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Hello. Welcome to Cowboy Red. As is our way in the summer, we're going to be hearing from different people connected to Night in Forest away from the day to day madness of transfer news. With that in mind, I'm delighted to welcome back Simon Bristow to the show. As you'll know him as our glorious banners on Twitter. He was with us a year ago talking about his book, Free From Desire, which was the promotion season in photos he took from the stands. He's back with a second book titled RISEN on the back of Incredible Highs and L ose of this season or last season, depending on when the cut off actually is. Simon, how are you doing?


Good, thank you, Matt. Lovely to be back with you and looking forward to chatting about a few more photos.


Is it this season or last season we're talking about?


I think it's... If our fixtures come out, maybe that could be the cut off when they tend to reset the tables, isn't it? So we're on the cusp of it, that's for sure.


That's true. We're recording this the day before the fixtures come out. So by the time people are watching or listening to this, then yeah, I think we're talking about last season. So like we said, the book last year, Freedom and Desire, flew off the shelves. It had to do three print runs. You were going mad and it's like a total mad hat for a few weeks. You raise a lot of money for charity. What made you come back and do it all again?


Well, I should start by just saying a massive thank you for everybody that bought a copy of the first book because despite the headaches and the logistical challenges, looking back on it, it was an incredible experience, very humbling that people wanted to buy a book with my very dodgy photos. And I think we got close to about £50,000 raised in the end, which was split between Ford's Garibaldi and the Robin hood Fund at the time. And I've mentioned at the start of book two, but I always swore to people, literally on some occasions, that I wouldn't do a second book because it was fun. But it was a bit of a challenge at times. We're not set up to do book sales. I'm not Amazon or anything like that. Most of it was being done out of my back room. And yeah, I guess it's Greg Mitchell that is to blame for book two. He's harassed me. For a long time. Yeah, exactly. He harassed me for weeks and months. And it was just the way the season ended again. And I just felt, you know, if we'd finished mid table, which would have been lovely, I don't think it would have had the same appeal.


But the end of the season was epic again. So I just thought, Right, I'll do a second one and then that is it unless we get to Europe and then I can see it.


So two questions off the back of the that. Firstly, I assume Greg's going to help do all the packing and loading this time then.


Yeah, because he managed to avoid it last time. So yeah, I'm definitely roping him in for that.


The second question, obviously all the money last time is for charity, and I think this is the case this time. Which charities and how can people get the book before we start going through the photos you've selected?


Yes. So in terms of buying the book, it's available for pre sale, pre order on the Forza Garibaldi website. If you go on to Our glorious Banner's Social or Forza Social, you'll very quickly find the link and the details. Price is 18.65, again, includes post and packaging. We are sorting international orders as well. I know you have listeners around the world now, Matt. So anyone's in Australia or the US, we are working through those. They just get in touch directly. And in fact, the US Supporters Club are about to launch, hopefully by Monday, will have launched their order system as well. So they're going to do a bulk order and then distribute them locally for which is great. And the charities this time. So again, 50 % of it is going to go to Forza just to help fund everything that those guys are doing because it's wonderful and we all love it. But it does come at quite a hefty price to do those displays. So keep those guys funded and hopefully we're going to do one or two new things as well with some of the money that we get in. And then the other 50 % is going to go to the PDSA this time, which is the leading veteran charity.


Bit of a personal one for me. Getting a bit choked up by it. It's in the book, read it in the book. I'm not going to go into too much detail about it now. But yeah, it's a personal choice for me this time around. So anyone who buys a book will be doing me a big favour.


I'll put the link to the book in the comments for the description as well, so people can check it out. Obviously, if you're listening to this just on iTunes, you can't see the photos. So if you go to our Twitter account, I'll put a plug in for that at the end as well, all the photos will be there. I'll post them so you can see this as we go along. So you're not going to be missing out. But I appreciate this is more of a visual episode than normal. And as I said, we do have lots of international listeners now, Australia, America, Pennsylvania, Norway. So hello to everyone who listens from around the world. So what we're going to do, like last time is, Simon sent me, I think it's eight photos from the book that go through the season. And I'll just ask him about those and questions off the back of it about as the season went along and how he was feeling low, similar to the rest of us were feeling, I guess. But first photo is this is West Ham at home. Obviously, you mentioned RISEN, you can see RISEN in the background.


