Former Nottingham Forest midfielder Andy Johnson has exclusively told Seat Pitch that the Division One winning team of 97/98 was comfortably one of the best he played in.

Johnson checked-in at the City Ground from Norwich City where he had netted nine goals the season previous.

The central midfielder signed for Forest for £2.2 million, according to The Independent, turning down Premier League football in the process.

Mandatory Credit: Ian Walton/ALLSPORT

He told Seat Pitch: “Crystal Palace rung me and they were in the Premier League at the time. They said whatever you’re being paid, we’ll give you a blank cheque and you can have what you want!

“I turned it down as my heart was set on Forest. I made a footballing decision rather than a financial decision.”

The class of 97/98 was an irresistible force racking up 94 points and winning the First Division title.

 

Forest returned to the Premier League at the first time of asking and Johnson never doubted that would be the case.

He continued: “The decisive factor in rejecting Palace was to go and play with that squad. I don’t really know how it was ever relegated in the first place.

“We played my former club Norwich on Sky in the first home game and they were considered a good side at the time. I was on the bench but came on early doors and we thrashed them 4-1. To be honest, we never really looked back.”

Mandatory Credit: Laurence Griffiths/ALLSPORT

Despite a star-studded squad, Johnson says it was more the team ethic and character that made Forest so formidable during the famous campaign.

He said: “Colin Cooper and Steve Chettle were the older heads at the back, we had Steve Stone and Ian Woan on the wings, Kevin Campbell up front.

“The dressing room was full of characters and we all just pulled each other along. There wasn’t one particular person who really dragged us along, we helped each other out.”