Hello. Welcome to Gargoyle Red. We're a month away from the start of the season, so with that in mind, it's nice to do something a bit different and catch up with a former Nottingham Forest player to discuss their career and life today. With that in mind, I'm delighted to be joined by a promotion winner, a player who finished third in the Premier League and U8 Cup quarter finalist in former Redsman Field, David Phillips. David, how are you?
I'm very well, thank you very much and thank you for inviting me onto your podcast.
Oh, no, it's good to catch up with players, especially from an era where there was plenty of success for Forest. I guess when you joined the club, it wasn't necessarily a case of success. I think I'm right in saying you left Norwich City, who'd had a really good season in the top flight to come to Forest. We were in a certainly state of transition, if not a state of turmoil after Brian Clough left. What made you make the move? Because it feels to me from the outside looking in a risky transfer. What was the thinking behind it?
I would say people always turn around and say, Why did you go and do it? But the contract that was offered to me at Norwich City Football Club was not the contract that I was looking for. It was quite visible from Mike Walker that it wasn't going to be a case that the contract was going to be renewed just purely on the financial issues and length of contract. I just decided there and then it was maybe an opportunity to move on. I had an excellent season for Norwich that year. We got them into the UAE Cup and I just thought, well, this is an opportunity for me to move on. I've been used to doing it. My father was in the Royal Air Force. We traveled around places here, there and everywhere. I just thought with Nottingham Forest, what a great adventure and what a great opportunity to help the club.
What are your first impressions then? Because like you said, a great manager had left and new manager had come in. What club did you feel you were walking into once you'd been there for a couple of days?
Well, I must say when you walk into the change rooms, you see the likes of Stewart pierce being there. You think, well, why is this club where they are? And for the first couple of days, it was a case of like, they were a little bit uncertain about what was going on with their preseason, etc. And things weren't looking particularly good with Brian Cleff leaving, the position that they were in division one as it was in those days. And thinking that this club is too big to go down into the division 1. So they really wanted to get back up into the Premier League. And there's always a speculation with the Forest fans, etc, thinking, well, we should deserve to go up there. But the season prior to that was not a particularly good one. And I just felt that with the the opportunity of moving to a bigger club, not being disrespectful to Norwich City Football Club, with the history that Nottingham Forest had, winning two European Cups and being great in Europe as well, and with the history and the players that they've had as well. And I thought it was a great opportunity for me to join a fantastic club.
Were you coming in as a director placement for Roy Keane? Was that how it was sold to you or you to play a different role in midfield?
Yeah, it was quite funny because one of the first days that I turned up, I bumped into Kingsley Black and KB. He was a little bit distraught at the time. I was having a chat with KB and I was saying, How's things and how's season going? Preseason going? And he's going, Well, not too good, Philo. He said, You're here to take my place, aren't you? I said, Well, no, I'm not here to take your place, KB. I said, I'm actually here to come in and replace Roy Keane, which was a huge player to come in and take over. But KB and I then became instantly great friends because he thought with me playing at Norwich City, mainly on the left hand side, that I was going to take his place. But Frank Clark had already alluded to the fact that he wanted me to come in, replace Roy Keane, and the rest is history from there.
How did the fans take you initially? I know Roy was a young player when he left, but he'd done so well for Forest and everyone could see how good he was already was and going to be. Were you welcomed with open arms by the fans? Were they sceptical about you?
I think to start off with, they would be sceptical. Knowing that I was playing as a left sided midfielder at the time with Norwich City, working down that left line with Mark Boeing. But even so, I played in every position on the park, played central midfield, many, many times, international wise as well. So you're always going to be skeptical as a fan seeing somebody coming in to replace somebody who was as good as Roy Keane. But initially, it was a case of Frank Clark turning around to me and said, Well, just be a little bit patient, see what the sides about, see how we work tactically. I was really on the sidelines watching for a couple of games. Frank just said to me, Look, one thing I don't want you doing is going over the halfway line. So it was one of those that I didn't score as many goals as what I did at previous clubs. But if the management want you to go and do a certain role, I was there to go and sort it out. And thankfully, it all worked out pleasantly well, especially the first season. And I'm sure the fans got to love me as they did when they awarded me the player of the season as well.
So it was a great year, to be honest.
Yes, I'll ask you a few more about that in a minute. Just in general in your career, do you think your versatility was a help or a hindrance? Because I was trying to think before when I was thinking of what I'd ask you. Not many players of that age now, I think James Milner, Ashley Young, and it's interesting that they're veterans, players tend to stick quite rigidly to their positions now. How did it impact your career, do you think?
