When Nottingham Forest fans head to The City Ground at 3pm on the first day of the season, one supporter on the other side of the world will be getting up in the middle of the night to watch The Reds.Heath Moore, the latest #faceofforest, will set his alarm for 3am, put the kettle on, and settle down to watch his beloved Reds – in New Zealand.
"I love doing it, I wouldn’t have it any other way,” explains Heath, on the phone from his home city of Auckland. “It’s a little bit strange, but I’ve become accustomed to it.”
23-year-old Heath was introduced to Forest by his uncle, who fell in love with Brian Clough in the '70s and became a huge fan of The Reds.
“He had the tattoo, the scarf, the shirt and he preached Forest to me,” says Heath. “As I grew older I started to learn and respect the history and began to understand what it meant to him – and what it would later mean to me.
“We don’t have Nottingham ties, but he just loved Brian Clough and used to get football magazines sent over in the '70s and '80s and read all about Nottingham Forest.”
Growing up during the '90s though, it was tough for Heath to keep up to date with all that was going on at The City Ground, and the lure of the Premier League was strong.
“A lot of my classmates supported Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, because the main footage was of the Premier League so I kind of followed the big clubs, not religiously, but because clips and news of Forest was tough to come by.
"It was difficult, but at high school we’d have some banter and I’d always bring up ‘has your club won back-to-back European Cups?’ and that would silence my friends,” laughs Heath. “I taught them a little bit about the Brian Clough years and used to hold my own in the school yard.”
A big rugby league fan, Heath supports New Zealand Warriors, but admits The Reds are his number one club.
He listens to all the games on Forest Player when they’re not shown on New Zealand television, and vividly remembers watching our play-off semi-final defeat against Swansea in 2011.
“I got up with my friend Adam who I lived with at university. I overheard him discussing Forest one day, turned around and said, ‘Ah mate, are you a Forest fan?’ and we started chatting.
“We became friends and still watch games together now. It’s awesome to have that close feeling to the club with someone local.”
But last year’s FA Cup win over West Ham stands out as a highlight. “I watched the drubbing of West Ham live on TV and to put a Premier League side to the sword was fantastic, one of my great memories,” he enthuses.
Heath has never left New Zealand before, but is hoping that his first trip out of the country will be to Nottingham.
“It’s my dream to come on over to Nottingham, walk down the streets, go over the Trent with my flag, singing the Forest chants.
“I love New Zealand, and I love the people. But one day I'll be home with my family of Red, my family at The City Ground, my family called Nottingham Forest.”