John McGovern has become the latest #faceofforest, and he says Stuart Pearce’s players must “wallow in the atmosphere” at tomorrow’s opening-day match against Blackpool.
McGovern, who captained Forest to their European Cup successes in 1979 and 1980, previously worked as a host in Forest’s hospitality areas before being handed an ambassadorial role by chairman and owner Fawaz Al Hasawi last season.
A legendary figure among supporters, McGovern is one of the most recognisable and popular characters at the club and was more than happy to take his place in the #faceofforest hotseat earlier today ahead of this weekend’s curtain-raiser.
He told the Forest Player cameras: “It’ll be a full house tomorrow and the atmosphere will be absolutely fantastic. It might be a change for some of the players we’ve brought to the club because they may not have experienced such a vocal, vibrant crowd before.
“You’re just looking for them to wallow in that atmosphere because the bigger the crowd, the better it is for the players.
“It’s a home game on the opening day and there will be a few extra nerves because, despite having meticulously prepared, you’re never 100% sure how it’s going to go. You always need that rub of the green and let’s just hope we can get off to a winning start.
“We’re all professional people at Nottingham Forest and we are united as a group - and I mean everybody at the club. It’s wonderful to see that.”
The interview took place in the home dressing room at The City Ground, an area of the ground McGovern says has barely changed from his days as a player.
And the former midfielder recalled a number of happy memories from the time he spent in there, most notably when he was handed the armband for the very first time.
McGovern said: “It was in this room that I was made captain. Sammy Chapman was injured and, while getting ready for a match, we wondered who was going to replace him.
“Five minutes before kick-off, Brian Clough picked up the ball and threw it at me, very hard. I managed to catch it and he said ‘You might as well take them out.’
“That was it. I was captain for the rest of my time at the club. No real ceremony, no real discussion.
“Typical Brian Clough.”
#faceofforest will continue throughout the season in every edition of the club’s matchday programme.