Forest on TV: Anglia in early BC
A version of this article was first published in "Forest Review" on Saturday, 20th October, 2018 versus Norwich City
The visit of Norwich brings back memories of rare footage of the very earliest days of the years BC in 1975.
With us in the middle to lower reaches of the Second Division, even with box-office Cloughie in charge, neither the BBC or ATV were bursting over Trent Bridge with their Outside Broadcast vans in tow.
Despite the BBC sending Barry Davies for a lengthy Football Focus interview upon Brian’s arrival in January 1975, which included incidental footage of the great man playing tennis, Match of the Day didn’t cover Forest until the visit of table-topping Chelsea in November 1976 in a game disrupted by crowd trouble.
The first match footage in the BC years was in March 1975 as ATV’s Star Soccer covered Manchester United’s visit in their solitary season in Division Two.
Sadly, only the footage of Gerry Daley’s goal exists, although pleasingly accompanied by Hugh Johns trademark “One Nothing”.
As Forest tumbled to 16th in Cloughie’s first (part) season, today’s visitors were en route to promotion to the First Division.
Norwich fans benefitted from ample coverage of their team as their ITV region – Anglia - included rivals Ipswich but then only a few smaller clubs, such as Peterborough and Cambridge, and even some clubs shared with other TV regions, such as Luton.
So it was inevitable that Anglia would choose Norwich v Forest for highlights coverage in late April 1975 and probably just as inevitably, Norwich cruised to a 3-0 victory.
Thankfully it also gives us a rare insight into the early days of Clough at Forest, before his old mate Peter Taylor helped him steer us on the course of unprecedented success.
Gerry Harrison on commentary politely describes the first two rather soft goals from Martin Peters (“his first for Norwich”) and Phil Boyer (“an unfortunate bit of play by Nottingham Forest”), before Boyer’s second, scoring alone in the box when it looks like we’re attacking rather than defending.
Of note was John McGovern wearing the number 11 shirt (Robbo had #6) and Viv Anderson in his first season.
We maintained some semblance of style in the fashion-challenged mid-70s, attired in an all-white Umbro number with just the red-detailing of the recently introduced badge.
Our kit also matches the unusual outfits of the stewards at Norwich, who wore long white coats and can be seen loitering in the away end.
The next time we visited Carrow Road, less than three years later in February 1978, remarkably we were top of Division One by four points.
The goals were shown on that evening’s BBC News bulletin, although Cloughie saw neither the game nor the goals as he had characteristically gone on holiday and left Pete in charge.
This time it was Forest who went 3-0 up, and within just 24 minutes.
After future Norwich player and manager Martin O’Neill’s tap in, Colin Barrett’s goal to put us 2-0 ahead was a sweet, right-footed cross shot from just inside the box which was breathtaking in its execution, second only to his goal at Everton in March 1979.
Colin is renowned as one of the most affable of Forest Miracle Men and he would no doubt raise a wry smile at his preceding attempted left wing cross – miskicked off camera towards our goal – and the inexplicable handball that let Norwich back into the match via a penalty, after O’Neill’s dribble had made it 3-0.
Two quick fire goals midway through the second half made it 3-3 and Norwich could even have won it.
It was the first time Peter Shilton had conceded three goals in his Forest career – and it wouldn’t happen again until April the next year when Cologne visited.
We returned from two further visits to Carrow Road in 1979 with only a single point but things soon got better in the 80s - more of that in the next Norwich programme column.