What made you pick this photo?


It's interesting. I had last season when we did this and the trajectory of the book was starting very low and then it rose and rose and rose and rose and went up to Wembley, I think the story of this season is a bit more like up and down peaks and troughs. And this was a real high starting point. Yeah, we've been to Newcastle the week before. That was great. Brilliant day out. But in a way, it came away a bit deflated of like, oh, actually, it's going to be pretty tough. And this first home game felt like a real start to the season for us, almost like at the time, we all knew that home form was going to be all important, which obviously is how the season played out. And it's just a a glorious photo. Obviously, it just encapsulates that moment really lovely. The warmth, it comes through the huge card display that Forza had sorted the day before. And it was really smart from then because it played back to their first display, which people probably won't remember. But it was after the Maranakis takeover. So what's that, '22 16, '21, and they've done a very small, by their standards now, display in the train that said the Rise of the Garibaldi.


We saw this as a moment of the end point of that first journey. So we have risen and we are back in the Premier League and this is where I took the inspiration for the name of book two as well. And it just felt like a glorious day, sea of red at a great start to the home games of our Premier League season.


Did you have any challenges this year? I remember I asked you last year about getting into the ground, taking the photos. Obviously, the Premier League is a bit more picky. It's very much more salubrious. It's a different world to me. Let me realise what a different world it was. Was it actually harder to get all the photos taken this year?


I had one amusing episode at Man United, Old Trafford. Bizarrely, we'd obviously played them in the league. It was just after Christmas, wasn't it? And I walked in, no problem. And then the cup game, for some reason, I had the same equipment with me and they weren't having any of it. And they were trying to send me away and leave my bag and my camera at some locker system. And I was just asking for more and more senior stewards and just saying, but it's a fixed lens camera. There's no issue with this. You let me in. And eventually someone with a bit of sense let me in. I did buy a new camera last summer, preempting that it might be more difficult, which is more slimlined and goes in a pocket. And occasionally I've hidden it in my hat, in my hand as we're getting searched. So I'm giving away my secrets now. I've got no chance next year. It's a it's on the whole, it's been fine. When you do get stopped and asked what it is, stewards tend to be quite sensible. It's not got a massive zoom lens. I'm not taking photos of stuff that's going on on the pitch and they just let me carry on with it, basically.


True. I think we should probably make it clear they're not match photos. That's what you sent us to me. I know we said this this year, but they're fan photos taken from within the stands by yourself, obviously.


Yeah, exactly. It's a good point and a good moment to just shout out. Richie, I know he's got an extended team now as well. Premier League has allowed him to get some more people involved with the match day stuff and it's just brilliant. I think the stuff that they create on a match day is absolutely sensational. And if you look at what other clubs do, it's nowhere near the quality that Richie and I think it's Amy and Josh are the two guys that work with him. I think their stuff is really outstanding. So we're very lucky to have those guys working for Forest and producing great content.


True. I might ask Richie to come back and do another one, actually, as obviously the iconic photo at the end of the season of the A lston game. Try and get Rich on talk us through that. Now, the second photo, you quite rightly mentioned the trajectory of this season was very much more up and down than the straight rocket line we saw last season and no more so than Leicester away. Disaster. For you, this photo sums that game up.


Yeah, you probably won't thank me for this, but here's Dave Marples.




