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Fond Forest memories

Posted on 18 February 2005  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Hans Segers has nothing but fond memories of his four-year stint at Sunday's FA Cup opponents Nottingham Forest - a spell that launched his career in English football.


Back in 1984, Brian Clough was seeking a replacement for Dutch international keeper Hans Van Breukelen and took a punt on a relatively untried Segers who, at the time, was seeking to make the breakthrough at PSV Eindhoven.


"Cloughie got me over for a week, I played in one practice match and he said he'd like to have me over to play for Forest," recalled Hans. "I was supposed to be over for a week but, after two days, he asked me to stay.


"In my first year at Forest I was on loan from PSV Eindhoven, only after I got into the first team he signed me on a permanent basis."


Hans' task was matching up to Forest's fine pedigree in goalkeepers of that era - like Peter Shilton and Van Breukelen.


"They had a good line of goalkeepers - people forget that Chris Woods was there as well - and I had some good years there and it was a dream for me to come to England and play for a club like Nottingham Forest because Clough was there.


"If I look back it is the best thing I've ever done. I said goodbye to one of the biggest clubs in Holland because I wanted to play and to play for one of the top clubs in the first division at that time was something I dreamt of. Every week at home we saw Match of the Day and saw the crowds behind the goals and the passion. I got the opportunity and took it with both hands."


Of course, the Dutch culture of football would not have been too dissimilar to that preached by the great Clough - play the ball on the grass and keep it simple.


"Cloughie was like that, when I got the ball the first option was to throw it and the very last to kick it. We had a decent team, I wouldn't say the best, but it was quite an experienced side."


Our goalkeeping coach has tracked the fortunes of Forest since his days at the City Ground and expects a tricky encounter on Sunday.


"They are struggling and have had to let some of their best players go. It is a shame for them, I still have good friends in Nottingham and occasionally go back. It is a nice city and stadium and it is just a shame they are not in the Premiership.


"Everybody will be expecting us to win with us being at home. Anything can happen though and we have to be mentally prepared for a tough game and take nothing for granted.


"I have been in games you think will be easier and it never is. You have to be well prepared, be strong mentally, then quality will come through."