Godfather Of Champions

Lin Hai Ting Tao - 林海听涛

Chapter 1033 (END) - Epilogue: When I'm Sixty Years Old

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Maybe Allan realised that Nottingham Forest only had 3 official strikers, and that was why he allowed Twain to use the remaining transfer budget to buy a center forward from the market.But the problem was not money, but that he could not find a player to recruit.

This type of situation was too depressing. It was like a penniless beggar drooling while watching someone else feast. Suddenly, he stumbled upon a big sum of money and happily made his way to the feast, only to be disappointed when he saw that the restaurant had closed for the day.

It was already August 31, which meant there was less than a day before the transfer window closed. At this point in time, many transfers had already been completed, and even the incomplete ones would have already been in the contract signing phase. Even if Twain could find a suitable target, the player might already have been owned. Half a day was not enough time for finding a new target from other clubs. 

In his deepest thoughts, Twain determined that Man City did this intentionally. They held off the transfer till the last minute for the past few days to deny Nottingham Forest the time to find a replacement. However, Twain had only been concerned with arguing with Man City over the past few days that he forgotten this scenario.

Great, he dug his own grave. 

On one hand, Twain was unwilling to give up and continued to search for a suitable candidate in the transfer market. On the other hand, he had also prepared himself to be content with a negative outcome. He decided to approach the youth team and the reserve team to see if there were any suitable forwards to use. Of course, this had to wait till the end of the Super Cup.


When Tony Twain brought the Nottingham Forest team to Monaco to prepare for the UEFA Super Cup, the club members worked their hardest and put their all into the global region.

The Brazillian striker who was not bought by Man City was an option, but his complicated background and the pressing deadline made Nottingham Forest hesitate to take this player. Mario Gomez was the best scorer in the previous Bundesliga league and a powerful center forward, but his performance in the UEFA European Champions.h.i.+ps was so bad that the scouts in Nottingham Forest did not see much in him. 

Nottingham Forest searched for so long that they even approached the Spanish Valencia FC, using all their a.s.sets to get the opposing striker David Villa. They did not even care if this person's personality was suited for the tactics in Nottingham Forest or if he was who Twain wanted.

Mario Balotelli, also known as "Super Mario" , a genius player from Milan, might have been suitable for the team. However, once Mourinho heard that it was Nottingham Forest who asked for him, he rejected the offer without hesitation.

The newly risen Egyptian center forward Zaki met Twain's various requirements, but he had already been bought by Portsmouth. For a player who just transferred clubs in less than a month, it was impossible for Twain to make him transfer again. 

At the most critical moment, the scouting team finally found the player that fulfilled all Twain's demands.


Nikola Zigic, Serbian, 2 metres tall, and the second tallest center forwarding UEFA Champions League.

In the UEFA Champions League, there had been a strange phenomenon in the past years where the taller the center forwards, the weaker their header skills. A cla.s.sic example was Zlatan Ibrahimović, whose footwork was exponentially better than his heading.

However, Zigic was different. He met Twain's expectations of a good center forward with great header skills. As a center forward, his header skills were as impressive as his build. Standing at 2.02 metres tall and weighing 100 kilograms, he was a real "Aerial Overlord" in the penalty area. During the match against Team Real Madrid, even the world-renowned Fabio Cannavaro did not know what to do against Zigic's height and weight; not even fouling could bring this big kid down. 

Also, impressive header skills did not mean his footwork was clumsy. Zigic's shooting skills were equally good, indicating he truly was a well-rounded center forward.

What set him apart from Bendtner was that he had the potential to become a second pa.s.ser who could create opportunities and selflessly set up plays for his team mates. The Siberian had better tactical discipline than Bendtner. 

Most importantly, Zigic was not happy in Valencia.

In the previous season, Valencia spent a total of €107 million to bring him from Santander in Valencia, but he did not get to go on the field. Because he had missed a few matches in the early season due to injury, he had always been benched… More accurately, he was part of the audience. 

Valencia's main strikers were "Gourd Doll" David Villa and Fernando Morientes, and behind them were Angulo and Arizmendi. Whether it was Sánchez Flores or Koeman, neither wanted to risk anything with this tall center forward. Valencia spent 107 million on a fifth striker, so it was no wonder they had a debt crisis last season. No matter how rich they were, they should not have splurged.

This summer, Real Madrid wanted to s.n.a.t.c.h Zigic, but he personally rejected this suggestion because he wanted to prove himself in Valencia.

Following the opening of La Liga's new season, Zigic found out the cruel truth — in the roster the new head coach Emery was planning to use, there was not a position for him as a center. David Villa decided to remain on the team at the last minute, which was as good as announcing that Zigic would not have the chance at fighting to be the starting center forward.

Nottingham Forest, which had a lack of center forwards, appeared at this moment. Initially, the people from Nottingham Forest came to buy David Villa, but were disdainfully rejected by Valencia. They expressed that David Villa was not for sale. They did not even let go of him to Real Madrid, let alone Nottingham Forest which was far in England. Desperate, Nottingham Forest then incidentally did a quick scan on the strikers in Valencia and surprisingly discovered an unhappy and unsatisfied one. 

