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#faceofforest: Matt Forde

25 July 2014

Comedian and Nottingham Forest supporter Matt Forde has become the latest #faceofforest.

The rain was teeming down when Matt arrived at The City Ground to tell his story, but even the depressing grey skies couldn't diminish his excitement at being back at the scene of the "most vivid, happy moments" of his life.

Since moving to London comedian Matt has had to give up his season ticket and he doesn't get back to Nottingham as much as he would like. But when he does, he always tries to get to the ground.

"I really miss it, it feels like home for me, it really does," says Matt, sitting in his first ever season ticket seat in A-block of the Main Stand. "Every fan loves their ground but, as far as football stadiums go, this is marvellous."

Matt, who has appeared on Have I Got News for You and has his own show on talkSPORT, has been a devoted fan of The Reds his whole life. His first campaign as a season ticket holder coincided with Brian Clough's last at the club.

"It was the start of the Premier League and it felt like a brave new era," says Matt. "People were tipping us to win the league. We beat Liverpool on the opening day of the season but it all went badly, badly wrong. I still remember the view of the pitch from that last day when everyone was on the pitch against Sheffield United. It was tragic."

Matt moved to the Trent End the following year and watched as Stan Collymore powered The Reds straight back to the Premier League.

"We had a run then. We got promoted in 1993-94, finished third in 1994-95, then in 1995-96 we got to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup and we had pitch invasions at the end of every season," laughs Matt. "I used to love getting on the pitch."

The 31-year-old says he spent as much time as he could at the club in his early years, and recounted one story of how he stumbled upon a training session inside The City Ground.

"I used to just come and sit in here in school holidays, it was mad," he chuckles. "I remember walking past in about 1997-98 and they were training on the pitch. Pierre Van Hooijdonk, Dean Saunders, Kevin Campbell all knocking around on here and me and my mate just eating a packed lunch in the Main Stand!

"Then Liam O'Kane asked if we would mind going round and collecting some of the balls that were in the stands. It was amazing!"

Once Matt began reminiscing about the club it was hard to stop him.

"Forest was my entire life as I kid," he continues. "I used to make my mum take her camera if we were ever walking near here because we might meet a Forest player. This place is so magic."

But there was one player Matt always wanted to meet more than the others. Stuart Pearce.

"Pearce is the most inspirational player I've ever seen," says Matt. "He didn't warm up on the pitch, you'd only see him before kick-off, and he'd burst out, belt the ball towards the Trent End and run arms aloft. People would go berserk.

"The atmosphere has never been the same since he left. The ground was so much louder in those days but the noise that's going to be created when he walks out against Blackpool ... my word. That's going to be special."

Matt's planning on being at The City Ground for the first game of the season, and hopes the day will give him another special memory.

"There are very few moments in life when you get particularly intense joy, where you don't care what happens next, and Forest has given me so many of those.

"I hope, now Pearce is back, we'll have a few more."

Matt will be writing a column in every matchday programme this season looking at all things Forest. Supporters can buy the programme, priced £3, from the usual outlets, while it will also be available to download on smart phones, tablets or PC.

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