Well, how it all really started off was when I moved to Holland as a young took between the age of nine and '89 and '12, the club I was associated with, KFC Aranya, they had a policy, which a lot of Dutch clubs do have is that they like to see players playing in different positions. They like to work on your weaker foot and so on, so on. And it was a case that even at junior level, I played in virtually every position, apart from as a goalkeeper, and it held me in good stead. And I always turn around to kids nowadays and scholars, etc, and say, Well, what would you rather do? Would you rather be a little bit more versatile where a manager can go and slot you in here, there, and everywhere? Or do you want to be a natural right back? And if you've got somebody in front of you, you might struggle to get into that side unless you're going to be actually a lot, lot better than that person. So with myself, I have played goalkeeper twice since Holland. My notably, one at Plymouth Argyll, one for Hudderfield Town when a keeper got sent off and the keeper got injured.
So I have fielded every position on the park, whether it be as a centre half, as a sweeper, left back, and so on and so forth. I started my career at Plymouth Argyll as a natural centre forward and then came as a midfielder, a central midfielder, played it right back. It's great to have that versatility. And if there is a player back in the day where you used to have only two, three subs at the time. Somebody got injured, I could naturally go and slot into that position. If you had a player on the bench, you could come in and fulfil position that I was playing at the time.
I guess maybe because there's more subs now it's less common. Were you any good in goal? I do love it when an outfield player goes in goal. Did you do well or not?
Well, the one against Plymouth Argyre, I conceded two goals in both games. One at West Brom was actually a penalty. So I can't be at fault for that one because most goalkeepers don't say penalties anymore. Plymouth Argyre was exactly the same. So I enjoyed my time and it was one of those cases that I always fancied myself as being a goalkeeper. I used to go and do a lot of work with Steve Grishamitch when he was at Coventry City. But when I was a youngster, I was a rugby player and so I had to have good hands. I was a natural fly half. And at 15, 16 years of age, I had an opportunity of playing rugby for the bigger clubs in the Southwest. But I really wanted to play football. There was no money in rugby at that time. And so I made the right choice. But don't get me wrong, I still absolutely love rugby.
You touched on your early years there. It's quite interesting. Were you in a are you from a military family? Is that how come you were in Holland?
Is that what? Yeah, absolutely right. I was born in West Germany. People still can't get to grips with the fact that if you're born abroad, then why are you not a naturalised German or Dutch or from Singapore or from Cypress, whatever? But what happens is that you're born on a British hospital in a British area, and it's one of those that you have two birth certificates, one to say that you were born where you were born, and then they're the one to say that you are a British citizen. We started over in Germany. I was only there for about six months, so I can't remember that. Spent a little time in England. Then naturally, I was brought up in Wales, where I spent a lot of my childhood until I was nine years of age. And then my father was transferred over to Brunson over in Holland. My team that I supported then back in the days was of Kirkrada, and I was the only British player to play for KFC Oranje. So that's really where my football started. All be it that when I went to school in Clangowith School in Bridget, in Wales, we weren't allowed to play football.
Everything was either rugby or cricket orientated. If we had a can, that was okay. If it was a small ball, it was confiscated from the playground. So they were hard days. But I was brought up to love rugby. My brother used to take me to watch Bridge End and rugby football club week in, week out. And that was my first love. Since I'd finished playing football, I've gone back to my first love, which is rugby as well.
Was your dad... I assume your dad was on board with you playing for Wales, and I'm sure you wanted to. And was your dad on board with you being a footballer? Did you want to be a rugby player or serving the military or something totally different, like a doctor or whatever? I don't know.
To be honest with you, I didn't have an awful lot of support from my father. He saw me as a sportsman, and it was one of those that I had to get on with what I was doing. If I needed a lift, I had to try and get somebody else to try and take me. Those days as a youngster were actually quite hard for myself, trying to fend for myself. My father, he's Welsh through and through, born in Negros Hulian just outside of Berka F illy. Naturally, it was case of playing for Wales. I did have the opportunity when I was at Plymouth Argyll of joining up for the England Under 18s. The manager at the time called me into the office and said, Look, David, this is fantastic news. You're going to get called up for the England Under 18s. What do you think? I said, I'm not interested. I said, I'm Welsh through and through. Even though I wasn't born there, I've spent time away from Wales. I said, I was, and don't take this personally, everyone with the podcast, this, I was brought up to hate the English. But that is what it was back in the day.
