Nottingham Forest European Cup Winners 40th Anniversary Reunion
Updated: Feb 17, 2022
***Scroll to the bottom of the blog to see all the Legends***
It is one of the greatest achievements in the history of English Football. Nottingham Forest, under the guidance of the legendary Brian Clough, went from the second division promotion to first division champions in one year then carried that momentum on to win back to back European Cup winners, picking up two EFL cups along the way.
Nottingham Forest started as underdogs, but with world class management from Clough and Peter Taylor, incredible team spirit and understanding of Cloughie's iconic 'rules of football' and the willingness to break the British Transfer Record and sign the right players for the right position - Nottingham Forest in this 5 year period transformed themselves as nobodies to kings of European Football and established themselves as one of Britain's 'Big Clubs' forever more
This epic achievement is understandably the high point in the history of the football club, an achievement that will never be replicated, and hasn't been by a British club in the last 41 years.
In fact since the back-to-back European Cup wins and 1981 European Cup campaign Nottingham Forest have failed to qualify for the competition leaving them an unbeatable record of having only ever played 20 games in the competition and have won 2 trophies!
With a games to trophies ratio of 10 games per trophy - Nottingham Forest can claim that they have made footballing history
Superstar Speakers are delighted to be hosting the Nottingham Forest European Cup 40th reunion where we will be bringing together AT LEAST 16 of the men who helped put Nottingham on the map and brought the biggest prize in European Football to The City Ground
***The Nottingham Forest Legends in alphabetical order***
Viv Anderson Nottingham Forest 1974 - 1984
Born in Clifton, Nottinghamshire Viv Anderson actually spent a year with Manchester United schoolboys before coming back to the East Midlands and Nottingham Forest. Anderson established himself as a first team regular under the guidance of Brian Clough and in his decade with the club played a vital part in the promotion, league win and both European Cup victories
Viv Anderson is famous for being the first black footballer to represent England at international level, but he was also one of the first black footballers to represent English clubs in Europe and is regarded as a trailblazer in English and European football
He was awarded an MBE in 2000
2. Colin Barrett Nottingham Forest 1976 - 1980
'Super' Colin Barrett is a fan favourite among the Nottingham Forest fans. A tough full back who unfortunately had his career cut short due to a knee injury.
Barrett signed for Nottingham Forest from Manchester City - having dropped from the top flight into the second division.
Barrett's greatest moment for Forest is scoring the winning goal against Liverpool in the first round of the 1979 European Cup campaign
3. Garry Birtles Nottingham Forest 1976 - 1980 / 1982 - 1987
Nottingham born Birtles played up front for his hometown club and earned a repuatation as a prolific goalscorer in both his spells at the City Ground.
Birtles stepped up to make the strikers position his own after Peter Withe was sold to Newcastle, going on to score against Liverpool in the first round of the 1979 European Cup campaign, score 2 goals against Southampton helping Forest win the 1979 EFL Cup final.
Garry Birtles was a first team regular during the iconic European Cup winning seasons of 1979 and 1980 where he picked up a winners medal for each victory - he is even responsible for the pass that John Robertson scored the winning goal in 1980 with.
Birtles is one of the few footballers who returned to the club and managed to continue his level of football, scoring 15 goals in 1983 - 84 and 14 in 1986 - 87 making him joint top goalscorer that season
4. Ian Bowyer Nottingham Forest 1973 - 1981 / 1982 - 1987
'Bomber' Bowyer is a Nottingham Forest legend and another man who spent years at the club under the management of Brian Clough. Bowyer was a key part of Cloughie's midfield during the rise from second division to Two time champions of Europe.
