I had to drop the family off at the in-laws. So I thought I'd add half an hour to my journey time as I'd have an extra thirty miles to drive. I left at 11:30 - two hours to do one hundred miles, a cup of tea at my brother's and then off to the ticket office, at two, to collect my brand-new season ticket. I had specifically asked for collection, rather than posting - firstly to ensure that the ticket arrived in time and secondly, I didn't fancy four hundred pounds worth of paper travelling uninsured through the Royal Mail.
Off the A1, onto the M1. A sign at Junction 37 warning of congestion ahead. Loads of time. Another sign warning of queues. I could turn off but I had time. No problems. And then I hit the queue. And stayed in the queue. What the sign should have said was "massive bastard long tailback caused by roadworks twenty-odd miles down the road at Junction 32. Turn off now or you'll be sorry. I mean it you sad twat". After sitting still for what felt like hours, I called my brother and told him to go straight to the ground. I sit in stationery traffic some more. I listen to Appetite for Destruction for the first time in years (OK, I skipped five tracks but still knew the words to a surprising number of songs). Eventually I clear Junction 32 and peg it down to Junction 26. I got confused driving through the city centre (bloody trams). Onto London Road. Bastard parking - the usual spot was out of bounds due to the Riverside Festival. I parked the car in Bridgford at 2:55. (Aside: what's the betting that the town planners were called George Dunster and Henry Manvers in that part of the world?)
Run to the ground, pick up my ticket, I should only miss the first ten minutes. Get to the ticket office (slightly out of breath). A surprising number of people in there. Wait for someone to serve me. Five past. I can hear the cheers from inside.
"I'm here to collect my season ticket".
"Mmm mm mmm mm m".
"Mmm mm got mmm ID?".
"Oh, I've got my driving licence".
I take my licence from my wallet. It's an old paper one and needs very delicate handling. He looks at it and walks off into the back-room. A massive cheer from inside. That's a goal then. A look at the watch. Ten past. Bennett is the scorer according to Sky Sports (helpfully on the TV in the ticket office). Rish texts me to say that Tyson was taken off injured. More shouting from inside the ground. No sign of the bloke with my season ticket. Quarter past. Someone walks by scratching his head, holding what looks like my driving licence. I angrily kick the apple core that has been left on the floor. The bloke at the next counter, after waving forty quid at the staff member, who has also since disappeared, says "fuck this, I'm off home - I'm not paying to get in now" and walks away. Twenty past. I'm still waiting. The ticket office person reappears. At last!
"Errm, you mmm paid mm it?"
"Yes I've paid for it" (somewhat annoyed)
He wanders off again. What's going on?!? Chants of "Same old Forest, always cheating" from inside the ground. Twenty-five past. Again he reappears and hands me a single, normal, ticket.
"It's mmmm the post"
"Mmm in mm post - mmm'll have to mmm this ticket mmm today"
"For fuck's ... oh fuck it"
I grab the ticket, thinking back to my words on the 'phone to the ticket office.
"I would like to collect the ticket please"
"That's no problem. It'll be waiting for you on Saturday"
"Excellent. Cheers matey. So I just turn up at the ticket office before the game"
"Yup - turn up, quote this reference number and bring some ID. Your ticket will be waiting. "
"Nice one. Goodbye"
Bloody muppets. I run around the ground. No gates open at the Trent End. Bastard. I run up and down looking like a twat. Eventually I find a gate where the door was ajar. Sure enough, someone is manning the turnstile. Run up the stairs. Rather than get half a row to stand up to allow me to my seat, I find an empty one. The clock says "15:29".
I can't remember much of the game itself. Rogers got a fair amount of abuse. You used to play for a big club. Have you ever seen your dick? That kind of thing. Beyond that ...
Grant Holt has lost a ton of weight. He used to fill his shirt. Now he looks quite lithe and mobile.
We passed the ball. That's not actually that big a deal. What's more important is that, when a player received the ball under pressure, instead of getting rid, he would take a touch, compose himself and either try to beat the man or pick out a red shirt.
Smith pulled off a couple of excellent reaction saves. The one in the second half was especially good and won us the three points.
Southall, one of the few consistent performers from last year, is a bit stuck when putting in low crosses. He's not bad at it, just not as good as his high crosses from last season.
Grant Holt still has trouble in front of goal. I like the look of him. I really want him to do well. Today he managed to break free of the defenders (movement in a way that was lacking last season) but hit his shot tamely wide. I fear he will leave after a poor season and then knock in thirty a year for whoever buys him.
We switched to a 4-4-2 at the end (when Curtis came on for Cullip). I don't know why. We didn't look any more solid, nor any better going forwards. I hope CC isn't prone to Platt-like formation switches for the hell of it.
CC was dressed in black trousers, white shirt and red tie. Nowhere near as vocal as Megson, he definitely showed a fair amount of passion from the touchline, but kept it in check when giving instructions to his players.
No word on Tyson - CC said it looked bad but the scan will have to wait till the swelling has gone down. Seasons can be broken on the loss of a star striker.
Still three defensive midfielders and a lack of creativity.
Still prone to embarrassing defensive lapses - the number of times that a cross bypassed our centre-halves and left Smith standing. If Bradford were any good we would have been done over.
Jack's still a liability. He was alright until about half way through the second half when he suddenly lost the plot and was warned by the referee three times in quick succession. CC took him off and replaced him with Harris.
Harris still can't score. It was an awful penalty, straight at the keeper.
The bloke in front of me (there's always one) moaning - we had just spent about five minutes in all-out attack, camped around Bradford's D. They broke and we pulled ten men back behind the ball. "Bloody hell, we can change the manager but the tactics never change do they? So bloody negative".
3 points is a good start. A clean sheet is a good start. No complaints there. Calderwood, on the radio, talked up Bradford. "They made a real game of it. They didn't come here to roll over". I thought Bradford were shit and if they had anything about them would have torn us apart. However, I was very pleased with the player's attitudes, if not the actual performance. They rarely stopped running for each other and they always tried to play to a red shirt (rather than last season's hopeful punts into the channels). As CC said, there's a hell of a lot of work to do, but if we can keep on grinding out the three points the champagne football can wait till the autumn (when we'll need it to boost the confidence going in to Christmas).
No man of the match today. As you can see from the report, there wasn't actually that much of note in the game. Maybe Smith for his second half wonder-save.
One final thought. The A1 is a far nicer drive than the M1.