My teacher, Mr. Williams, he was plied Connery and his everything was Borda Pannt, Borda Eche. It was like the Welsh thing back in the day. That certainly changed when I came to about 11, 12 years of age. But in respect of my father, absolutely delighted and thoroughly glad that I chose to play for Wales. My brother as well, who I have a lot of thoughts for. He played rugby, he represented Cornwall, but he was born in F lur de Lee. I've got a lot of Welsh heritage, so it's always going to be Wales for me.
Interesting. Back to Forest, then. That first season under Frank, I recall it didn't start well. It probably took until the October time when Beheanin came in, I guess. What was it like in those early months? Did you feel like it wasn't going to work out or not?
Well, I tell you, the first few games, I wasn't involved. It was a case that I was to say in the sand, I can still remember going to Oakwell to Barnsley, sitting in the stand, and I can't remember the result. I don't think it was a great result. And thinking, what am I doing here? I've taken the decision of leaving a club in the Premier League to come into the First Division, but I knew that I had to be patient. Frank would always put an arm around me and say, Look, David, please be patient. You've got to have a little look. And when you come and step in, go and show them what you can go and do. Yes, with the Lars Boheanin coming in, what a great acquisition he was until it came to the wintertime. And why I say this is that I still remember playing at home and there was a scattering of snow around the pitch. There was a little bit of green and we had the orange ball out. And after about five minutes, I'm thinking, What the hell is going on with Lars here? And he got substituted and we didn't realise that he was colour blind.
So he did say that he tried to get into the Norwegian Army, into the Norwegian Air Force, sorry. But he failed because he was colour blind. So it was something that we laughed about and we joke about. But when you talk about Lars Bohean, what a player he was.
Certainly. What was Frank like as a manager? Was he perfect for that dressing room with, like you said, he had a lot of senior players, a lot of big characters? Was he the right man to come in? Almost, I think he's been on this podcast before. I got the impression he let you senior players police the dressing room yourselves.
I have to be honest, I absolutely love Frank Clark. I think what a great gentleman he was, what a great servant he was for Nottingham Forest, not only as a player, but also as a manager as well. And obviously now moved to the boardroom and I've got a lot of time for Frank Clark. And yes, it was a case that letting big players manage it. We had some players, as I mentioned, like we've each other, we've Stewart pierce, Lars Bielan coming in, Colin Cooper, Steve Chettel, even Chets was a younger lad. He still had the admiration in and around the change room. Steve Stoney and Ron, people like that, characters, very confident. But obviously, what happened the previous year, it took a little bit of time for everything to click in with myself, with Lars, and the thing started to materialise. And to get promoted that first year after the start that we had, isn't it very similar to a couple of years from Nottingham Forest, where all of a sudden they were bottom of the championship and next thing, they're getting promoted through the year at the playoffs and where they are now in the Premier League.
Obviously, you had the international quality and yourself, Stewart pierce, Steve Stone would go on to play for England. Stan C olley Moore was the X Factor player. I've asked a few people about him and it sounds like he was a bit of a nightmare, but you let him get away with it because he was so good. What would you say about Stan?
I think that line is about right. Stan was a rule to himself. I can remember rooming with him. Well, I was told I had to room with him. Frank turned around to me and said, Look, David, you're one of the more sensible ones. I want you to look after Stan and make sure that he's on time and this and whatever. This one night we were going off horse trotting and Stan decided that he wasn't going. I said, Well, look, what am I supposed to do? He said, Well, go out the door, say you haven't seen me. And I don't particularly like lying. And Liam O'Cain came up to me. He said, Where's Stan? I said, I haven't got a clue. But that night, the alarm bells were going. He'd broken in from a fire exit. He'd been out seeing some young lady. And I just had to say to Frank Clark, I just can't room with him anymore. He's broken all the rules and I don't want to be a person attached to that. But if you look at Stan Colomel, with what he achieved with the feedback that came in from South end to what he achieved for Nottingham Forest is there.
It's history, isn't it?
That's an interesting dynamic, you coming from that military background, I imagine your bedroom was very neat as a child because your parents made it be so. Was it an odd couple vibe with Stan where you got on or did he literally drive you so crazy you couldn't deal with it?
