The first game of the New Year. The previous one had been more rotten than the state of Denmark; a riotously painful one that stank the place out and merrily blew a raspberry as it did so. Frankly, Nottingham Forest were glad to see it amble nonchalantly off into the distance, with not even a glance back to check that we were ok, that we were still standing, that we would survive and make it through another one.
Back in those halcyon days of League 1, there was no disgrace in losing to an achingly cool, up and coming Colchester United side boasting Neil Danns, Kem Izzet, Richard Garcia and, erm, Chris Iwelumo, which would go on to gain promotion to the Championship that season.
But what made the experience particularly excruciating was that I stood and watched events from the vantage point of the home terrace in and amongst the faithful United fans, shoulder to shoulder with a Colchester supporting friend. I listened to their grumbles about our negative tactics, I rolled my eyes whenever we gave the ball away (a frequent occurrence) and I stood quietly sipping my drink nicely without fuss or drama. In such situations, it is the wise and sensible thing to do.
As Nathan Tyson raced through and equalized in the 89th minute to cancel out a Neil Danns effort, I smiled inwardly as those around me claimed offside (he wasn’t). He belted the ball into the air in celebration; a point was secured at a tricky little ground. 2006 was going to be better; everything was going to be alright.
But within a minute Mark Yeates and Richard Garcia secured the victory. I politely applauded. I smiled inwardly no more.
The fact of the matter was that Forest were not getting out of this League 1 pickle in a hurry.