richard­son: Mid­fielder who won pro­mo­tions with Stoke and Sh­effield United. De­spite talk­ing an in­sur­ance course, he spent many years work­ing for Bri­tish Tele­com un­til re­tir­ing.

3. Martin O’Neill: North­ern Ire­land mid­fielder who won two Euro­pean Cups un­der Clough be­fore go­ing into man­age­ment. Now man­ages the Republic of Ire­land.

4. Ian Bowyer: Mid­fielder who en­joyed suc­cess with Man City. Went into man­age­ment with Hereford United and held a num­ber of coach­ing and scout­ing posts. His son, Gary, man­ages Black­pool.

5. Brian Clough: The le­gendary Old Big ‘ead spent 18 years in charge at the City Ground un­til re­tir­ing in May 1993. He died of stom­ach cancer in Septem­ber 2004 in Derby, aged 69.

6. Colin Bar­rett: Full-back who scored twice in the An­glo-Scot­tish Cup fi­nal win over Ori­ent. He ran a pub and made snooker ta­bles, then be­came a painter and dec­o­ra­tor at South­well, Not­ting­ham.

7. Steve Wignall: Cen­tral de­fender who won a play-off fi­nal with Alder­shot. He later man­aged them, along with Colch­ester United, Steve­nage, Don­caster and Southend, be­fore be­com­ing a prop­erty de­vel­oper. 8. John Mid­dle­ton: Eng­land Un­der-21 goal­keeper and An­glo-Scot­tish Cup win­ner. Re­turned to Skeg­ness, run­ning the Kings Oak car­a­van park and later worked for Fen­land Laun­dries. He died in July 2016. 9. Peter Wells: Goal­keeper who helped Southamp­ton win pro­mo­tion to Di­vi­sion One. Now lives at Comp­ton Acres, nr West Bridg­ford after work­ing in the Mid­dle East oil in­dus­try. Is a taxi driver. 10. Barry But­lin: Cen­tre-for­ward who won pro­mo­tion with Lu­ton Town. Now an in­de­pen­dent fi­nan­cial ad­viser in Sher­wood. 11. Paul Ban­non: Cen­tre-back and League of Ire­land ti­tle win­ner with Cork City, where he set­tled, run­ning the FÁS Soc­cer Academy and on the FAI Emerg­ing Tal­ent pro­gramme. Died in Fe­bru­ary 2016. 12. Jimmy Gordon: The for­mer miner re­mained at the City Ground un­til re­tir­ing in 1981. He lived in re­tire­ment in Derby un­til his death after a bat­tle with Alzheimer’s in Au­gust 1996. 13. Terry Cur­ran: Winger who en­joyed suc­cess with Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, man­aged Goole and Moss­ley. He owned a trans­port cafe and mo­tel and pal­let busi­ness in West York­shire. 14. John McGovern: Mid­fielder who won a First Di­vi­sion ti­tle with Derby, man­aged Bolton, Rother­ham and Wok­ing, as­sis­tant at Ply­mouth and Hull. Worked for lo­cal ra­dio and has sold wine. 15. Sean Hasle­grave: Mid­fielder who won pro­mo­tions with Pre­ston and York then coached Torquay and Pre­ston, where he ran the cen­tre of ex­cel­lence, be­fore coach­ing Car­di­nal New­man Col­lege. 16. Bob Chap­man: Cen­tral de­fender who won a pro­mo­tion with Shrews­bury. Set­tled in Gotham, Notts, and has run Rush­cliffe Fenc­ing Ltd with his son, for­mer Notts crick­eter Robert. 17. John O’Hare: Scot­tish for­ward who won a First Di­vi­sion ti­tle with Derby. He ran a pub, worked for a firm of steel erec­tors then Toy­ota and scouted for O’Neill at Glas­gow Celtic and As­ton Villa. 18. Frank Clark: Full-back and FA Am­a­teur Cup win­ner who man­aged Ley­ton Ori­ent, For­est and Man City. He then spent a decade as vice-chair­man of the League Man­agers As­so­ci­a­tion and was For­est chair­man. 19. Glyn Saun­ders: Full-back who lost his place to child­hood friend Viv An­der­son. Stayed in Not­ting­ham and worked as a scaf­folder. NOT PIC­TURED Tony Woodcock: Eng­land striker who coached in Ger­many, worked as an agent, in fi­nan­cial ser­vices and ran a media com­pany with Viv An­der­son. Son-in-law is Eng­land rugby star Mike Brown. Bert Bow­ery: St Kitts-born striker worked in the Play­ers cig­a­rette fac­tory for 31 years. His son Jor­dan plays for Crewe Alexan­dra. Garry Bir­tles: Eng­land striker now work­ing as a pun­dit for Sky Sports. He also had a seafood busi­ness in Grimsby. Peter Withe: Eng­land striker who man­aged Wim­ble­don and then in the Far East un­til last year. Larry Lloyd: De­fender who ran a pub in the city. Now lives in Spain and worked for a prop­erty firm.

5 13 6 1 14 7 2 15 8 3 16 9 4 17 10 18 11 19 12

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.