It's just the fact that he kept on deciding that he wanted to go out the emergency exits and do the fire alarms and this whatever. It was one of those that I just thought, well, enough is enough. I think he wasn't having a particularly great time at the time. I still remember traveling up from Lementon Spur where I was living at the time and going up the motorway to Nottingham to train in. I saw Stan's car coming the opposite way down by Leicester Services. I've got into training and Frank's Oh, unfortunately, Stan's not going to be here today. He's gone to see his mother over in Cammock. And I said to PhD, Hold on, I passed him going south on the Leicester Services. He was going down to London. So that was Stan. You may have made a couple of different rules, but the rules were all for Stan. But you can't knock the guy with what he's got to have done. Listen, you're always going to have somebody who has a little bit of a life outside of football. As long as when he comes in, he's doing his job. He's not causing any aggravation on the field or in the training ground, etc.
And just scoring goals. And that's what Stan was all about.
Yeah. I mean, you got promoted in the end, and then you go on the following season and it's an unbelievable season, one of the great seasons for the club finishing third. I don't know if you recall going into that campaign. I can't imagine that was a realistic aim. What were you looking for that season after promotion?
I think it's the same with a lot of clubs. And I think if you ask Steve Cooper now, having got promoted from the Championship, it's all about stability into the Premier League. And I'm sure that if you'd have asked Steve Cooper, Would you have finished two places above relegation at the end of the season? He'd have said, Yeah, I would have done. We know that they've acquired a certain amount of players, but back in those days, you have to build, you have to learn to walk before you can run. And it was one of those cases. When all of a sudden, Frank is starting to add other players into the equation, it was a good squad and it was an excellent season.
I must have skirt back because I meant to ask you about winning Player of the Year the previous year. That must have meant a lot to you because we've spoken about Stan and Stewart pierce and those quality of players and you were the guy who did a lot of the unselfish work. So to get that recognition, it must have been quite touching for you.
It was. To get that award at the end of the season, as you're right to say, big people like Percy, Stan Colomboise had an excellent season score on all those goals. But just to have the backing and the admiration from all the Norton Forest fans was just a fantastic accolade for myself. I just wish Stan would have hung around the awards a little bit longer to appreciate it. He did walk out at the end, but it. But that's Stan. I don't have any grudges against that. But it's one of those that who could have won it? Maybe Stan could have won it. Maybe PhD could have won it. But when my name was called out, I was just A, flabbergasted, but B, absolutely delighted.
Going back to the following season then, was it a bit of a case of lightning in a bottle? That team you had was perfectly balanced, as I recall. You had Stone and Wown on the flanks yourself and Lars. And then Brian Roy came in and he was a Dutch international who just played in the World Cup and he sounds like a real character and really comes today's. Sounds like he's got real problems. But that side was just perfect for that time, do you think?
When you look at that front six, as you'd like to call it, and then when you have fullbacks who want to make those overlapping runs, you have the security of coups and chets and at the back, norming goal. It was a really good side. A really good side. And it was one of those, as I mentioned before, learning to walk before you could run. Frank, I added certain players as we went along. And you mentioned about Brian Roy, what an unbelievable player he was. I still remember in the second, not the first preseason, or the first time we saw him, but the second preseason that we had Brian Roy. And we always used to take the mic about his fitness. And we decided that or Pete Edwards decided that we were going to go and run round the water centre and all that lot. And Brian just went running off. And we were all going, Hey, he's really fit this year. He's really fit. Then all of a sudden, after about half a mile, Brian started coming back to us and we started going towards him. And then we just completely left him. And we thought, Well, maybe this isn't quite true.
Maybe he hasn't been working hard in preseason. A bout three or four minutes later, we saw this motorcyclist go flying past us thinking, What the nurse is going on here? And he had a passenger with him and he stopped about another four or five hundred yards further up. And crash helmet came off, turned around and it's Brian Roy. And he's going, Now, catch me, you. He said, I told you I was fit. So he was an unbelievable character to have in the changing room and good fun. And what a player, what a wonder of a left foot he had along with W o ney as well. W oney had a great left peg as well. But Brian was, as you said, a Dutch international who came in and worked and combined really well with Stan.
Is it a bit of an annoyance now looking back that you finished third? I don't know when the third place finish for the Champions League came in, but that money, if you had to go in the Champions League, would have changed the football club and obviously Sam would go on to leave and things would deteriorate a bit. As players do you think, Oh, I wish we'd gotten a Champions League that year. I can't remember when it changed, to be honest.