Bowyer left the club in 1981 for a spell at Sunderland only to return to Forest and make another 206 appearances for the club, leaving him with an overall total of 564 games and 96 goals and 10 trophies with Forest (Bowyer also has an FA Cup, EFL Cup and Cup Winners Cup from 1969 and 1970 with Manchester City)
In 2002 Bowyer added to his Nottingham Forest legacy when he returned as a coach to help bring some of the incredible knowledge and passion he has for the club back to a new generation
5. Kenny Burns Nottingham Forest 1977 - 1981
If ever there was proof of the genius of Brian Clough - it is the career of Kenny Burns. Burns was a tough striker at Birmingham City and was named Birmingham City player of the year and played for his native Scotland 20 times up front
Cloughie saw the big Scotsman and knew that he could fit perfectly into his Forest team as a centre back. Burns knew the role and adapted quickly to Nottingham Forest becoming player of the year in 1978 when Forest won the league, Captain of the EFL Cup winning team in the same year. Kenny Burns was present in both 1979 and 1980 Nottingham Forest European Cup wins, scored a goal against Barcelona in the 1979 European Super Cup win and was once again named Forest player of the year in 1981
A big man, with a big personality to match his huge reputation and legend in Nottingham
6. Frank Clark Nottingham Forest 1975 - 1979 / Manager 1993 - 1996 / Chairman 2011
The man that has done it all. Born and bred in the North East Frank Clark in Newcastle United's most decorated ever player after his role in the 1969 Fairs Cup victory. His career was deemed over by Newcastle bosses and was available on a free transfer to Nottingham Forest, in another shrewd move from Brian Clough he snapped up the experienced defender and made the most out of his European experience. Frank Clark helped Nottingham Forest win the 1978 First Division and 1979 European Cup before retiring
Frank Clark returned to Forest as manager in 1993 and had the unenviable task of following the mighty Brian Clough. Never one to shirk at a challenge Clark turned Nottingham Forest into title contenders, finishing third in the Premier League and qualifying for Europe, He is also the man responsible for signing Stan Collymore and selling him for the (then) British transfer record of £8.5 Million
In 2011 Clark took the reigns as chairman of the club and ambassador for Forest. Not bad for a man that Newcastle let go for free
7. Trevor Francis Nottingham Forest 1979 - 1981
The man who came to symbolize the level of confidence and ambition in Nottingham Forest. Trevor Francis was placed firmly in the history books when Brian Clough broke the British Transfer record to sign the Birmingham City wonder kid for a staggering £1 million - the first time a footballer had been sold for this amount. It is worth bearing in mind that the previous record was £516,000 taking David Mills from Middlesbrough to West Brom. Francis was priced at one million in the hope it would scare other clubs off - but Brian Clough wasn't scared of anything and knew he had to get Francis in his team
In another masterstroke from Clough, Francis made his European Football debut in the final of the 1979 competition, in which he paid back every penny of that iconic transfer fee (which was £1 million, not £1 short as Brian Clough cheekily claimed) when he headed in the only goal of the game and won the European Cup for Nottingham Forest
An iconic moment and an iconic photograph of 24 year old Francis diving towards goal that still stands at the City Ground to this day
***Click the image to check out our blog on the One in a Million Trevor Francis here ***
8. Archie Gemmill Nottingham Forest 1977 - 1979
Archie Gemmill is a beloved footballer to his nation. Simply because of his epic goal for Scotland vs Holland in 1978
Gemmill was one of a number of names taken from Derby County to Nottingham Forest following Clough and Taylor and immediately helped establish Clough and Taylor's style of football at the City Ground.
Despite his importance to the Nottingham Forest team, Brian Clough dropped Archie Gemmill for the 1979 final and although he earned a medal he didn't get a minute of playing time in the match.
Gemmill is still considered a Nottingham Forest legend and a vital part of the team that got Forest all the silverware in the late 1970s
9. Frank Gray Nottingham Forest 1979 - 1980
Frank Gray joined Nottingham Forest after the 1979 European Cup victory, but went on to appear in and win the 1980 Championship. Joining the club from Leeds United Frank Gray became the first player in history to appear in the European Cup final representing two different English Clubs, having been runner-up with Leeds in 1975
10. Brynn Gunn Nottingham Forest 1975 - 1986
Kettering born Bryn Gunn is a Nottingham Forest stalwart having spent over a decade at the City Ground. Gunn is most famous for his substitute appearance in the 1980 final (in which he picked up a winners medal) and Peter Taylor remarked to Brian Clough (on seeing 21 year old Gunn warming up) 'we're in the s*** now'
As a defender coming on with just 6 minutes to go in a tense 1-0 European Cup final, this didn't fill Gunn with confidence - but this humorous quote as stuck to Gunn in the last 40 years and he has embraced his role in Nottingham Forest European Cup history
11. Larry Lloyd Nottingham Forest 1976 - 1981
Another shrewd buy for Brian Clough, bringing the experienced defender to Nottimgham. Larry Lloyd had won the firct division, FA Cup and UEFA Cup with Liverpool in 1973 and 1974 and had played for England. He brought his considerable skill and experience to the City Groubd and formed a solid defensive partnership with Kenny Burns at the heart of Forest's backline.
Adding to his silverware collection Lloyd helped Nottingham Forest win a further 8 trophies (including the 2 European Trophies)
Lloyd returned to Nottingham after his playing career as a radio pundit for Forest games
One of the big personalities in the team
12. John McGovern Nottingham Forest 1974 - 1982
The Captain. Brian Clough's first signing for Forest and another Scottish legend that would prove a vital part of the team. McGovern lead the Forest team to all the success in the Clough era, an outstanding midfield general who incredibly never won an international cap for his home nation despite being a 2x European cup winner
McGovern is still involved in Forest and regularly appears at the City Ground to watch the team and can often be heard on local radio offering his valuable opinion.