I stand next to most away games. And yeah, sadly, he was in the right place at the right time for me on this night. It's just it was a horrible night. We'd been on a pretty bad run of form. It felt like it was an early make or break type game because they'd been in dreadful form as well. And I think probably less so for us because we all hoped that nothing stupid would happen with Steve Cooper. But for them, I think if they'd lost that night, they would have sat Brendan Rogers. And so actually the sliding doors moment was, thank God they didn't lose because if they got rid of him early in the season, they might have got a better manager in at the time and been not part of the relegation battle. But yeah, it just wasn't a great night. Their fans, desperate for a rival with us that we're not really giving them, which gets them more and more angry. And it was a classic head in the hands type night. Tyreke hit the post early on and then just everything seemed to go bad from there. And it wasn't a pleasant experience.


But again, referenced in the book that the away fans that night did make a bit of a stand in terms of singing Steve Cooper's name for what, 20 plus minutes in the second half? And I think it probably did to have an impact of what then played out in the days following that game where there was a bit of rumor or quite a lot of rumor about if we changed manager, other names being touted. We know that the ownership and the board tend to take note of fan sentiment. I think that night we played a role in ensuring we stuck by the manager and kept him in the job and allowed us to go on and do what we did over the rest of the season.


I guess we'll go straight to the next show then, which was the next game, wasn't it? It's Villa at home and they stuck with Cooper and there was this banner in the lower Bridgeford, which lots of people will have seen. Tell us about this photo.


Yeah. This is one of my film shots. I've done more and more stuff on film this year and I think I'm going to eventually transition to just doing film just because it's a bit more fun. It's higher risk. You get lots of very dodgy, blurry, dark photos that are completely unus. But I just love how grainy it is and a bit more real than the digital stuff. So this is one of the film shots of the display that we did before the Villa game, which was a message of, yeah, Steve group had had his new contracts. We were all fully behind that. And here he is, the leader of the Garibaldi. That was a company by the picture of him that's just up to the right of this shot. And then down the other end, we had the text banner that was saying, Look, this is just the start of the journey. Let's get to work. And up the performance level on the pitch and off the pitch, which we all did. And it was a good result that night. 1 1 might not feel like it compared to other home games that we had over the course of the season, but felt like an important one just to move us all forward a little bit.


Yeah, it was a terrible game, wasn't it? Do you think if he'd gone at that point and we'd still stayed up, would it have meant so much? Would the scenes in the stand have been the same, do you think, or do fans just care about results at the end of the day?


It's a really tough question. I think there is an element that fans only care about results. I remember all that talk after the Leicester game of Would Cooper go? And to the extent of people saying, Well, I'm not going to go to games if it's not Steve Cooper, our manager, which I understand and I get. But four or five games later, when we've got a bit of a winning run with a new manager, you end up coming back. And it's just cut throat business, right? These people you build these bonds with and have this effect reaction for, they go and you have a bit of a feeling of loss. But very quickly that feeling is replaced by, oh, okay, we got this new guy and actually he's all right and he's doing this. Look, I'm 100 % of Steve Cooper man, and I'm glad that we as a fan base got behind him and that the ownership and the board took the right decisions. And a couple of times during the season that they did it. I don't think if we'd stayed up under another manager, I don't think it would have meant as much.


I don't think we would have had the scenes that we had at the end of the season with the jubilance and the singing and the dancing and everything else that came with it. I think what Steve Cooper has done and his back room staff and all of the players over the couple of seasons, they've created a real unique bond with us as a fan base. The stuff that they do behind the scenes and the stuff that they do for the city, I think we are at this unique stage now. You don't get many managers and groups of people around them that can create this fan base. I think it is a very important relationship that would be very difficult to be replaced. But that's not to say someone else couldn't come in as a manager in the future and get us wins and take us forward more. But this is a very unique feeling right now, that's for sure.


I think you're right. Like you say, it's such a cutthroat business that it made it feel more special that Forest boxed the trends by hook or by crook. They stuck with him in the end. And the fans had given them something to believe in and they'd invested back in Cooper. I think they stuck their neck out in a way by getting behind him so much that they were a part of keeping Forest up. And those scenes at the end, it was a collective celebration because fans had earned their part in keeping up. You saw the hell at Leeds, where when they went down and they were chanting.




