The following article appeared in the official matchday programme - Forest Review - on Saturday 17th September for the game against Norwich City
words: David Marples
“We’re going to need a bigger boat,” Chief Brody uttered nervously when he first caught a glimpse of the predator stalking the ramshackle Orca in Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, ‘Jaws’.
Nervously, 113 people clambered aboard the good ship Rosario (on any other day, known as ‘The Princess’) under the shadow of Trent Bridge on the morning of the clash with Leeds United on Saturday 27th September. Maybe some shared Chief Brodie’s concerns. There were plenty of nervous glances as eyes darted around in a desperate attempt to locate the life jackets, the bar and the toilets.
Just up river, under the watchful eye of the Wilford Suspension Bridge, 110 Forest supporting landlubbers took to the decks of The Trent Lady and The Nottingham Crusader, temporarily commandeered as Silenzi and Bonalair for the day.
Once aboard, Rosario’s passengers eased into the whole experience like a storyteller into a trusty old Chesterfield Chair. Lower deck, a relaxed atmosphere took hold as a specially prepared playlist accompanied their journey down the Trent. Pleasantries were exchanged between passengers and crew, names were put to faces and friendships blossomed.
Upper deck, things were slightly different. The music was a little louder. There were no seats to be had. Folks stood close, elbows tucked in, drinks lovingly clutched to their chests.
The good ship Rosario, contrary to earlier fears that it might simply wobble around for a bit in the middle of the Trent before losing control of its faculties leaving any spectators feeling utterly underwhelmed, meandered pleasantly and purposefully through a changing Nottingham landscape. One passenger reported spying a kingfisher: a beautiful bright flash of azure to punctuate a green and lush pastoral scene.
Holme Pierrepont was to be the turning point – literally. One by one, Rosario, Silenzi and Bonalair turned bow to stern and headed back to Trent Bridge, full steam ahead.
If the captain thought it was plain sailing from hereon, he hadn’t reckoned on the intervention of Colin Barrett whose dulcet tones informed the now rather skittish passengers that he was at the helm, steering the boat, in control of the lives and destinies of all those aboard.
The queue at the bar lengthened at this announcement: if they were going down, they were going down with a drink in their hands.
As the flotilla approached Trent Bridge, there was the small matter of passing by the City Ground – home to Nottingham Forest Football Club since 1898. Sherwood the Bear danced on the banks of the Trent, engulfed in red smoke as a large flag bearing the legend ‘Forza Garibaldi’ was draped over Trent Bridge. Onboard, ‘Mull of Kintyre’ serenaded the intrepid travellers home.
Smiles as wide as the Trent itself beamed from joyous faces as passengers disembarked. That sense of achievement and togetherness appeared to seep into the performance of the team as Leeds United were swept aside by a wave of passion and skill.
Chief Brody was right, of course: he definitely could have done with a substantially bigger boat. Fortunately for those aboard Rosario, Silenzi and Bonalair, the boats were more than adequate in doing their job and depositing 223 happy sailors safely ashore after a monumental display of support and pride in their club.
(This boat trip was organised by Forza Garibaldi: a group of supporters striving to inject the fun, enthusiasm and passion into following Forest. They also organised the 150th anniversary fan march from The Clinton Arms to the City Ground in April 2016.)
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