It about time Nottingham Forest were back where they belong

On the banks of the River Trent lie the memories of magical European nights and the glory days of the Brian Clough era. Nottingham Forest were the only team capable of keeping tabs on the all-conquering Liverpool and their back to back European Cup triumphs showed that they were a team to be feared by anyone.

With a squad littered with international stars like Viv Anderson, Peter Shilton and Archie Gemmill, scorer of one of the best goals in World Cup history, the Reds put the city on the footballing map with their swashbuckling style of play.

Winning trophies was an expectation rather than a revelation and the club will forever be in footballing history for buying the first million pound player, Trevor Francis, in 1979.

Even in the Premiership years the club has reached astronomical heights, finishing third in the 1994/95 season and earning themselves a place in the UEFA Cup where they played Bayern Munich, who have since tasted multiple successes in continental competitions.

But 30 years on and fans in the Trent End are now having to satisfy themselves with seeing their team leap out of the Championship relegation zone after winning at home for the first time this season against a lacklustre Middlesbrough.

The matter is made worse by the fact that it is now 12 years and counting since the Reds last graced the country’s top flight and in that time they entered the doldrums of League One, the first European Cup winners to sink so low.

A club that once graced the pitches at the Olympiastadion and the Bernabeu are now spending snowy Tuesday nights at London Road and Ashton Gate and it must come to an end.

It is a sorry state for Forest to be in and it is time for them to return to the top flight. The passion and atmosphere at the City Ground is needed to reinvigorate a league lacking in personality, where Ewood Park and the DW Stadium resemble half full libraries than the home of teams in the most watched league in the world.

Nottingham Forest are one of the few clubs that can genuinely be called a sleeping giant. The phrase is banded around far too much and any club that ever spent more than one season in the top flight are now seen in that way. But the Reds epitomise its meaning, a club with a trophy cabinet brimming from previous success and a history that new kids on the block like Manchester City can only dream of.

While teams like Sheffield Wednesday have tasted the Premier League in the past, their history does not even come close to that of Forest. The success of English clubs on the continent is paramount to all Englishmen and after the immense success of the Reds they will forever have a place in the hearts of football fans.

The fans are in place, the facilities are there and so is the pedigree of the club. In recent years the team has produced talents like Michael Dawson and Jermaine Jenas, as well as launching the career on John Terry during his loan spell in the East Midlands.

All the club needs now is that slice of luck that can take them over the finishing line.

After a shocking start to the season, new boss Steve Cotterill has a lot to do to salvage the campaign in such a competitive Championship, but history shows that it is possible to turn an awful start into a promotion push with some good results.

If Cotterill can get the confidence flowing through the Reds then there is no doubting that the talent in the team can take the team to the top. And if he achieves the unthinkable and guides Forest back to the Promised Land, the Premier League will be more than happy to welcome back one of its most well-known former members.