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01/02: Preview: Nottingham Forest
Opposition opinion
by Padraig McKenna of Sack the Board

What happened last season?
It was like a Happy Shopper curate's egg. The season started amidst massive apprehension, we played most of the better teams in the first few months and though we had obviously improved significantly we were still not looking like contenders. The progress we had made was not sufficient to satisfy the more impatient elements of our support, or the local media, or some board members, and by the time we got played with by Watford in October it looked like the anti-Platters were going to get their way, despite many good performances.

Then four days later we played Burnley at the City Ground and beat them 5-0 with the best display I saw from any First Division team all season. They were pretty good on the night and kept trying for the first eighty minutes but we were awesome. We'd got an early goal and a bit of confidence, the moaners had shut up for long enough to let the team find their feet and the pro-Platters held their heads high again. We had a good run winning seven out of nine, or something like that, and made up a lot of ground on the top six without actually significantly moving up the table. Then we managed to lose, through injury, most of the players who had made us good and went into a slump of mediocracy for the rest of the season. We were almost close enough to the top six to make it look like we might scrape a play-off place for most of the remainder of the season but in the end it became apparent that the players had abandoned the fight long before we had and the season ended in a pretty ugly, resentful and acrimonious fashion and in eleventh place.

What's going to happen next season?
Probably painful. Platt looks like he wants a way out, which will at least stop the squabbling and scrapping in the stands, even if it does unleash chaos. We will probably start the season with Youth Academy Director, Paul Hart as manager, which is the popular choice. Until about December, we will probably have to watch scared adolescents getting bullied off the ball all over the pitch. Then we will panic and try and loan or buy every hairy-arsed gnarled old Kevin Ball we can find. We will be happy to finish twelth. (The day after Pod wrote this, Platt resigned to take up the England U21 job, with Paul Hart taking over)

Can you recommend a pub for away fans?
The Larwood and Voce is the safest one for away fans, and popular with many Forest fans and tolerated by others. It was formerly happily mixed but last season the police requested that it be segregated. It is the closest to the away end and is recommended by the HSE and ROSPA. It adjoins the cricket ground (Trent Bridge) and can be found by turning off Radcliffe Road (the big road next to the ground parallel to the river) at the brown office building beside a pedestrian crossing. The pub is about 75 yards up this road (Fox Road) on your right.

What's the nearest railway station?
Nottingham Railway Sation is about 10 minutes walk away. The walk is relatively straight forward and is normally marked by luminous policemen and policewomen. The route, in case of any police staffing level crises, is: You should leave the railway station by the main entrance/exit and turn to your left. At the corner of the station turn left again into Queens Road and follow this to the T-junction with London Road. Turn right here and follow this road towards the river and Trent Bridge from where you will be able to see the best view of the City Ground across the river to your left. The away end is furthest from river and can be found either by following the path along the river bank and circumambulating the ground or by walking to the traffic lights and turning left into Radcliffe Road, from where access to the away end is via Colwick Road, a residential street near to a pedestrian crossing.

Where is the best place to park?
There are quite a few 'circa-three-quid' matchday car parks at commercial premises along Meadow Lane on the other side of the river. Indeed, it is possible to park at the ground of the only football league team from Nottingham who have failed to win and retain the European Cup, which can be found along this same road. There is parking at the City Ground which no-one uses. There is often parking at County Hall which is a large white 'County Hall-esque' building a few hundred yards away from the City Ground. The council also provide a large car park along the river bank to the north west of the City Ground, which involves an adventurous and navigationally demanding drive. It is possible to park on some residential streets in the vicinity of the ground but this tends to fill up early and it is unpopular with residents.