13. Gary Mills Nottingham Forest 1978 - 1982
Gary Mills graduated from the Forest youth team into the first team during this golden era in Nottingham. In 1978 he made his first team debut and instantly broke the record as Nottingham Forest's youngest ever player at 16 years and 203 days, a record he held until Craig Westcarr made his debut in 2001.
Brian Clough had a simple mantra regarding age 'If you are good enough, you are ready'
Mills made one appearance in the 1979 European Cup campaign at the age of 17 years and 201 days making him the youngest player to win a European Cup, then he played in the 1980 final making him the youngest player to appear in a European Cup final at age 18.
Gary Mills is one of the men that Brian Clough inspired to go into management and carry on the legacy of Old Big 'Ead, Gary Mills was born in Northamptonshire and has returned to his home county to manage non-league Corby Town
Read our interview with Gary Mills on modern day Nottingham Forest's Youth
14. Jimmy Montgomery Nottingham Forest 1979 - 1980
Veteran Goalkeeper Montgomery was the understudy to Forest's Number one Peter Shilton During the 1979 - 1980 season. Montgomery found success at Sunderland and Birmingham before spending his final playing year at the City Ground and picking up a European Cup Winners medal in 1980
15. David Needham Nottingham Forest 1977 - 1982
Central defender David Needham arrived at Nottingham Forest in 1977 just after the were promoted into the top flight of English football, and played a part in helping them go from newly promoted to league champions in the same year. Needham played for Nottingham Forest until 1982 when he moved to Toronto Blizzard.
Needham was present for both European Cup victories despite sitting on the bench for both games.
16. John O'Hare Nottingham Forest 1975 - 1981
One of the men loyal to Brian Clough and another Scottish signing for Nottingham Forest. John O'Hare follwed Brian Clough from Derby to Leeds to Forest and brought continued success with him , winning 4 trophies with Derby County before helping establish Brian Clough's rules of football success to Nottingham Forest. O'Hare was vital in helping win 8 trophies at the club and is a 2 time European Champion
17. Martin O'Neill Nottingham Forest 1971 - 1981 / Manager 2019
Another man who followed Brian Clough into management is Northern Ireland legend Martin O'Neill. Winner of 8 trophies with in his Nottingham Forest playing career Martin O'Neill transitioned from player to manager with ease and had success with Leicester City, Celtic, Aston Villa, Sunderland and the Republic of Ireland before returning to Forest in 2019.
O'Neill is a manager keeping the spirit and learnings of Brian Clough alive and a legend in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Glasgow and Leicester - but it all started for him with Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest
18. John Robertson Nottingham Forest 1970 - 1983 / 1985 - 1986
The Picasso of our game and the greatest player to ever play for Nottingham Forest. John Robertson is beloved by all the Nottingham Forest fans young and old, as new generations rediscover the 'little fat man' who was a football genius.
It is no exaggeration to say that Robertson was vital in both European Cup finals having crossed the ball for Trevor Francis to head in the winner in 1979 and he scored the winner in 1980.
John McGovern put it best when he said
"John Robertson was like Ryan Giggs but with two good feet, not one. He had more ability than Ryan Giggs, his ratio of creating goals was better and overall he was the superior footballer", whilst Forest coach Jimmy Gordon rated Robertson as a better player than Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews, saying that he "had something extra on top".
After retiring from active football Robertson paired with Martin O'Neill has his assistant at Norwich, Leicester, Celtic and Villa.
One of British Footballs best ever players - who put himself in the hearts of Scottish Football fans for scoring the winning goal against England in 1981
19. Peter Shilton Nottingham Forest 1977 - 1982
There are many that belive Peter Shilton is England's best ever goalkeeper. Brian Clough understood the importance of a strong goalkeeper when he signed Shilton for £250,000 after Forest were promoted. In that League winning season Shilton only conceded 18 goals in 37 league games.
‘Some stupid people questioned me spending all that money on Peter Shilton. But I’ll tell you one thing – a team with only an OK goalkeeper is always looking over its shoulder.’ - Brian Clough
Again the genius of Brian Clough shines through - noticing a world class goalkeeper and positioning him in the team added a layer of stability to Nottingham Forest that guided them to glory. Shilton went on to break the record for England appearances with 125 caps
20. Tony Woodcock Nottingham Forest 1974 - 1979
Born in Nottinghamshire Woody established himself as a key striker for Forest and England during his career. Named the 1977 Nottingham Forest Player of the year and PFA Young Player of the year in 1978, Tony was a natural footballing talent destined for success. Winner of 5 trophies with Nottingham Forest including the 1979 European Cup - Woodcock signed for FC Koln and achieved 42 England Caps
Superstar Speakers are honored to be hosting this incredible event, reuniting the miracle men in the city of Nottingham this December - with a minimum 16 legends attending, this is a must for all Forest fans to celebrate the men that made Nottingham Forest famous.
*** For more Nottingham Forest News, Events and Memorabilia click the image***
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