Off off the pitch and go home or whatever it was, I can't remember the exact wording, but I think that set Forest apart as a different club. Also, I think Temp said it on the podcast recently, It won't always be like this. In the back of our minds, I think we always know that Cooper is going to go because every manager goes. People would have said 30 years ago, You'll never replace Brian Clough and you never will. But Cooper brings his own different sprinkling of magic and it will be sad when it goes. I think there's a moment in the way we're all trying to enjoy it as much as we can, certainly while he's here. Talking of him enjoying those special moments, probably after the Liverpool game, this one was the first huge moment against one of the proper, proper big guns against Man City at home. And it slowly turned the tide of the season, I think. Talk us through this photo. I assume this is after Chris Wood scored his only goal and very big goals. It is.


Yeah, this is one of the ones. And I think people actually quite like these when they're just a blurry mess. And this is clearly not very Chris. I was in the moment as much as as anyone else, which I maintain, I'm always in the moment. I don't stand there and just take photos because that's not what I want my football experience to be. But this just in a weird way encapsulated everything because it had been building in this game. The first half, clearly Man City are brilliant. What a great team, what a load of great players. They dominate all the stats going. But we had this sense during the first half of even when they scored their goal, it was like, Okay, we're doing quite well here. There's clearly some very tactical plan that's been set out and the players seem to be delivering it. So we had hope still at half time despite trailing. And then second half, they squanded a couple of really great chances. Shout out to Earling Harland for scying it from three yards. And it just keep building and referencing Greg again. I know he said post match, I knew it was coming and I think lots of us knew it was coming.


And then there was just that brilliant move and we could all see the path that needed to be made and we could see Chris Wood unmarked and it was all just executed perfectly. And it was one of those moments that was a huge release because it had been building. I can't remember what minute Chris would score, but it was pretty close to the end, wasn't it? And it just been building and building and building and building. And we had this sense that something was coming, and then he scored, and then all hell just breaks loose. And it was an absolute sea of limbs as people would describe it. And one of those really blurry photos that I very occasionally put out, but just encapsulated the mood in that moment perfectly.


I think this is my favourite one. There's two things I like about this one. I don't know if this is deliberate stuff you notice, but there's the generational aspect of it. So at the left hand side, you've got the young lads all cheering, and then in front of them, you've got the old boy who looks about 80, cheering just as much, celebrating in his own way. And also the city ground is actually in some ways, a bit ram Shackle. And you can see that with the Peter Taylor sand. And obviously, we're playing Man City. It's nothing like the ETSI has. And it's nothing like... I do love the Emeritz Stadium and I'd love to go to Spurs Stadium, but you don't get many grounds like the City Ground. And this photo encapsulate what's the City Ground about as well, do you think?


Yeah, definitely. I know I hear you. So obviously, we had to move seats last summer because of the move of the Segg Line for the away fans, which at the time I was devastated because I got that beautiful seat just behind the goal in lower Bridgeford and we moved into Zed Block. So I need to say a big thank you to all of the new people that I was sat around or stood around that you can see in this photo because they featured quite heavily this season and they're all really great lads and guys and girls. And so huge thanks to them for putting up with my camera. A ctually, I think in the end, we very quickly realized that Zed Block was better. It was a better view. We love being in the corner. We had a really great group of people around us that got involved with the atmosphere and felt like we found a really good outcome from what originally felt like something that was going to ruin our match day experience. And you're right as well. It's just a great little corner of the ground, the old Peter Taylor stand side.


And the other really good thing as well was what we got going in Zed Block then connected really well to A Block as well. So for years it felt like lower Bridgewood and A Block were very disconnected, whereas now it's joined as one. The atmosphere got going even better. I wasn't always a huge fan of that big giant screen because it did cause a bit of lighting issues for some of my friends. But at the same time, it did help out at times in the depths of winter as well. But yeah, I do like that photo and how blurry it is.


So we go from one Manchester club to the other. This is May United at home. Is this the league game where we lost 2 0 or is it the cup game?


This is the league game, I think, if I've got things right. The cup game was night, wasn't it?


