As our Dream Big tour continues across Nottinghamshire, we are meeting thousands of new pupils every week. One of the pupils we were lucky enough to stumble across recently, was Thomas from Middleton Primary in Wollaton. A massive Forest fan who had an extra reason to be excited by our visit, as he is the legendary Jimmy Gordon’s great grandson.
Jimmy, amongst other roles worked as a coach under Brian Clough and Peter Taylor at both Derby County and Nottingham Forest. He was also Assistant Manager to Clough during his 44-day reign at Leeds United. In honour of his contribution, Jimmy led out the Forest players at Wembley during the 1980 Football League Cup Final.
We spoke with Gary – Thomas’ dad, who is Jimmy Gordon’s grandson, about the European Cup adventure and what it was like to be so close to the first team during this era. “We were very privileged to be so close to the team for so many years. I recall that Jimmy would take me and my brother Craig training with the team in school holidays – going back to school and telling my schoolmates that during the holiday I scored a penalty against Peter Shilton was hard for them to believe. Even after Jimmy retired we went to all Forest home games for many years and before kick off we’d head straight to see “the boss” (Brian Clough), there’d always be something interesting happening and he was always very kind; often we’d then go into the changing room to see the team, which when I think back was unbelievable although it felt normal at the time. I was only 6 or 7 years old myself then, but I do recall coming into The Market Square in Nottingham when the team had paraded the cup on the open top bus and then on the balcony of the Council House and do remember that there was a very positive feeling coming from the huge crowd and a sea of happy smiling faces.
I think one of my fondest memories is knowing how honoured Jimmy was to lead out the team at Wembley before the League Cup Final – we’d been to Wembley a couple of times before, but to see your grandad leading out the team was very special (even though the result wasn’t great).
Outside of football Jimmy was an amazing grandad and role model who loved his family very much and I remember some amazing holidays together (these were sometimes in Jimmy’s favourite destination which was Cala Millor, Mallorca – this is also where the Forest team would go to relax and train before the European games). I love the story of Jimmy and Peter Shilton training on a traffic island in Cala Millor (before the 1980 final) as it was the only grass they could find – can you imagine seeing that happening these days before the Champions League Final?
Seeing the European Cup at school made Thomas feel very proud, especially as he knew that his great-grandad had coached the Forest team that won the competition twice! He said “it’s amazing that my great-grandad, my Dad and now me, have all held such a famous trophy”. Thomas and his school friends found the Dream Big assembly really interesting; they felt lucky that the Dream Big Team and the European Cup visited their school. Thomas also said “it made me imagine what it would be like to play for Forest” and he now believes that dreams can come true. He came home from school that day full of excitement and talked about it non-stop, before going to bed and dreaming about being the captain of Forest.
Dream Big continues its tour across Nottinghamshire, if this is something your school would be interested in please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org