No, I can't remember when it changed, but it's one of those things, isn't it? You have to go what the rules are, what your wafer are saying, what FIFA are saying. I still remember when I was at Coventry City and we won the FA Cup back in 1987 and we qualified for the uafer. But unfortunately, that year, Heysel happened and all the British clubs were not allowed to go and enter into Europe. And so that was a bit of a kick in the teeth for the club at the time, that could have brought in extra revenue. But the one thing that I had, I was an international football player anyway, so I had the opportunities of playing abroad and playing against national sides. But when you talk about the Champions League and the UAFA, we qualified as we did in third place. And to do and get where we got into the quarterfinals and unfortunately lose to Bayer Munech, the aggregate score was not particularly great, 7 2. But to think that we got to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup that year as well, we had a great season.
And you did that, having you'd lost Stan to Liverpool at that point. Did it feel like a start of a decline there or not? Because as you say, you did have a strong season. I think you finished ninth in the league that season and you mentioned the cup form. Did you still feel like you could do well without Stan?
Yeah, I would say Kevin Campbell came in, I believe, and Casey. Again, what a great player and what a great advert for a footballer. Again, character in the change room. I'm trying to think, was Silenzi there at the time?
He was. Frank spoke about signing him as a source of great regret. I think he said he was the only player he never saw in person and he took a bit of a punch.
Yeah, he saw. Because I think one day a couple of us actually went and saw Frank and just said, Where on Earth have you got this guy from? And he said, Well, we've only seen him off a VHS. But when you talk about Andrea Sallenzi, again, what a great man he was in the changing room. We know things weren't going particularly well for Andrea, but, hey, listen, he played for Napoli, he got the one Italian cap, he played with Maradona. So we couldn't have been that bad. But he came over to Nottingham Forest, it didn't work out for him. And we've seen lots of players over the years, they transfer to another club, it doesn't suit them, and things don't particularly happen. And for Andrea, it didn't particularly happen. But when you lose somebody like for Stan Colomore. He scored lots of goals to go to Liverpool. It's a huge dynamic that you've lost.
True. The following season was obviously a very difficult one. Frank left, the team got relegated. It was your last season at the club. Was that just a real nightmare one for you?
It was. As I said, absolutely love Frank Clark. A lot of respect for this gentleman. There were a lot of things going in and around. I was having off field issues which I don't particularly like to discuss. I felt that some of the international players that we had were not pulling their weight. Then obviously with Dave Bateson coming in, things didn't go as well as what he was hoping for. We had Dean Saunders in the room as well. Again, what a great character he was. But unfortunately, it just fell to pieces. And it was a sad day, really. I ended up moving on to Huddersfield. I was a certain age as well. I was 34, something like that. So at 34, I think I went, Okay, my career is still continuing. Disappointed to have left Nottingham Forest, but such great memories at the club and still have a huge fondness for them now.
You didn't want to go then. You didn't want to go then. You didn't want to go. Ou didn't feel like it was the right time to move on. You would have stayed if the opportunity was there.
Yeah, I would have done. But I'll be honest with you, I'm not a great lover of Dave Bateson. Never have been, never will be. And it was a totally different style of play that he wanted to instil. And we know about the success that he's had with clubs down the line. But that wasn't the way Nottingham Forest of being born and bred. It was playing the ball. It was trying to training sessions, invariably were five or six. Nothing really changed from when Brian Clough was in charge. Liam McAne did most of the training. Frank would be there. What a great motivator he was. But when you had Dave Bateson coming in, it was a case of not too sure.
Is that one of the things that we as fans don't necessarily see, do you think? You mentioned you had off field issues, the manager didn't quite gel, things weren't quite right in the dressing room. As fans, we only see the 90 minutes on the pitch. Do you think we don't always appreciate how much goes into those 90 minutes working or going terribly wrong?
Yeah, absolutely right. Nowadays, we have social media. So a lot of things get put into social media. A lot of things are made up. All the stuff going on about Steve Cooper last year, and there were a lot of people in the press wanting him to get sacked. And especially one paper, which I don't particularly like, they were having a right good dig at Steve. I just felt that is so wrong. It's just good that Marou Anakis was able to go and back him and just say, Well, he's got a new contract, etc. And things have worked out really, really well. But back in the day, there wasn't so much social media. You didn't get to hear what was going on. You can go onto a certain website and you can have predictions what the site is going to be. And they're basically probability. But it was always going to be difficult back in those days when things are not going particularly well because it's all in house and you're hoping that other players can help you, etc. But in respect of my issue, that was a personal one. And the only person really I spoke to was KB.
Kb and I have been very good friends at Nottingham Forest and we've been very good friends ever since. But you've always got somebody to lean on, to talk to if you want to. But when things are going particularly wrong, you don't know if the person that you're talking to, what their situation is. So it can become quite difficult. But you're right in what you're saying. The fans don't see it. Everything's all in house. And so people turn around to me and say, Well, would you rather be playing today or would you rather play back in the day when you were playing? For social media side, I wouldn't want to be playing nowadays. For the financial side, yes, I would want to be playing. And that's a difficult thing. I had a good chat the other day with a guy called Steve Kinsey, who was a teammate of mine at Man City. And we were saying about players nowadays, could the older player now cope with the modern day football? And the answer is yes.
The modern day football player cope with the olden days? I don't think so. Things have changed. Things have changed. Pitches have changed. Gosh, if you go back to the 1980s, look at the pitches that we played on. They were horrific. Derby County just across the way. That pitch was horrific. Qpr had the plastic pitch. I went and saw Forest at Crystal Palace towards the back end of the season and I went on the pitch to talk to Dean Kiley, the goalkeeping coach for Crystal Palace. And I said to him, I said, look at this pitch, it's unbelievable. At the end of the season, there's not even a mark on it. He said, you know what, Phil? He said, we're pulling it up and putting a new one down. I said, why? So the pitches that we played on back in the day, sometimes they were horrendous. You go to Peterborough, for example, when we went to Peterborough and places like Notts County. Some of these places that we went to, it was one of those you had to make sure that your second touch was decent.
Let's talk a bit about modern day Forest. You've touched on it there. You commentate for the Premier League regularly for the international feeds. Obviously, I haven't seen you because I never watch streams. But what did you make of Forest last season in the games you saw in terms of mostly the tactics, I guess, initially? Because they went about it in a rigid way to stay up. Do you respect that and think it was the right way to go?
Yeah, absolutely right. First and foremost, people were hammering coops for the amount of players that he brought in. And if you look at the season, it's a good job he did because the amount of injuries that Forest sustained was unbelievable. And even if you take the last game of the season at Crystal Palace, I could go through a list of players and I could pick an 11 of the first team players who could be playing, who were on the sidelines. And something had to change. I went to the Leeds game and we're talking about games towards the back end of the season. And I thought against Leeds, we were very fortunate. Cailan Abbas was in great form. Leeds squanded quite a few opportunities. And that was Jesse Marsh's last game. Got the result. I think Brendan Johnson scored a good goal that day. And we're thinking, Well, hopefully we can kick on from here. It didn't materialise. And I'm looking back and thinking, Well, when did it start to click? When did it start to go into the chance where we think, Well, Forest are going to stay up. And I thought the game was Liverpool away.
To think that scoring two goals away at Anfield and then to lose to Sallah in the 70 something minute was an unbelievable response. And then played Brighton. Brighton had that extra time game against Manchester United in the FA Cup and to go and win that one 3 1. And that then put us into a situation where we can move on from there. And if you take the last six games, only got defeated once in those last six, including three victories. And the one game they got beat was at Brentford, which I was doing work for PLP. And I thought then tactically didn't get it particularly right, the situation with the injuries and the single substitutions. But I'm not here to question Steve Cooper. He's by far a fantastic manager. It's by far a better manager than I'll ever be. So I would never doubt him. But I know that he was disappointed with the way things materialised. But I look at the situation, how the two goals went in and I've and Tony, they've done absolutely nothing that game. And goes to take a free kick and the wall splits. I think Kewate splits. People knocking Kaelan Avers, but I can't knock Kaelan Avis for that.
At the end of the day, it's happened. The wall shouldn't split. And then Ren and Loddie up against the silver. Loddie's left footed, the silver's left footed. You think, Hold on, I want to keep him onto my right foot. I want to send him down the line. But Loddie changes his body angles and allows the silver to come in and then just hammers the ball in. Again, Koyate could have done better, but with Loddie, there was a couple of mistakes there. I thought, Is this going to be the catalyst of what went wrong? I met a few Forest supporters after the game and you could see how distraught they were. I just said, Look, keep believing, keep believing. And thankfully, with the results, especially the one against Arsenal, got Forest out of a very tricky situation. As I mentioned, one defeat in their last six, Steve Cooper would have taken that. But say against Crystal Palace, thought they played really well. But I thought as well, players came into the floor towards the back end of the season. We know what an expensive signing M GW was. His last half a dozen games, he was superb.
The ball that he put in for a one lead for the goal he scored against Crystal Palace was absolutely sublime. But you look at a one lead, look at how many goals he scored in the last half dozen games. I have to admit that when he first came in from Berlin and I saw him play, I thought he was very wooden. I thought he was very laden, but I didn't think he was fit. Then he's had injuries going along the way as well. But in the last half dozen games, people came to the floor and started performing and getting results. Yes, 30 odd players that he signed, he had to go and do that. Otherwise, might have been a situation where in the championship now. For me, it's going to be more of a revolving door to try and get these pieces in the jigsaw to find out exactly what squad he wants. And it might take time. It might take time, it might take money, it might take the availability of who is around. We're looking at players, you've gone out the revolving door already. We're looking at who's going to come in. There's talk about I'm trying to think the...
Is it Drogowski, the goalkeeper, possibly being one. You're talking about Cession being another. You talk about a Hiea Nacheo, potentially. Hudson Adoye, I believe that he's talking to or potentially talking to Nottingham Forest. And these are the things that Steve Cooper has got to be looking at. He knows Hudson and Adoui anyway from the England under 17s. He knows M GW from the under 17s as well. So he knows what a good player he he is. I'm sure that Coops would get the best out of Adoui as well.
I was going to ask, is there a particular player you admire from the current set up then? I get the impression it's Gibbs White, or is there someone else that you particularly think is a good player?
I like Gibbs White. I'll be honest with you, when we signed him, to start off with, for that vast amount of money and for the lack of goals that he scores, I wouldn't say that he's a 10, 12, 15 goals a season player. But what he gives you was eight assists this year, something along those lines, maybe a little bit more in the Premier League. But he gives you an all round performance. No, we're not in a forest. They like to counter attack. It's how we used to do it back in the day as well. When you had the likes of Roy, when you had the likes of C ollemore, I wouldn't turn around and say W o ney was electric, but we had good pace, he had good stamina. Stoney was good pace, etc. Lars as well. So counter attacking skills, super. And when you have the likes of Gibbs White, the one he, for me, improved immeasurably towards the back end of the season and showed what pace he had. Brendan Johnson, another player. And when you have somebody like Danilo as well, who can get himself into that advanced position, you got Loddie on one side, you can get himself up there as well.
It was the time where you had players who could be very expansive. And that's what it was all about. But yeah, Morgan Gibson, I like... I have to go with Brendan Johnson because he's Welsh. But it's going to be an interesting season 4 for Nottingham Forest. How they go about the business, what players that they're going to accrue into the ground, and what money is going to be available from the chairman as well.
Without having the squad in place, it's difficult to say exactly where they can finish. But do you think they'll be comfortable this season? It's a little disrespectful to say the promoted teams aren't very good, but they look like they face an uphill task. A few of them in Everton have got financial worries and Wolves are selling players. So are you worried about Forest going down or do you think they'll finish mid table? What would you be looking at?
I would like to think that they would finish mid table. If they could finish mid table and above, superb. We know that sides that come up from the championship, they've got that momentum already going. So you look at the likes of Lewton, for example, you think that they are going to be one of those who are going to be relegated straight away. But you look at their form at Kenilworth Road, hard place to go, very tight. They've got a lot of players who are strong, athletic, they're powerful. Got two lads up front who can score goals. They've got a back unit who are tall, again, very physical. So Kenilworth is going to be really hard to try and get points. Same as Nottingham Forest. You look at Nottingham Forest, they finished 10th in the table for home form last year. Away form finished bottom. Conceived at the most goals. No, sorry, I would rephrase that. I think the lead scored the most goals but conceded the most goals. But I think the differential between for and against was a lot higher for Forest. Eight points total. I think there was only the one victory.
Was it the victory at Southampton, potentially? Yes. Potentially? Yes. And how many goals did they score? Eleven. Eleven goals in 19 games. And it's something really that Coops and his staff taken and Reedy, and great to see that Steven Reed is coming back, by the way, that is something that they're going to have to look at really very, very carefully.
You're obviously still very well informed about Forest and I guess you have to be about the whole Premier League for the work you do. You said we a couple of times. Do you consider Forest your club? Because you had sizable stints at quite a few clubs? A Forest your club or is there a clutch of clubs that.
You respied? No, it's one of those when I'm talking, I'm very respectful to all the clubs I play for. And whether I've done a podcast for Manchester City or Coventry, it's always a wee because I feel associated with the club. People always ask ask me the question, what club do you support? And if you know me, you know the answer. Let me just say to you now, it's always been a difficult one because being brought up with rugby and whatever and having traveled around here, there and everywhere, it wasn't a case of being a fan. I call a fan being somebody who goes to games week in, week out. I've never had the opportunity because of being at 16 years of age. I moved to Plymouth. Prior to that, I lived in England, I lived in Wales, I lived in Holland. So I moved around a bit. But the first clubs that I started supporting, as I mentioned before, was Roder JC and Kurt Clive. They had two players in the World Cup finals back in 1978. Jan Youngblood, who was in goal, and Dick Neninger, who came off the bench to score. They lost that game against Argentina over in Saris.