Yeah. I thought we were pretty poor and really well beaten in that game. Why did you pick this photo out?


So it's another of my film shots, so that's partly why. But again, it plays back to what we were just saying about that you don't get this, where Old Trafford is a bit ramshackle in parts, but still, it doesn't look like this. This looks like a proper football ground. You've got the bit of the floodlights there, the side of the ground, the old wall. I just really like... Because it's a film shot, you've got one chance that it comes out good. It's not like you press the button and you've got 15 digital shots to pick through and find the right one. And this one just I've always loved it since I first saw it. The guy is just like, right, you can tell what he's doing. He's singing Mell of Kintyre as is everyone around him, he's right into the game. And it's just that fever before every game at the city ground that builds and what Mell of Kintyre does, really gets the crowd going. It felt like a big day, this one. We've done the display for the 50th anniversary of the club logo, which has been great. And you're right, I think we were well beaten on the day.


And it felt like Man United were beating us very well every other week around this time of the year. But yeah, just a photo that I really love. Probably one of my top top favourites of the season because I think it just encapsulates what football is all about really nicely.


So the next one does that as well. It certainly encapsulates a moment. It's Villa away, a good ground and a nice one to go to. I think we can all guess when this photo was taken, their moment in the game. This is after Villa have scored, is it?


Yeah. No, this is full-time. Okay. I'd actually been stood right up at the back of the stand and it had been a pretty awful day for me to get photos. Not that that's why I'm going to games, but it does play in my mind. I'm not really getting anything very good here because we were in the end, very soundly beaten or comfortably beaten. I hadn't really got anything that great. Because I was right at the back, I started to shuffle down to the front as full-time approach. And then the whistle went and I actually got a couple of different shots of different people along this railing line and it just encapsulated. I think that we were all a bit deflated. For me, I think this was the only moment in the season where I thought, we're going to go down here because it just felt like we couldn't get anything going. We had some good performances that hadn't got results. Our way form was dreadful. We'd had good chances with teams. We played teams around us at home that ever turned walls. We ended up drawing. We'd not got the wins. It just felt like we were letting too many opportunities slip by.


And it just felt at the end of this game, and I guess this photo and this person, whoever it is, summed it all up. We were all a bit just like, this is probably too much for us now. And we couldn't really see how we were going to turn it around. And yeah, I think linking from the previous two photos, the Man City one, the great exuberant scenes of having just scored a goal and the Man United one of similar type scenes before a game where we're all excited. This is the real low of going to football of, oh, yeah, another defeat. This is bad. We're getting a bit worried about getting relegated here.


I think I saw that game a bit differently to other people. I might be wrong now. I think it was the first game we had for quite a while where we had an away plan that looked tactically sound, and it was Shelby's monumental cock up that killed it. And I thought we were right in that game. And I don't think Villao offered a lot. So I came away from that one thing a bit more hopeful. My low moment, like I said on the podcast the other week, was Leeds away, where we were absolute garbage for the last 70 minutes. And that's when I thought we were going down. But yeah, there were certainly plenty of moments where it looked grim, wasn't it?


Yeah, I know what you mean. I think Leeds was almost more fully accepting fate with probably to see what was going to be happening. With this one, I know what you mean. It did feel like we had a good plan, but I think we had had other games where it felt like we had a good plan, but it wasn't quite working. I think for me, this one, it was like, how many times are we going to go into games where it feels like we have a plan, where we have a good 60 minutes, but it doesn't quite work because we're running out of games now. It's got to click and it's got to start working. I think for me, it was just a worried feeling that it wasn't going to start clicking for us.


That cascading doom made it all the sweeter in the end, though, didn't it? Brentford away, it was probably the last chapter where you thought they had it on the play and they really shot themselves in the foot there by hooker, by crook. So to actually stay up, again, it probably heightened the celebrations in a way.


