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December 5th

It's the In The Top One advent calendar.

Sure, he blotted his copybook somewhat in the summer of 1998 by refusing to train with the club, thus tarnishing his reputation somewhat as Forest toiled against relegation. But my word, Pierre Van Hooijdonk could play and indeed, strike a ball deliciously well.

Since it's (almost) the season to be jolly, let's dwell upon his contribution in propelling the club back to the Premier League in forming a formidable partnership with Kevin Campbell and scoring 36 goals in only 71 appearances. The quality of most of those goals is quite jaw-dropping too. His aim was a true as an arrow, particularly deadly from anywhere outside of the penalty area, from open play or from set pieces. His gangly gait gave the impression of a rather graceless player but technically, he was a truly gifted individual.

Upon leaving the club for good, he traversed around Europe, lifting the UEFA Cup with Feyenoord in 2002, helping himself to two goals in the final and scoring 14 times for his country along the way. But this one remains special: