Although he denies being a ‘proper journalist’, Nick Miller is deputy editor of the comprehensive and irreverent website Football365, which actually makes him quite important. And he’s a Forest fan too…
What’s your earliest Forest memory?
I actually thought it was seeing Stuart Pearce charge down the left wing at the first game I went to, but I recently looked it up and it turns out Pearce didn’t play in that game. You remember what you want to remember in these things.
What was your first Forest game?
Home against Wimbledon, 1989. We lost 1-0. I was hooked.
Favourite Forest player — past or present?
Has to be Pearce. Predictable, but I was at an impressionable age when he was at his peak. Him or Des Walker, and I would’ve loved to have seen John Robertson in person.
A couple from 1997/98 in Division One spring to mind. Van Hoojidonk’s second away at Birmingham — we’d been 1-0 down and he scored twice late on; we got chased out of the ground later by angry Brummies with bricks. Or Chris Bart-Williams at home to Reading, a win that basically confirmed promotion. We’d been abysmal for that whole game and the release of tension was incredible. Or Collymore’s at Old Trafford in 1994/95. Or Nigel Clough’s backheel away at Man City in about 1990. Or Lars Bohinen’s outside of the foot chip in the 7-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday. There have been a few.
Beating Derby away the season before last was pretty special, as was being at Elland Road for the 7-3 last season. I didn’t celebrate the last couple of goals – I was in some form of shock. For the result, the 3-2 away to Peterborough in 1993/94 that sent us up was pretty grand, or the 1992 League Cup semi away at Spurs.
Without question, away at Coventry the season we dropped into League One. Dele Adebola danced around our defence like he was Garrincha, which was… a low moment.
Your favourite Cloughie anecdote?
I’m always suspicious of the Cloughie stories, because many of them turn out to be myths, but I do like the ones about him sending flowers to the wives of new signings, or paying people’s bills for no apparent reason. Oh, and the one about him not signing Gary McAlilster because he turned up for his medical wearing cowboy boots.
Your most prized Forest possession?
I don’t really go in for football memorabilia that much, but I’ve got a poster for the 1980 European Cup final which is pretty special.
Did you always want to be a football journalist?
More or less. I was put off for a while by a spell of work experience at the Grantham Journal (the tedium of local newspaper reporting was discouraging, to say the least), but it soon came back when I realised I couldn’t really do much else very well.
How has reporting the game changed since you started?
I haven’t been around for that long, but the single biggest thing in the past few years has been Twitter. It’s simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to journalism, because you can get stuff out there incredibly quickly, but you also have to wade through a great deal of bull to get to the truth. Oh, and people call you a prick occasionally.
What’s your relationship with the club been like since you became a journalist?
Because I’m not a reporter or really a ‘proper’ journalist, I don’t deal with them directly very often. But on the few occasions I’ve had to deal with them, the press office has been… a little chaotic.
Do they cater well for the press?
See above. I also hear the press food is rubbish.
Many fans are critical of the news (or lack of) that has come from the club in the past — do you think Forest are bad at releasing information or fairly typical of most clubs?
Fairly typical. We all know that the club haven’t always had the best PR skills, but I’m also not a fan who believes we should absolutely be kept informed all of the time. Of course it’s nice to know what’s going on, but we don’t have a right to know. Some things are better left unsaid. Take the takeover – nobody really knew what was going on, and that was because it was conducted in a proper, thorough and quiet manner. Although it probably helped that nobody actually at the club was really involved.
In the light of the recent takeover, how should the club progress?
Slow and steady. Just because the club is owned by someone with money doesn’t mean we’re going to rip through the division this season. The last guy had money, and look how that ended. We need to rebuild a squad, and you only need to look at Leicester to see that firing out cash like ticker tape doesn’t necessarily equal success.
Do you know much of the Al-Hasawis? Or their plans?
I know they make fridges, and for some reason I’m following Fawaz on Twitter despite everything he says being in Arabic, so I have no idea what he’s actually saying. So, basically, nothing, which allows me to be both hugely optimistic and spectacularly fearful.
What (realistic) hopes do you have for the future?
To become someone like Fulham. Solid Premier League club, everyone likes them, decent football – I’d be more than happy with that. Hell, I’d be bloody ecstatic with that.
Should Forest stay at the City Ground?
Absolutely. The idiosyncrasy of the place makes it feel special, with the odd uneven stand and it basically being in the Trent. Knock down the Main Stand, build something shinier over the car park, name it the Nigel Doughty Stand and stay where we are. If it’s the choice between that and some faceless, soulless, flat-pack affair that they have at Derby or Leicester; but in Beeston, then it’s no contest.
Dream scenario: where do you see the club in five years?
Champions League winners. You did say dream…