Yeah, I mean, Brentford is another good one. That was a real low moment. But weirdly, I think we had a couple of good results around that Brentford game and I had a bit more of hope and I was on a bit more of a high. And again, it was a really good performance. Afterwards, it felt awful, like leaving the ground and their fans are really weird. I remember leaving, I just like, real dejected about it. And it took me a day to get over it. But then I was like, Okay, right, we'll go again. We still got good games ahead of us now to try and get something from. And the home form was so good, it still kept you having hope. But yeah, it was a real up and down season. And I think the book captures that of you have this moment of Liverpool at home, great result, we've beaten a really massive, well established Premier League club. He has great, great players and we beat them and you're thinking, Brilliant. Okay, right, this is the start. And then you go to Arsenal and you get beat five nil. And it was just constantly this up and down nature of the season.


Actually, probably our best run was most importantly, towards the end of the season e where we were actually getting the old point away from home, consistently winning at home. And I guess the optimist, which I very much am, is you look how poor our wayf orm was this season, we've only got to improve that by a few points and we're comfortably mid table based on a replication of the home form, which probably won't get quite as good as those levels. But I think we get very similar in terms of output in the stands and on the pitch. So hope for next season.


I jumped the timeline slightly there because I did miss out one of the other pivotal... You mentioned the home games, obviously. Southampton at home, that was the most tense game game of the season for me, even more so than the Arsenal game. Tell us about this photo.


This one someone described to me as a Renaissance picture, which I'll take as a very, very kind compliment. But it's just the bodies everywhere and the thing. People are looking in different directions and hugging people. It was a hell of a night. I mean, up there with that Sheffield United playoff game in terms of being tensed and the twists and turns as the game unfolded. Even right to the end, we're going from thinking we're 5 2 up and then what was it? 10 minutes of injury time. And all of a sudden it's 4 3 and you're like, Oh God, there's still eight minutes of injury time. I just love this one. It managed to capture what a celebration is like and how it unfolds differently for people. As I say, you hug random people next to you or you're turning around. I just love the guy that's right at the back that's climbing up the wall, gazing to the light. Just a great celebration and a really important win for us on the night. I think that was a moment where we thought, we really can do this now. It's in our hands. We got to the stage of the season where you're starting to look at the other teams and think, God, they really are awful.


Leeds looking though. We talked about that Leeds game and I remember the lovely songs that they sing about us and walking back to our cars afterwards and they're all laughing and saying, Oh, you're going down. He who laughs last? And all that. But they looked shocking by this point of season. So you start to think, well, Leeds are going to go. And then Everton and Leicester look pretty shocking. Actually, we were in decent form. So I think this night was really important. We had to win it. It heaped pressure on the others. We did win. We got that huge relief and it allowed us to really believe that we can stay up here.


I don't think I appreciated how crap Leeds, Leicester, Everton were until we stayed up. And then I think I viewed the games through a different lens because I went into all those games, Leicester versus Liverpool at home thinking, oh, Leicester could win this because Liverpool are as good away. But then when you watch the games and you realise actually, we're significantly better than then when we found a formula, which we have by then, but.


They were terrible. I keep on looking back and I remember going to games, we'd have this conversation and I was adamant, the same as you, that we weren't that bad. Yeah, we were finding it tough because it was first season back in the Premier League and integration of all the players and maybe.


A bit of... We had all the.


Injuries as well. A lot of injuries, maybe a bit of naivety around some games as well. But I thought we were were pretty good on the whole. You look at the 38 games, how many were we dreadful in? We're not that many. Even the ones where we were getting handsomely beaten at the start of the season, it e hadn't quite got it right at that point. And we were playing Man City and we were playing Arsenal who came first and second and they're pretty spectacularly good teams. I don't think we were that bad. And I think what Leicester fans and Leeds fans, the Southampton fans would say, was over the course of the season, they were dreadful, pretty much throughout. So I think it was the right result in the end, obviously, because we were all Forest fans, so we wanted to stay up. But I do think it was the right result that we did stay up.