Valencia was not willing to sell David Villa but they were indeed short of funds, so they were very open to selling other players. Zigic also realised he had no future if he stayed in Valencia, but Nottingham Forest was a team that recently won two champions.h.i.+ps, whose roster was filled with many players of high standards, and they were gunning for the champions.h.i.+p. This aligned perfectly with Zigic's wishes — he was hungry for reputation and results. 

Both parties agreed without hesitation and signed the contract on the morning of September 1. Later that afternoon, Zigic flew to Nottingham and proceeded with his medical examination. At night, when Twain was at Monaco finis.h.i.+ng his preparations and roster deployment for the match the next day, both Nottingham Forest and Valencia concurrently announced the transfer of Nikola Zugic into Nottingham Forest for a transfer fee of 10 million Euros. If not for the lack of time, Allen would have bargained for a lower price. Now that Valencia was lacking money, it was the perfect time to underpay them. 

In the new season, Zigic would wear the number 9 jersey that Bentner pa.s.sed down, becoming the new east striker in the contest. 


Twain was very content with the transfer for Zigic; he felt that the last of his emotional burden had been removed. He spent too much time and effort on matters unrelated to him, and being able to obtain an "Aerial Overlord" at the final moments more or less made up for those regrets. Now he could concentrate on defeating their UEFA Super Cup opponents — the Glasgow Rangers from Scotland.

In last season's finals, Glasgow Rangers defeated the veteran Bayern Munich in a close fight, winning the Europa Cup. Naturally, they would hope to be as lucky in the Super Cup. And Twain, without his strong center forward, had no choice but to deploy a defensive formation, relying on occasional surprise attacks to threaten a goal, but most of the time Nottingham Forest players were exhausted from running while defending.

Generally speaking, Nottingham Forest did not have a " UEFA Champions" stance. The Glasgow Rangers, with their high morale, seemed more like the winners of the UEFA Champions league. 

But what happened in the end?

Nottingham Forest successfully defended till the penalty kick at the end. At this time, Glasgow Rangers, who were wildly attacking for one hundred and twenty minutes were both frustrated and exhausted — they never thought a Super Cup match would delay till the penalty kick. In contrast, the Nottingham Forest players, who were constantly being dominated in the main match were all super confident and calm, as if the penalty kick was something they had predicted from the start. The final psychological test of penalty kick had not even started but there was already a clear winner between the mentalities of both parties. 

During the penalty, the first player on the field from the Glasgow Rangers was Kevin Thompson who, under large pressure, sent the ball into the stands, giving Nottingham Forest a great start. Following that, Nottingham Forest scored all 4 goals while Glasgow Rangers only scored two. They had already lost before even taking the fifth shot. 

After Nottingham Forest followed up against Serie A giants AC Milan, they became the second team to successfully defend the European Super cup. Winning the second champion trophy in the new season brought some happiness to the team that recently sold their future superstar.

Though it was a messy situation, they still won. Once again, they proved to people a truth that they were unwilling to admit but they had to, which was "defending will forever be the basis of winning the champions.h.i.+p.'' 

And so the experts started to predict boldly —"This season, Nottingham Forest's brilliance will continue!"

These experts, after a.s.sessing three league seasons, concluded with a piece of advice: Do not be afraid to talk big about Nottingham Forest. This is because Twain will talk big every year, but always ends up the victor. Questioning him only will result in being lightly slapped by him at the end, so why not just talk big? If you somehow are right, you can claim to be far-sighted, and even if you are wrong, you can push the blame to Twain and his team for not being capable enough.


Despite winning the Super Cup and purchasing the tall center forward Zigic, Twain did not have any signs of relaxing one bit. This reason was simple — someone got injured again. Van der Vaart and van Nistelrooy, who were still among those injured, gained a new buddy after the Super Cup match.  

Pepe sprained his ankle during extra time, and at that time Twain had no reserves under his name, so he could only sit and wait. After the match and the check-ups, it was decided that Pepe needed to rest for 15 days. Now Twain could only celebrate that it was not a major injury, or else this start to the new league season was really unfavourable for the year. 

After returning to Nottingham, Twain introduced Zigic before making time to speak to him individually, with the help of translation. He told Zigic about the type of team Nottingham Forest was, the style of football the main coach specialised in, the effects he hoped for the center forward to have on the plays, and the position he held in this team. At the same time, he showed some concern for Zigic's life in England, telling the latter to approach him if ever he felt uncomfortable. Twain was the perfect portrait of a benevolent, gentle and kind middle-aged man. 

After the Super Cup, Nottingham Forest temporarily disbanded. Some players, as part of their national duty, had to return to play for their respective countries in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Famous Italian gold medallist Fabio Capello had already taken over as England's new head coach, and because of this iron coach, George Wood was reselected for England's representative team. His steady display, faithful execution of tactics and calm personality corresponded to the wants of Capello. 

