Daws on Forest
Fri 26 August 2022, 12:30|Tottenham Hotspur
It’s been quite a journey back to the Premier League for Forest - a journey that book ends the career of one of our modern-day greats and now Club Ambassador, Michael Dawson, a player who began and ended his playing days at The City Ground.
Born in Northallerton, ‘Daws’ joined Forest’s youth set-up in July, 2000. To put into context how long Forest have waited to get back into English football’s top flight, that’s over a year after our last visit to The City Ground in the Premier League, a 1-0 win in April, 1999.
Michael, then 22, joined us alongside Forest team-mate Andy Reid in January, 2005. After recovering from injury, he finally made his debut at Anfield in April, 2005, and didn’t look back. In nine years, he played 324 times for us in all competitions, often captained the team in Ledley King’s absence before taking the armband himself in 2012/13. He helped lead us back into the Champions League in 2010, and led us out for our last 16 first leg against AC Milan at the San Siro.
Michael left us in the summer of 2014 and had four years at Hull City before returning to Forest in 2018, ending his career with 19 appearances in the Championship in 2019/20, taking his career total to 579. It took Forest two more seasons to make it back, the twice European Cup winners promoted via the Championship’s play-off final in May.
Daws was at The City Ground as a pundit for Sky Sports for Forest’s first home match back in the Premier League a fortnight ago - a 1-0 win against West Ham - and few can be looking forward as much to our first match back at this famous old stadium since an FA Cup fifth round replay win in March, 2005, a match he missed through injury.
Speaking to us this week, Michael said: “It’s an incredible achievement for Forest and these are the games they’ll be looking forward to. The atmosphere will be electric... Tottenham are coming to town! I’m sure Spurs fans will feel the same about going back to Forest. I can’t wait. I remember meeting Brian Clough when I was eight or nine and became a Forest fan. I then joined the club and played for them. I’ve amazing memories there and I’m looking forward to being there again for Super Sunday.
“Spurs were last there in 1999. It’s been 23 years! You would never have thought that at the time. The amount of times they’ve been near, as well. I was at Forest for a play-off final, we came up short. If you’d have said 12 months ago they would be back in the Premier League, everyone would have said, ‘not a chance’, and that’s an indication of the job Steve Cooper has done. He’s brought belief back to the club and the city.
“They have hunger, desire. Forest play the same formation - three at the back, wing-backs, two holding midfielders, then the front three. They’ve signed plenty of players. Dean Henderson in goal, that’s a huge signing from United on loan. I like Neco Williams, in from Liverpool. Lewis O’Brien, Taiwo Awoniyi, a forward who came in from the Bundesliga, played well against West Ham, runs the channels. Jesse Lingard, Emmanuel Dennis has just come in from Watford, Harry Tofolo, the list goes on! Orel Mangala might be injured, came off last week, Moussa Niakhate pulled his hamstring against West Ham. Joe Worrall is captain, Ryan Yates, Brennan Johnson, these are players who were already at the club and helped them to promotion.
“They’ve set their stall out, they’ve spent money, brought players in and what they are saying is, ‘we’re back, and we want to stay here’. They know there will be challenges along the way, but they’ve made a promising start. Now it’s Spurs and these are the matches everyone wants. Seven points in three games is a great start for us. I’ll be there, I’ll be doing Super Sunday and I can’t wait.”