Iwan Roberts: City’s tough trip to Forest reminds me of Psycho, Greeno’s howler and my false teeth
After a week when England looked like world beaters with that magnificent win in Seville, inflicting only Spain’s second defeat in their last 27 games, it’s back to the bread and butter of league football this weekend – much to many supporters’ delight.
Canaries boss Daniel Farke and his players will be looking to bounce back at the City Ground after their unbeaten run came to an unlucky end against Stoke two weeks ago.
Having only lost once to Forest in their last five meetings and having just conceded the one goal in their last three games against them they should be going into this game full of confidence. However, a word of warning, Aitor Karanka’s men are in fine form and this is going to be as tough a test for Norwich as they’ve had against Forest in the last few seasons.
Forest have lost once in the league this season and have won 15 of their 19 points at home and only failed to score in just one of their 12 league games. So it looks like Karanka with the help of the club’s wealthy backers are a real contender for promotion after spending a good few years out of the Premier League – with this campaign their 20th outside the top flight.
I don’t think I ever won at the City Ground looking back at the times I played there, a couple of draws is the best I’ve done there and it’s a ground that I never scored at. In fact I don’t think I came close to hitting the back of the net there, so I guess it’s fair to say it wasn’t the luckiest of grounds for me.
I have got some memories of playing there, but as you can imagine they aren’t fond ones. A lot of you will remember August 2003 when Rob Green gifted David Johnson Forest’s first goal of the afternoon. It was a bizarre incident as everyone in the ground could see what was going to happen apart from Rob.
Everyone could see David Johnson hiding behind him hoping that Greeno would roll the ball out of his hands and smash a ball up towards myself but as soon as the ball had left his hands out popped Johnson to simply steal the ball and roll it into and empty goal to Rob’s embarrassment.
The second one is when Stuart Pearce and I caused a mass brawl when I played there for Leicester. He thought I’d caught their centre-half Steve Chettle with a flying elbow which of course I didn’t, Steve simply had a blade of grass in his eye, however he did go down as if I’d poleaxed him. I was completely innocent and once ‘Psycho’ Pearce knew the truth he did write me a letter of apology of some sorts.
The third was also in the yellow shirt of Norwich and this time it was me who was left with egg on my face and embarrassed and not Greeno. In over 750 career games this only ever happened to me once, I just simply forgot to take my false teeth out before I went out to play the game, it was always the last thing I did in the changing room before we went out but on this one occasion I left them in.
To make matters worse the game was live on TV and they caught the exact moment I walked over towards our bench, called our coach Steve Foley towards me, took my teeth out of my mouth and handed them over to him.
The funny thing is I’d played the first 15 minutes with them in without realising, but then when I clashed heads with Norwegian defender Jon-Olav Hjelde and felt them rattle in my mouth. I thought, I need to get these out ASAP before I break them or even worse swallow them!