First up - what's the big idea behind this 150th anniversary fan event?
We are trying to organise a meet up of fans on 2nd April 2016 before our home game against Brentford. This will be at The Orange Tree on Shakespeare Street in the city centre. As many will no doubt be aware this was formerly The Clinton Arms where NFFC were formed following a meeting of fifteen men who had previously been playing a form of hockey called 'shinny'. The reason behind this particular fixture being chosen was its proximity to our first recognised fixture against Notts County on 22nd March 1866.
We have been really pleased at how The Orange Tree have welcomed the idea and will be doing their best to accommodate us on the day. Flags will be on display and hopefully one or two other nice little ideas that we have will come to fruition.
The intention is then to form a march to The City Ground en masse taking in the odd sight and maybe another beer or two on the way. This second part the day may be quite challenging logistically but we are hoping to provide some further clarification on this very soon.
The 2015/16 season marked a significant milestone for the club. Many of us weren't around for the 100 years and just consider the things this club has seen since then. This is a celebration of a marvellous football club and every aspect of our 150 years whether it be the wonderful highs or the excruciating lows.
We would ask that people take a look at our Twitter page (@NFFC_150) for a more detailed mission statement and to see the latest updates.
What gave you this idea in the first place and isn't it really just an excuse for one big pre-game piss up? Is there an aim or objective that you have in mind?
We have no issues whatsoever with it being described as a piss up! In many ways that is exactly what we want it to be, a good natured meet up of like-minded supporters having a few beers. We have never really pictured this as being anything other than our own little tribute.
Ultimately, the intention is to mark the anniversary but, in particular, we are keen to focus on those early days and pay homage to those fifteen men - 'The Original Reds'. Quite rightly, those years through the late seventies and eighties often get the attention and the plaudits but we want to try and give these fifteen at least a nod of acknowledgement and express our gratitude.
Finally, it is not lost on us that the mood around the club is arguably as bad as it has been for a long time. This is perhaps where the original idea came from to try and give us something to look forward to. The atmosphere has understandably been flat for several weeks and us Forest fans are in desperate need of a bit of cheering up! We are hardly going to put everything right on 2nd April but we are going to have a damn good go at at least giving us a little something to celebrate. We really hope that people will buy into it and perhaps fancy something a bit different for their pre match routine.
What do you make of the manner in which the club is marking this anniversary? I'm referring here to the kit and the brick enterprise. Is it the idea that your event compliments the club's anniversary celebrations?
There has been some nice touches with the programme covers as well as the gold trim on the kit and the bricks but we have lacked any major event to mark such a significant milestone.
We, as a club, have been most fortunate that Jonny Owen decided to go and make the superb film about the Miracle Men because it has at least given us that showpiece night for the premiere and a bit of a buzz about our history. The Nottingham Post have been running their 150th year articles and the official book 'Forever Forest' written by the club historian, Don Wright, is a tremendous read. However, the club's own role in all of this is minimal at most.
Frustratingly, it was a major commercial opportunity that could have been seized upon. In a season when attendances have started to slide the 150th anniversary could have been used to galvanise and reinvigorate the support.
While we are more than happy for our plans for 2nd April to sit alongside anything the club has done we feel it is important that this is a 100% fan organised event. That is not a criticism of the NFFC hierarchy but we are passionate about ensuring that the supporters can get involved fully involved in every aspect of this if they so wish. We continue to encourage any Forest fan to get in touch with ideas and thoughts.
Do you see the event as simply a celebration to mark the 150th anniversary or is there a hint of dissatisfaction regarding the way the club is currently run?
This is entirely a celebration of 150 years. We would really like anyone attending to leave their concerns about the current regime, the manager or the players at the door. We have been a divided fanbase for many years on various matters and we do not intend for this to a representation of any camp. As suggested above, this is not really much more than a gathering of Forest fans to drink beer together and (hopefully) have a good time.
Getting back to the event at hand - what can we do to get involved? Do we have to be there at the start of the march at The Orange Tree? Are you planning to produce a route map, as it were, so we can join in somewhere along the way? Can we dress up? Will those excellent banners from the Lower Bradford be there at the front? Can we make placards or daub a message on a big white bedsheet? (Always wanted to to that)
We really, really want fans to get involved as much as they want. We have had various fans get in touch with us and offer up ideas and help and we are grateful for that. In the coming days we will be looking to engage with people directly and try and bring them on board.
The Orange Tree have kindly agreed to open up an hour earlier than usual so the doors will currently be opening at 11am. To incorporate everything we want to do and also make it worthwhile for those travelling into town we are looking at spending a good couple of hours there and then make our way to the ground. We would ask that that people arrive as early as they can but obviously we all know what happens when a load of people walk into a pub together and descend upon the bar...
Regarding the journey to The City Ground we will indeed produce a map and publicise it a little nearer to the time. One of the ideas behind taking in certain 'key points' along the way is that is will provide a good opportunity for others to join us at planned destinations.
Dressing up is optional but don't expect any of us to be in anything other than normal attire!
We have been in touch with those responsible for the displays in the Lower Bridgford and they will be supplying certain banners in keeping with the theme. Bedsheets are welcome as long as they are a little bit better produced than the one that was unfurled at Notts County last week!!
As mentioned, The Orange Tree will be decorated and then these will be transported into the ground where they will hopefully be on show again. If fans want to bring their own flags, scarves and placards then that would be fantastic. We are also currently looking at producing a new banner or two which will be tailored to the 150th year anniversary and then hopefully become part of the Lower Bridgford's fleet.
As a final point - we are now looking for some idea of numbers that will attend on 2nd April. We have had a huge amount of positive feedback about what we are planning but we really do need to start turning this into some firm commitments soon. Clearly The Orange Tree are keen to understand how many to expect soF they can plan accordingly. They have requested an update on 16th March with some guidance of the people planning to come along so it is vital that we start to understand the numbers expected. We also have a number of ideas that we will put into action should it be clear that there is sufficient interest. Please give us a follow at @NFFC_150 and let us know and hopefully we will see you all on 2nd April at The Orange Tree.
Needless to say, this is a splendid idea for which all Forest fans can put aside their feelings on the current state of the club and celebrate the fact that 150 years since 15 men met up in The Clinton Arms and formed a football club, we still have one that love or loathe, is a huge part of our lives.
See you there.
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