05 Nov Derby County and Nottingham Forest: The Rivalry
One of the first, if not the first dates that fans look for when the football fixtures are released is that against Derby County’s fiercest rivals from along the A52, Nottingham Forest. The rivalry, anticipation, excitement and passion shown by the fans in this fixture is, however, a rather modern phenomenon – the matches in the early 70’s weren’t any different to matches against teams from Sheffield or Birmingham or London.
Since the end of the Second World War, they didn’t play each other all that often, with the clubs often in different divisions for many seasons. The fans rivalry really started when Brian Clough took the manager’s job at the City Ground along with assistant Peter Taylor and coach/trainer Jimmy Gordon. Not only that, they also ended up with former Derby players McGovern, O’Hare, Gemmill, Todd and George all playing for them at different times and they based their success on formation and style created at Derby, yet in many ways unfulfilled by the time they left The Baseball Ground in the autumn of 1973.
The proximity of the two cities and the county border towns of Ilkeston, Heanor and Alfreton mean that there is a fair number of people that commute both ways down the A52 and that inevitably leads to a high degree of football banter in the workplace, fuelling the expectation of the match, heightened by the local media.
Memories of past players
In advance of this week’s meeting, here are some moments from previous meetings to jog the memory – the 1979 thrashing of the European Champions 4-1 and the Graham Richards’ Radio Derby commentary (now available on youtube with the video footage); the 2-0 win in the 1982-83 FA Cup which was billed as Clough vs Taylor; the more recent FA Cup win at the City Ground when old boy Kris Commons celebrated as Derby came from two goals down; Robbie Savage’s scarf waving; the 5-0 ‘deforestation’ day and the Craig Bryson hat-trick; the Peschisolido ‘Coffee Cup’ goal in another 4-2 win; and Stuart Atwell – not a player for either team but a referee in a memorable game at Pride Park; the original ‘We only had 10 men’ game; John Robson’s solo goal at the City Ground in 1970; the Stuart Pearce and Ted McMinn tussles..
The Brian Clough trophy was introduced several years ago and is presented to the winning captain after the game – a draw means the club holding the trophy keeps it until the next meeting and is currently held by the Nottingham club following their win at the iPro Stadium earlier this year. There are bound to be some twists and turns to decide who wins or retains the Brian Clough trophy and it has been known to finish a managerial career after one of these games – Nigel Clough being the latest man to suffer that fate.
There have been many players and managers who have made the short journey between the clubs – very few of them have been a success at both ends of the A52, some of those who have been at both clubs are
Managers – Dave Mackay, Brian Clough, Steve Mclaren, Billy Davies.
Derby to Forest – McGovern, Gemmill, O’Hare , Todd, Charlie George (via Southampton), Dean Saunders and Darryl Powell, Earnshaw and this year Jamie Ward.
Forest to Derby – Hinton, Hennessey, Wignall, John Middleton, John Robertson, Gary Charles, Calvin Plummer, Steve Sutton, Darren Wassall, Steve Hodge, Peter Shilton (via Southampton)
The MrShaw75 t-shirt range aims to re-kindle these memories of players, managers, matches and events from our 131 year history and portray them in a modern design.
The stage is set for a hero to rise and stake a claim to be included on a forthcoming design by MrShaw75
We’d like to give a huge thanks to Andy Ellis at The Derby County Collection, a proactive initiative by both supporters and the Club to protect, preserve and promote the great heritage of Derby County Football Club, for writing this post. Click on the link and check his website out.