In the latest edition of Forest All Over the World we meet Oliver Hague, originally from Nottingham and now living in Guangzhou, China, and Jin Shijie from Shanghai, China, who are helping to transform a country of 1.4 billion people into Tricky Trees.
Here is Oliver’s story:
How long have you been supporting Forest?
All of my life. Simple.
What is your favourite Forest memory?
When thinking about this I tried so hard to be alternative. So... very... hard. But it very quickly dawned on me that in my short time following the Reds I’ve not had many good days to shout about.
I thought about the time my friend’s dad fell over in the urinals at Rochdale away in the Cup (we lost that game 1-0), and I thought about the time we lost 5-0 away at Oldham. Both great days, for reasons involving Forest - but reasons far away from the football we had to suffer. So, when contemplating such a question I realised my generation had been somewhat deprived of memorable days - for the right reasons anyway. One day in particular however, did spring to mind. So, try as I may to give a somewhat alternate/interesting answer. I eventually had to succumb to the fact, that when Ben Osborn’s injury time strike crashed into the onion bag away at Derby, my heart exploded.
How have you found supporting Forest now you live abroad?
It’s been different, that’s for sure. For me, and I’m sure most will agree when I say this, supporting a football club is deemed special because of the community surrounding it. It’s the highs and the lows you ride with other people that makes everything so very great. So, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss that same feeling back home.
However, I’ve managed to carve a small community of football loving fans out here in Guangzhou. And I’m not one to wish away the experience I’m having here and now. So, I get by.
Have you found any other Forest fans in Guangzhou or China?
Yes, to answer shortly. Recently we managed to organise a China-Forest supporters’ group on Chinese social media - and that’s growing all the time. So, through that I’ve managed to meet a few local and not so local Reds fans. It’s been a lot of fun and through it, it’s also helped me to experience and explore new parts of the country I currently live in. So, it’s ticked many boxes.
Have you managed to convince any of the locals to support Forest?
Not as many locals as I have westerners. I’ve managed to push my agenda harshly onto a few of my fellow expatriate friends over here and the interest has extended the reach of the football club. We now have a few eager North American and South African friends with a desire to walk the red streets of Nottingham, to drink in the ye old trip to Jerusalem and to watch the outlaws play. All in all, the message has been very loudly received.
How often to you get to watch The Reds?
Most weeks I manage to catch them on Forest player. With a 7/8 hour time difference I somehow manage to find myself sat, warm, relaxed and comfortably in a bar nursing a beer around 10pm for kick off. I don’t know how I keep ending up there.