As most of the footballing world knows, Leicester printed the unthinkable headlines Monday night. With Chelsea’s tough fight (a bit late now) to preserve Spurs’ 26-year winless streak at Stamford Bridge, The Foxes were crowned 2015-2016 Barclay’s Premier League Champions and the 24th club to win the top-flight title (since 1889). Okay, okay, it’s history. But has something like this ever happened in England before? Enter The First Eleven’s Throwback Thursday and 1970s Nottingham Forest.
Brian Clough, ex-Middlesbrough goal scoring legend, joined Nottingham Forest in 1975 as manager after just a 44-day stint at Leeds United. He proceeded to then become the most successful manager to ever touch the club over the span of 18 years. How?
Clough joined in 1975 when Forest played in the Football League Second Division (RIP) and helped them earn promotion in the 1976-1977 season. Great news, but not a huge deal, right? They ended up winning the English First Division Championship (77-78) following their promotion. They remain the only club to achieve this feat having not been champions the year before (the other clubs that did it after being champions are 1906 Liverpool, 1932 Everton, 1951 Tottenham, and 1962 Ipswich Town).
The following season (78-79), Forest competed in the European Cup. They knocked out 1978 European Cup Champs Liverpool in the opening round and lead a campaign to the final to knock out Sweden’s Malmo FF at Munich’s Olympiastadion. In just two seasons they went from second division soccer to winning the European Cup Final and being associated with elite such as Liverpool and Bayern Munich.
The following season, they won it again. This time against Hamburg, in the Santiago Bernabeu. Nottingham Forest became the first team in history (and still are), to win the European Cup more than their own domestic league. Their success dwindled in the next years, only reaching the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1983-84, getting knocked out by Anderlecht (in some…suspicious circumstances).
The club saw their next major trophy come via the Football League Cup of 1989 and fought for the domestic treble but saw their FA hopes come to an end at the horrific and controversial match against Liverpool held at Hillsborough.
So, with all of the hype surrounding Leicester and their Champions League spot next season, we shouldn’t expect anything less than two back to back cup wins. Surely, Claudio.