Yeah, I agree. I actually think Leicester were better than Everton and really should have stayed up because they just blew it. But that's a conversation for a different football team on a different day. Last photo is the ultimate celebration then Arsenal at home. I love this one. The fellow in front, especially, who quite obviously looks like he's crying, talk to us about this one.


Yeah, I hope people don't mind me sharing this one. But I think it sums it up. There was another one... I did post this one at the time, and there was another one that I posted with a guy who stands next to me who was in a similar state. I think we all were. Shane, in fact, who gets mentioned on the podcast quite regularly, he commented to say, look at the emotion in people's eyes. And it is incredible. But you don't think about this happening in the stand and you might see it at the time. I guess what I hope my photos are doing are helping people to relive all of these memories because these things pass you by in the moment and you don't realise quite what state we were all in. I know I was exactly the same as the two guys with the very red eyes. It just captures as well this photo. You've got the guy who's clearly exuberant and we've just stayed up. This is amazing. Then at the other end of it, you've got just the relief that's being shown as well. And just, yeah, I never have the really favourite photos of the season because it's such a happy moment as well.


I think that's the key. This book definitely wouldn't have happened if we'd gone down because you don't have these wonderful happy moments to replay. It was just a brilliant day as well. I reference it in the book that it all came together in that moment. I think it had to. If we'd gone to palace, it t wouldn't have been the same if we had stayed up. Yeah, there would have been huge relief. That game would have been horrendous, the tension and the gut wrenching feeling we'd all been going through. But I feel like it had to finish at home because of everything that happened over the over the course of the season and the way that we had approached home games, certainly, I mean, more so the fans, I think. I know the players go out there and they give it their all home and away. And yeah, they were brilliant at home. But I think the home fans were incredible over the course of the season. I know it's been talked about loads and people have referenced the atmosphere and how incredible it is. I do honestly believe that there's something in that. And I hate that the concept of 12 men.


It's one of the worst things in football, they're on my B in list. But I think that the collective spirit and approach of the fans kept us up because we really dug in when we had to dig in. There wasn't a home game, maybe aside from Borme, because we'd all gone into it thinking, oh, we're going to be Borme because it's only Bournemouth. And there was a bit of angst at the end of that one. But aside from that, the spirit remained real focused and steadfast and supportive. I just think there's something to be said for positivity. I know Steve Cooper referenced it, I think after the Arsenal game in his interview with Colin Flay, talking about in a world where everything can very easily be negative, there's something to be said for positivity. I agree with him. He's usually right, isn't he? I just think he's right. We pulled together a real positive spirit and that's what helped us get over the line or certainly played a big role in us getting over the line and staying up. The Arsenal game was brilliant. I think it I knew we were going to win that day.


And I knew that Everton were going to put us in a position by not beating the walls. That if we did win, we were going to stay up. Because it was just all written to be that way. It had to be a great win at home and allow us to all celebrate together and dance around on the pitch and everything else. And it was like Wembley again and maybe a bit better still. Slightly different but a very similar feeling and just a brilliant way to end the season in terms of staying up.


Do you worry that positivity erodes over time as expectation and assumption grows that there'll be a lot more Bournemouth games? We might be playing obviously Loughton, Sheffield United, Burnley, Palace, Brentford. We just think, oh, well, we should beat these teams now. And that translates into the stands. Is that a worry for you?


I'm in the Greg Mitchell positivity spirit of, Will we qualify for Europe next season? So the positivity will maintain. I think so. Expectation changes, right? The season that's just finished, how far has our expectation jumped from the season, even the season previous when we were getting promoted? All of a sudden, we got Man United, Newcastle, etc. Coming to town. You t ake away the real elite clubs. But Man United and Newcastle are coming to the city ground and we're like, well, we should win this because it's in the city.




