The Cutter asked Daniel Widdowson to assess Forest’s strike-force but last Tuesday all such considerations took a back seat.

As I arrived at the Forest – Leeds game Tuesday night I had every intention of making this article a review of the squad, and a focus upon the Forest striking prospects and players, namely Robbie Findley. However, what ensued resulted in an article that would suggest the entire Forest squad are actually an under 9’s team, have no defensive qualities and forgot to field any strikers.

The performance was, in actual fact, dismal. Listening to the radio home the commentators summed it up best with his comments, followed by “I feel like I’m giving a team talk to an under 9’s team”. Phrases such as “pressure for the ball”, “keep the ball and then pass the ball to another person in the same shirt as you” and “pass the ball forward to put it in the oppositions net” are all phrases that could have been used in advice for the Forest team. They lacked effort, commitment and any kind of potential talent. In fact they potentially made Leeds look bad by the fact they only scored four past us.

However, due to this pathetic performance, it gives me great opportunity to reflect on what was a night tinged with remembrance and tribute. A minute’s applause was proudly observed by all areas of the ground followed by the chanting of “there’s only one Gary Speed” from both home and away supporters. In a weekend that showed there are far more important things in life than football the tributes from both sets of fans, in a game that’s always full of tension and rivalry, were examples of how football, and its supporters, still make this sport ‘the beautiful game’.

Naturally once the tributes were over the normal banter and rivalry kicked in full scale

Eleven minutes into the game Leeds took the tributes to another level. For 11 minutes they chanted for Gary Speed and it was, in all respects, truly impressive. Whilst Forest fans didn’t join in with this tribute, (the game was underway of course), there were areas of the ground that would occasionally applaud the Leeds tribute. Some mindless idiots did attempt to disrupt the tribute with chants against Speed, and attempts to entice the Leeds fans with chants about their tribute. However, those around me who tried it were met with glares of disgust from the rest of the Forest fans, and a torrent of abuse from some supporters. Needless to say those wanting to disrupt it were in a minority. The level of respect, from both sets of fans, shown before and during the tributes made me proud to be a supporter. Naturally once the tributes were over the normal banter and rivalry kicked in full scale, however this was to be expected and essentially it wouldn’t have been the same game without it.

Out of a game that had little positives on the pitch came a key example of how football fans are still united by tragedy. Football has lost one of the true ‘nice guys’ and a legend that will always be remembered in the eyes of many football fans of multiple clubs.

R.I.P Gary Speed, your memory lives on.