So that was one of the first clubs that I really followed. And I used to go and watch them play. Buying Muniq was another side because invariably, we used to spend our holidays down in Bavaria, down in Austria. But the very first time I ever went to Bion was with Nottingham Forest back in 1996. And even though I was an international footballer and played against Germany on several occasions, this opportunity to play in the Olympic Stadium was a dream come true for me. So to go somewhere that you've always wanted to go and do, albeit that the result was not the greatest one, to one Steve Chettel, great header, good free kick David. But I've always loved my football. I've always loved my rugby. And I follow the crusader's rugby, which is from New Zealand, down in Canterbury. And they've won their seventh title on the spin. So sometimes I annoy my wife because I get up at five past four in the morning to go and watch the crusaders play. But in respect of the football, I'm very respectful to all the clubs that I played for and I feel that I'm part and parcel of their history.
And every time I've come to Nottenham Forest or Coventry or Plymouth, Man City, Huddersfield, I have a lot of respect from a lot of people who enjoyed my time when I was at these clubs.
Are you still in touch with many former Forest teammates? Or is it a bit like any job in any walk of life where maybe you just stay in touch with two or three people for years to come and the rest drift into the Eater and you say hello when you see them in the street or.
At functions? Yeah, it's always a difficult one because I'm sure if you talk to Steve Chettel, for example, he will have his own little click of ex N ottingham Forest players. But Steve Chettel was virtually a Nottingham Forest player right from the start, right to the end. Same, we can talk about other players. Nigel Jensen, I know that he's been at Sheffield Wednesday in places like that, but he has this massive affinity and he does a great ambassadorial role at Nottingham Forest as well as Jenno. Same as Mark Crossley. I'm in touch with Mark Crossley. I'm in touch with to be, obviously. Wowny had been on the phone too, congratulations him at the end of the season. It was going to be a tough one. Was it going to be Everton? Was it going to be Nottenham Forest? I'm really pleased at the end. I know Deji as well, obviously Stoney. I was delighted that the guys over Everton were able to maintain their Premier League status as well as Nottingham Forest. So it is difficult because when you move around and I've been to about seven or eight clubs is that you manage to defend certain people.
But I saw Stewart pierce at John Sillett's memorial. I was having a good old chat with him, Mark Crossley through Facebook and things like that. But there are players through clubs that you keep in touch with.
I was surprised. I thought Leicester would get out of it, I must admit. I thought Everton would probably go. But Leicester just seemed to sleep walk into relegation. It was a very weird one with the quality of players they had.
It was weird, wasn't it? I was surprised that Brendan Rogers took the decision to go and leave and then Dean Smith coming in. But again, I look at the media side regarding Dite2 and Evertin, they're all saying they're getting sacked at the end of the year and this that, whatever. But he's come in, he's come and done a great job. They didn't have an out and out striker, did they? It was one of those that Ellis Simps was having to come in and do the role. But they've done a great job there. But I'm not bothered about Everton. All I'm bothered about is Nottingham Forest.
Last question before I let you go. I know you've done coaching at youth level. I think you work in an academy or you have an academy. Did you not fancy management or senior coaching at any point?
When I came out of football, I've always wanted to be a coach. I've always wanted to work with children and to see how the progression goes. I've been very fortunate during my career that I've been able to see a lot of players make their first team debuts and go on and do better things. When you get to see him a little bit later, I saw Will Hughes down at Crystal Palace. I was with him at Derby County. It was just great to see how he's evolved as a player from when I had him as a 13, 14 year old at Derby County to see him where he is now at 28 years of age. And so I look after players careers as well and just seeing how they mature from being a young man to a man. And there's a lot of players who I've been involved in who've gone on to better things, who's gone on to be international footballers nd it's great to see how they mature and how they evolve and how they move on.
Well, David, it's been a real pleasure hearing all the stuff about your career and your thoughts on the game today. It'd be great to have you back on, actually, you're really interesting. Thanks to everyone who's watched along. We'll be back later in the week with some transfer chat and then a different guest next week. But in the meantime, thank you very much and we shall see you soon.