Three or four seasons ago, we got no disrespect to Preston coming to the city ground and we're like, probably going to get beat, aren't we? So I think now we stayed up. The expectation moves on another level again. And yeah, Luther and Shefford United come to the city ground next season and we just think, well, this is a home banker because we're a more established Premier League club than then now. And even I think we'll start to have ideas of grander that our level is now Brentford is now Crystal Palace is now certainly like an Everton or Wolves. And so when those clubs are coming to the city ground, we'll be thinking, well, we should win this because these are now clubs that are our level. So yeah, expectation will rise and it could become more difficult. And I do think we've had a perfect blending of Steve Cooper factor players, the performances on the pitch, have married with a timing of home support, really kicking on and being very positive in spirit, as I just mentioned. Those two things have blended together really nicely and that will maybe fizzle out at some point. It may be more difficult to maintain it.


I'd like to hope that we would certainly go into the start of next season all buzzing still and thinking, Let's keep this going. I'd give a shout out to Greg and to Matt and to everyone that's involved in Forza because I think what they've done brilliantly is they've created a fans group that isn't about Crystal Palace, Leicester, etc. Have a group of 100 ultras that all were matching black T shirts and bang a drum and singing a corner together. And that's great, right? And I'm fully supportive of all clubs and all organisations and all people that try and do something about at the thousers and grounds. But I think what they do with those smaller groups is they create almost like a little clique of we are the people that are going to sing and bang the drum. Whereas what Fours have done is garnered this spirit of, we are all a group. This whole stadium is united and together. And that means that we get four stands singing, not just 100 guys and girls in one stand. So I think they've played a really important part in creating what we've got at the city ground.


And I know that that will continue and more and more people want to get involved with helping with displays and more and more people want to stand up and sing. Let's just keep it going and be as positive as we can.


I just worry that atmosphere is going to erode over time because I just think it's inevitable. But then players shouldn't need that atmosphere to win games anyway, so they should still be able to deliver. But I think it just made it a bit more special. How often did you hear commentators? Obviously, you were at the games more than me, but you'd hear commentators just be quiet and just listen to say, listen to the noise, which you don't get at other games because it's got that soul, I think as well. Obviously, the fans were so brilliant. I think that's probably what made this season special as well. I think the fans put Forest back on the map to a greater degree than Fulham and Bournemouth.




Not noisy clubs anyway, are they? I like a Fulham away day, but it's not a football day in a way, is it?


Yeah, I think you're right. I think the pundits will reference the noise at the city ground as clubs that get promoted need to replicate what the Forest fans did at the city ground. Hats off to all of us for the atmosphere that we created because, as I said, I genuinely think it had an impact and helped us stay up. And I do think it will become a thing now, where when you're doing the season previews, it'll be, well, if Sheffield United can generate the atmosphere at Bramall Lane the forest and the city ground, they might have a chance. So it is really important. I do agree with what you say about constantly being referenced. I think it will be a thing.


I think so. I think it actually gives Luton more of a chance in the Sheffield United because when did you last go to Kennehth Road?


The promotion team. The promotion team?


Of course. It's a good atmosphere, though, isn't it? They're quite hostile in a way.


Yeah, small grounds can often be the noisier ones. I think they'll enjoy next season.


I think they'll get relegated. They'll have a go, I think. They'll have a go. Right, I think we'll leave it there. We've gone through all the photos. Great stuff, of course. Just remind us how people can get hold of the copy, Simon.


Yeah. So if you head to the Ports of Garibaldi website and there's a little shop tab at the top of the screen, click on that and then you'll find the book there. Or head to Forza Garibaldi or Our Glorious Banners on social media and you'll very quickly and easily find the link. You can just click on that and it'll take you straight through to buy the book. 1865 is the price. It includes posters and packaging. They're being printed early July and will then be with people, hopefully by the middle of July.


Great. We should have plugged our podcast Twitter account ages ago for people who've listened to this. It's @garibaldi red underscore, so you probably have to just flick through the photos. I'll have timestamps them as well by the time you listen to this as well. Right, thanks to everyone who listened along. Watch along, very much appreciated. Hopefully see some of you at the live shows, which are this week. So do come along and say hello. If you're there, it'd be great to see as many people as possible. Simon, thanks very much.


Thank you very much, Matt.


Good luck with the book and have a good few days, everyone, and we shall see you soon.