Tuesday, March 20, 2012

English Leagues the 70s: Arsenal Nottingham Forest Division One 1978 1979

13 January 1979
Highbury Stadium,

  The forceful header, from the edge of the six yard area at Nottingham Forest, was goal bound before Peter Shilton intuitively launched himself across his line and somehow managed to twist his body, reach up and flick the ball over the bar. This was the save of the season that finally handed the Championship to Nottingham Forest. The stage was Coventry, where Forest won a point and certainly proved one. All season, the question had been whether Forest could pull off a feat that had only been done once before: win the title a season after gaining promotion. When Shilton clawed out the close range effort from Mick Ferguson the answer duly arrived. The Championship belonged to Messrs Clough and Taylor again, with four matches to spare. Such was the strain and effort Forest put into possessing the title, that by the time it was won, most of the players barely had the strength to lift a glass of champagne, let alone celebrate, with the amount of gusto that was going on across the Highfield Road terraces and on the pitch. 

 In the dressing room. Forest sat quietly, congratulating one another on a job well done. A subdued Clough emerged to confess: "Mentally and physically, I'm drained." Asked how he would toast entering the history books as only the second manager to win the Championship with two different clubs (Herbert Chapman achieved it with Huddersfield and Arsenal), he replied "I'll remove my car from the drive at home and sit there with my wife and three children. They were there when I was on the floor and they shared my misery with me. The same people will share my success. I want to sit in an armchair and enjoy the feeling of winning the Championship with my family. I don't want to share it with anyone until I've shared it with them." Later, Clough elaborated: "We were all on our knees. After Coventry, all we wanted to do was get on the coach, go home and fall asleep." Nor was Clough exaggerating when he added: "I didn't believe we'd win the title until we won it."

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