Saturday 26th November 2016 ko 11.30
U18 Professional Development League-North
NOTTINGHAM FOREST 3 (Gomis 26 28 McCormick 75)
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN 2 (Scott 44 Dyson 79)
If a former owner of a club wants to leave a legacy, then there aren’t many better places than the club’s academy. Nottingham Forest’s academy in Gresham Close is named after former owner Nigel Doughty who ploughed over £100million of his own funds into the club but died suddenly in 2012 aged just 54.
Whilst I doubt it was by design, there is an implicit suggestion to any young player who visits here. Just look up and up and you can see the floodlights of the City Ground, it’s almost telling the player, “Work hard, and just maybe you’ll get to play here.” That said though the floodlights of Trent Bridge Cricket Ground are a little more visible, so the player does have to have at least decide which sport he’s going be good at!
For the casual visitor this is a simple enough place to visit, the only rule to consider is that photographing the actual game is forbidden, understandable, and especially as the two club’s U16 sides were playing on another pitch. Other than that, it does pay to arrive early as parking within the complex is rather limited. But don’t assume that all academy games are this easy, West Ham United and Fulham were, but clubs like Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion seldom admit spectators.
But once in, teamsheets are readily available, and I do recommend the coffee! There seemed to be an interesting mix of parents, hoppers and scouts watching what was a fixture in the fourth tier of youth football in England. Now I wouldn’t pretend to be a an expert on youth football in the East Midlands, but one surname with a Forest background did leap out. Nigel Jemson played for Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and Oxford United so seeing his son Charlie appear as a second-half substitute so there was a sense of history potentially repeating itself.
Jemson though made little impact, playing just the last 30 minutes, the star of the show was Virgil Gomis who scored two, and if he had kept going would have collected a hat trick, and surely made Forest’s victory a lot more straightforward. Sadly he lost his way after half time and by the final whistle he seemed to be more interested in winding up his opponents rather than beating them.
It was both an interesting game and venue, and the beauty of it all was there was enough time to find another game afterwards…..