Over the last few weeks we have previewed just some of the content that will appear in Issue 1, although there is much more to discover beyond what we have shared here. This final preview takes a look at the closing section which includes pieces on three different eras of Nottingham Forest.
Club historian Don Wright takes a journey back to his childhood in 1940s Ilkeston. Although the town sits just across the county border in Derbyshire its links to Nottingham Forest run much deeper than Don’s own lifelong support for the Garibaldi Reds. That shared history is explored as memories are also evoked of a time now lost when the heavy industries of coal and steel dominated the Erewash Valley and huge crowds would travel to neighbouring towns to watch rivalries played out on the football pitch.
Danny Rhodes is an author whose most recent novel FAN tells the story of a Forest supporter coming to terms with the Hillsborough disaster, the death of his hero Brian Clough and the transition of his life from youth into adulthood. It is a powerful emotional journey that has Forest flowing right through its heart. For Bandy & Shinty he revisits his first trip to Filbert Street. Leicester City are currently the toast of the Premier League but in the mid-1980s travelling to their former ground as a rival fan was a very different experience that would spark a teenager’s passion.
Continuing the Leicester theme Andrew Brookes completes this section with a “We had him first” reflection on the Premier League Champions’ captain Wes Morgan. Born in Nottingham Wes was released by Notts County as a 15 year old but found his way to Forest via Dunkirk and went on to make over 400 appearances for the Reds between 2002 and 2012 before moving to Leicester City.
Issue 1 of Bandy & Shinty will be available to buy before and after the Burton Albion match on 6th August in the Trent Navigation pub on Meadow Lane.
In making the transition from internet to print it was apparent that design and artwork would be crucial to making the words come alive and to produce something visually appealing, both to hold and to have on the bookshelf. Phil Juggins and Sean Hockett went away independently to draw from their creative wells and have brought forth something beautiful and distinctive that really sets Bandy & Shinty apart.
Phil works with silhouette to create instantly recognisable and iconic moments from the club’s history. One example of his work currently adorns the Bandy & Shinty Twitter profile and shows Brian Clough and Terry Venables walking hand in hand onto the Wembley pitch for the 1991 FA Cup Final. Phil will be producing a series of defining moments and personalities for the front covers of the magazine, tying the different issues together with a bold and collectable design.
Sean works with a dot design and will be producing original pieces of artwork to sit alongside each of the articles in the magazine. The range of the art that he has produced has been incredible and each new piece complements the words perfectly. Again his creations have a distinctive originality that provides a visual identity for the magazine and will be an attraction in their own right.
As we worked to bring the concept of Bandy & Shinty to life it was initially about the words but as the summer progressed the importance of the artwork really started to dawn to the point where it is now an intrinsic part of the magazine's personality.
Football can inspire to the very edges of the emotional spectrum. A weekend can be ruined on the fragile turning of a result and yet joy filled highs can explode spontaneously as a final whistle a hundred miles away confirms your promotion. At times we love our football club and at others we are filled with a venomous hate so we explore both of those extremes.
Actor Arsher Ali most recently appeared on our television screens as PC Hari Bains in Line of Duty. Here he leads the case for the embittered, all of the Forest fans who have had enough of watching dreadful football and supporting a club that feels like it has slipped away from them over recent years. It is not a great place to find oneself in but we have to understand and confront the lows if we are to move forward in search of more highs and Arsher writes in such a way that even his frustration entertains.
Mirroring the lives of football fans the world over an impassioned jousting match ensues between positive and negative. Pat Riddell recalls his first Forest shirt and its attachment to time and place; Paul Severn counters with the appalling day on which his patience was stretched too far and he first left a game early; but Pete Blackburn and Gregor Robertson carry the day as the former remembers the 1998 promotion winning side, the first team he ever loved, and the latter shares the emotion of making his professional league debut.
Following football is a roller coaster experience, although the analogy perhaps works better for the fleeting highs than the all too often extended lows, and our personal relationships with our clubs ebb and flow through the different stages of our lives. Wherever we are individually in our journeys however we remain united by our inherent, unshakeable connection as fans. You can never stray so far or for so long that you cannot one day be welcomed home.
When you pick up a new album you want the opening tracks to make a real impact and grab the listener. The same thing applies with launching a new magazine, the first section needs to set a tone for the quality and feel that is to come, and we are confident we have achieved that with our own opening section, tentatively entitled The Boss.
Paul McGregor made 30 league appearances for Nottingham Forest in the 1990s scoring 3 league goals. He became a bit of a cult figure mixing occasional first team appearances at the City Ground with performing in his band, Merc, at Rock City amongst other venues. The highlight of his Forest career was probably scoring the winning goal against Lyon in the UEFA Cup in 1995 under Frank Clark’s leadership - but his first Forest manager was Brian Clough. As he writes about his first boss in Bandy & Shinty, he lifts the dressing room veil to reveal a moving relationship between a rising star and a fading genius.
Phil Juggins views the same theme from a fan’s perspective, as he recalls his first taste of defeat whilst watching the 1991 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur. The match itself was bursting with competing narratives; the only major trophy Brian Clough had not secured in his managerial career, Paul Gascoigne’s self-destruction, Roger Milford’s celebrity refereeing and Des Walker’s heart-breaking own goal, but on reflection that Wembley defeat had dramatic implications not only for a young fan but also for the legendary manager.
Completing the section are journalist Nick Miller, recalling his first experience of relegation as he watched Forest succumb tamely in 1993 and David Marples, in conversation with Craig McLoughlin, the grandson of Brian Clough’s regular first team trainer Jimmy Gordon, who played a major part in the successes of the club’s famous Miracle Men.
This is what Bandy & Shinty is all about; delivering a range of writing that provides genuine insight, normally out of the reach of fans, alongside human stories that stir the soul of Forest supporters. To quote W P Kinsella’s magical book Shoeless Joe (later adapted into the film Field of Dreams) “The people who come here will be drawn…”. We have “built it” in the hope that you will come and be refreshed.
With the Nottingham Forest players having returned for pre-season training and been introduced to their new Head Coach the club prepares for a fresh start, another one. Things feel different as we approach the 2016/17 season. Phillippe Montanier is the first foreign (excluding Ireland*) coach to sit in the home dugout but more significantly he and Pedro Pereira represent a new structure and a new way of operating that will hopefully bring the club up to date.
Bandy & Shinty is also new, although the people involved might be familiar. A printed quarterly publication that brings together, we hope, the finest Forest writing in a collectable format that can proudly adorn the bookshelves of fans and reconnect them with the soul and history of our great football club. Please do follow us on social media and keep an eye on this website as over the coming weeks we will introduce you to some of the contributors and preview some of the articles that will feature in Issue 1, which you will be able to buy on opening day as Forest host one of our own in Nigel Clough and his Burton Albion side.
* Following a comment from a reader that Irishman Johnny Carey is considered by some to be the first foreign manager at Forest we have updated this article to clarify that the generally accepted definition of the term in English football excludes both the UK and ROI.