A fan's guide to the all-time highs (and lows) of Nottingham Forest

Published by Crimson
Published by Crimson

Top Five … Forest Stars Who Might Have Been

They eventually found that their talents lay elsewhere, but these famous names might have featured on Forest team sheets…


The former Smiths guitarist is better known for his dexterous fingers than his fancy footwork, but the indie legend had trials with both Forest and his hometown club, Man City. He claims he could have gone all the way with his footballing career but ‘they didn’t follow up because I was probably the only player out there wearing eye-liner’.

Morrissey recorded a song called ‘Roy’s Keen’ inspired by a certain Irish midfielder, but other than that we have no reason to suspect that the effete crooner himself had any footballing ambitions.


The Bill actor, who sadly died in January 2012, was born in Derbyshire, but grew up a Forest fan and had trials with Huddersfield Town. He played Inspector Andrew Monroe for 12 years and then had a string of successful stage roles, among them that of Brian Clough in In The Spirit Of The Man, suggesting that if he’d pursued football over acting, a managerial career might have awaited him too.


Welsh sprinter and twice Commonwealth Games medallist Christian Malcolm had trials with Forest and was a Welsh schoolboy international alongside Craig Bellamy. He played, surprise, surprise, as a winger, but opted for athletics instead. ‘I think I’ve made the right choice – until I hear about the wages!’ he said in 2000, just before competing in his first Olympic games. He finished fifth in the 200 metres in Sydney and scored the same result again at Beijing eight years later.


Indie lad-rock purveyors Kasabian are well known for their allegiance to Leicester City, but guitarist Serge, of Italian heritage, could have been a Forest player if trials during his teens had worked out. The stage, not the pitch, beckoned for Serge, but the Brit Award-winner is still a pretty handy footballer – he once upstaged and outscored Robbie Fowler during a training session, and anyone who remembers his stunning goal on Soccer AM wouldn’t be too upset if they saw his winklepickers grace the City Ground pitch.


He may have the most boring name imaginable, but in his favour he is a Time Lord! At 900-plus Earth years old he can probably remember the Forest glory years too . . . if only he would let the rest of us take a trip in his TARDIS and relive the Clough era.

The Doctor Who star’s association with the Reds came to light in a 2010 interview with the Nottingham Post. He was born in Northampton and oddly seems to support Blackburn Rovers as well (glutton for punishment?) but his grandfather lives in Trowell and was a former Notts County player. He told the Post that Stuart Pearce was his teen idol.

As a teenager, Smith played for the youth teams of Northampton, Forest and Leicester City. At Forest, he was a teammate of Jermaine Jenas. Luckily for Saturday night television viewers, though perhaps unfortunately for the Reds, who could always use a sonic screwdriver in midfield, a back injury ended his football career and his talents were redirected into acting.

He is the youngest actor ever to play Doctor and, though relatively unknown when he landed the role, his performance in the play That Face had already won him an Evening Standard ‘best newcomer’ award in 2008. He also got to showcase his alternative career playing for a pub team in the 2010 Who episode ‘The Lodger’.

The Glory of Forest by Alex Walker is available to buy here for £9.99, as well as from online retailers and local stores.


2 comments so far...

Tim says:

5 best away performances

1967 Burnley 0 – 2 Forest

Finished the game with 9 men, Joe Baker not available (butchered into early retirement by Everton’s Hurst), magnificent rearguard

1977 Man Utd 0 – 4 Nottingham Forest

Just read the score, we could easily have had 8, enough said

1978 Liverpool 0 – 0 Forest

Through to the nextroundvand onward to Munch. Even Scousers not then born whinge about it still.

1985 Anderlecht 2 – 2 Forest


November 20, 2012, 8:57 am
Alex says:

Good list so far, Tim, what happened to the last two entries?

November 20, 2012, 1:02 pm

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