A Kinder Gentler Derby ?
Nigel Clough one of my all-time Nottingham Forest favourites with 300+ appearances in the Garibaldi shirt leads out the Rams for the FA Cup contest between Derby and the Tricky Trees. Hopefully Nigel will be given a respectful and generous reception from the Reds faithful.
Some Forest fans were not happy that new Forest manager, Billy Davies, had himself a largely successful tenure as Derby County manager. Frankly, it's his track record that is key and having got Derby promoted to the Premier League and previously taken Preston North End into the play-offs, his experience at Championship level makes him ideal, in my view, for rescuing the Reds from their lowly league position. Happily recent good form has seen the Reds move above our 'friends' from the other end of the A52 ;-)
The first meeting of the season in the league was full of controversy. On the balance of play Forest deserved their draw, but two very late and very poor refereeing decisions stopped the Sheep loving ones from gloating for months ! To see their angst at the time was sooooo amusing !!! I'm still laughing !!
So to tonight. What can you expect ? A kinder and more restrained Derby clash ? Forget it ! It'll probably be played at a brisk pace with lots of barely legal tackles flying in. There'll probably be little in the way of pretty football. It'll be all about not losing ! Local pride matters more than the actual prize of an FA Cup 5th Round place.
Being the curmudgeonly pessimist that I am, I fear a narrow Sheep victory, with home advantage being decisive. Whatever one might say about the Rams, I have to say the loyalty of their support, despite going a full year without winning a league match, continues to impress. A whole YEAR, what joy !
I remember years ago the Derby match day programme talking about the fierce but 'friendly' rivalry between the two clubs. The vicious fighting between rival fans throughout that evening and the fact that something like a third of the Derbyshire constabulary were said to be deployed at that particular match, makes talk of friendly rivalry look hideously inaccurate.
Unfortunately I can't get to Shame Park for the game tonight so it'll be a night of anxious tension and much swearing at the TV. Here's to a quiet night for the Police, but to a handsome Forest win and much gloating at our 'friends' from the Sheep Dip !
Is it just me or is seeing your main rivals losing almost a pleasurable as seeing your own team win ?!
Forget rationality, its Derby v. Forest, so C'mon you Reds !!! Please don't let me down !!