Nottingham On Drugs

Ah Nottingham, so much to answer for. Wrong city – it was Sunderland – but you get my point. It's not the best of days, in many, many ways, but the one to share is the fact that I'm on medication and thus not quite at the peak of my powers.
I have an infection. In fact I've not felt myself – ho and furthermore ho – since before Christmas when I was poisoned by some rogue fish'n'chips. My drug cocktail is a vicious combination of kickass antibiotics and pain killers which apparently cause headaches if you take them for more than three days, thus transforming their very raison d'etre. The good news is that I can drink alcohol, the bad news is that I don't feel like it, since I feel horrible. It's a kind of low-rent headache, coupled unceremoniously with old man's backache and a young man's ache just above the groin. Rather than telling me to stop being so self-indulgent, the doctor told me what it was and I forgot instantly. Even driving hurts; driving to Nottingham Forest especially.
Still, I have parking, I haven't forgotten anything in my stupor and even though the tablets make me feel cold, I've wrapped up warm. It's a funny place, the City Ground. Photos of the Clough era are everywhere, presumably intimidating every subsequent manager from David Platt to David Pleat and there's a feeling the hackroom hasn't been touched since Trevor Francis signed. The pies are OK though and I kind of like the exaggerated politeness of the staff. Add some cigarette fumes and whisky breath and you have football journalism in the late-'70s.
Who's here? Nobody I know – there's a very good reason for this but we must move on – except for Tony Rushmer, once of he News Of The World, now flying solo and resplendent in a three-piece suit like the chief clerk of a Victorian shipping company and someone else who I'd estimate was present for about 20 minutes of the game.
nd continuing the theme of not-being-touched-since-Clough's-era, the sole hacktoilet is disgusting. Later, I will open rhe door and discover an elderly hack sat there in full bowel-evacuation mode. I will find it hard to shake that particular image. Until I die.
The press box is half-empty, or if you want to look at it another way, half-full. Naturally there are no replays, but it's spacious and easy to work from. Forest are having a torrid time of it and they're up against Southampton who're up for it. It's pretty obvious how things are going to go from the first few minutes. Forest's Luke Chambers gets himself sent early in the second half, but Souhampton are already cruising. With 10 men or 11, Forest are truly awful. Even Lewis McGugan, never Billy Davies's favourite but whom I'd never seen have anything approaching bad game, is a one-man shambles.
They're efficient, exuberant and even without Rickie Lambert, full of goals, but I suspect Southampton couldn't quite believe their luck at being right here, right now. They win 3-0, but for some late Lee Camp heroics, it could have been six. Afterwards, their manager Nigel Adkins looks and sounds like a Premier League manager, not least when I ask him if he thought it would be that easy.
In contrast Steve Cotterill looks like a man who moved to the wrong job at the wrong time and not for the first time in his career He blames the referee, but admits his team were outclassed. I ask him if he's ever regretted coming to Forest. He looks me in the eye and says “no”. I'll ask him again next time we meet.
I slug some painkillers and shuffle off home. All being well, I'll make Borgen…
Playlist
Doll By Doll
Gypsy Blood
More proof of Jackie Leven's near genius. Those who know, know. That's a disappointing rather than elitist point,,,