The media predicted that, during this match where England would challenge Andorra on their home ground, Wood would be welcomed into the starting lineup. The young Nottingham Forest team leader still had to prove his value to the England team. Previously, he was deemed to be undervalued by the previous two head coaches. 

Wood needed to work hard for his future in the England team but Twain was not slacking off either. Taking advantage of this, he took a trip to the reserve teams and the youth teams. He might have bought Zigic, but Nistelrooy was getting older, and no matter how good his condition was, there was no guarantee that he could maintain this in the next season… Realistically, it was difficult to even guarantee he could maintain his game for this season. Twain felt it was better to scout for his reserves. 

Although the first team was on a break, the reserve teams still had to prepare for the Premier Reserve League match this weekend. Twain's arrival made the players on the reserve team extremely happy because they knew what the rare trips of the head coach meant. If they performed well, they had a chance to be promoted to the first team. 

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Turkish genius Sahin was following the first team to training, but joining the reserve team for compet.i.tion. Twain hoped that, through this match, he could start coming in contact and familiarising with England's soccer style, and at the same time gradually improve his confidence and afflatus. He was also here to also watch how Sahin was performing. 

Twain chuckled, "no wonder you look so tall, you are even taller than him…" Twain pointed at the other goalkeeper, Mitch.e.l.l's opponent who was wearing number 3. Dale Roberts,1.91 meters tall. 

"Honestly speaking, your performance is terrible." 

Hearing what Twain said, he fell completely silent instantly, lowering his head like a student facing his punishment. 

"Now, I am giving you a chance. Go play striker." 

Hearing what Twain said, Mitch.e.l.l became stunned. He raised his head in confusion to look towards the other who was shorter than him.

"Me, but I have never, never ever…"

"I am telling to play that role, so go do it, what is with all the nonsense!" Twain furrowed his eyebrows and Mitch.e.l.l turned silent. 

"Run along." Colin Clarkson patted his shoulder and pushed him back into the field. Then, he pulled back the defensive midfielder to temporarily become the center back, changing the formation into a 4-3-3. 

"Let them cross the ball more from the sides and pa.s.s high b.a.l.l.s." 

Colin Clarkwood understood Twain's intentions. "You want to see the kid's header skills?"

"I want to see him score with a header." Twain smiled while correcting his colleague's mistake. 

Until the end of the first half, Mitch.e.l.l did not score once in his first time at the striker line. Initially, he was super nervous, not understanding why the head coach wanted him to be striker left him at a loss for words. However, when he discovered his teammates were always trying to cross high b.a.l.l.s into the penalty area, he tried to do a header. He realised that, once he jumped, the opposing defenders could not do anything to him, so completely calmed down and focused on how to head the ball into the goal. 

Although he did not score, he did hit the goal post twice, and there was one time where he forced the first team goalkeeper Dale Roberts to make a desperate dive — in order to save his left bottom corner header, Roberts almost hit the goal post. 

Once his teammates discovered that Mitch.e.l.l, who had nothing to offer but his height, had such a good function, they proactively pa.s.sed high b.a.l.l.s to him, immediately sounding the violent aerial alarm in front of the goal post of Roberts. Whether or not he could head the ball, such a huge figure such as Mitch.e.l.l standing in front of the goal would put huge psychological pressure for the opposing defenders. His presence also aided in distracting the opposition for his teams, allowing the yellow team to even the score before the end of the first half. When Sahin appeared in front of the goal to score, he had no defenders near him at all — everyone was near Mitch.e.l.l. 

Witnessing such a scene, Twain beamed while applauding, on one hand approving Sahin's goal, on the other hand telling the stunned Colin Clarkwood, "Looks like we both got his position wrong. He should have been a center forward. From now on, train him as a center forward." 

Hence, Aaron Mitch.e.l.l, who started soccer when he was 10, who was a goalkeeper for a year and a center back for 7, officially changed his role to become an alternate center forward. Chelsea's "Monster" center forward Drogba also switched from a center back to a center forward. Maybe Mitch.e.l.l could not become the first Drogba but at least he could start working towards this goal. 



2008-2009 season Nottingham Forest First Team Roster (26 pax) : 

Goalkeeper: van der Sar (1), Igor Akinfeev (12), Dale Roberts (25)

Defenders: Leighton Baines (22) , Gareth Bale (2), Pascal Chimbonda (3), Sun Jihai (21), Johnathan Woodgate (5), Vincent Kompany (33), Pepe (6), Wes Morgan (30), Roberto Ayala (4), Rafinha (14)

Midfielders: George Wood (13), Martin Petrov (8), Rafael van der Vaart (23), Kris Commons (20), Aaron Lennon (17), Franck Ribéry (7), David Beckham (24), Tiago Mendes (31), Nuri Şahin (15)

Strikers: Freddy Eastwood (11) , Nikola Zigic (9) , Ruud van Nistelrooy (10), Arshavin(18)

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