Retro Nottingham Forest jerseys are more than just items of clothing, they are pieces of footballing history. The iconic red shirts, with white sleeves and collar, go far beyond the club’s success at the highest level in the 1970s and 80s. They are a representation of the club’s long and rich history, encompassing its founding, the greatest players to pull on the famous shirt, and the successes and hardships faced together.
Nottingham Forest is one of the oldest football clubs in England, having been established in 1865. This storied past is evident in every retro jersey, a reminder of the club’s origins and distinctive identity. What follows is an exploration of the club’s history, kit colours, stadium, and the most significant players in the Forest’s tale.
Nottingham Forest was formed in 1865 by a group of Bandy and Shinty players, who decided to form a football team. The club’s distinct name comes from the Forest Recreation Ground, the public park in which they initially played their games. Remarkably, the club still plays close to this original site with their current stadium, the City Ground, situated less than a mile away.
In the early years, Nottingham Forest was not a dominating force in English football, content to participate in FA Cup competitions with sporadic success. However, they became founding members of the Football Alliance in 1889 and ten seasons later, Forest joined the Football League. The club gradually built a reputation as a strong side but struggled to claim top honours.
Despite these slow beginnings, the history of Nottingham Forest would be irrevocably changed in 1975 when Brian Clough was appointed manager. Clough’s tenure would bring unprecedented success to the club, including two European Cup victories in 1979 and 1980. These glory years serve as a source of pride and inspiration in the club and the retro jerseys from this time period are popular among fans to this day.
Originally, Nottingham Forest donned blue and white striped shirts, coupled with black shorts and black socks. But in 1866, the club switched to red shirts and white pants, which were believed to be the official colors of the Sheriff of Nottingham. These would become the club’s trademark colours, making them synonymous with the famous red coat of arms emblazoned on the crest.
The club’s away colours have seen various changes over the years, with blue, light blue, and yellow all being elements of Forest’s ensemble at different times. However, these have generally been used sparingly, and it is the red home kit that remains the iconic Nottingham Forest image.
Retro kits from the Clough era are particularly sought after, featuring red shirts with white trim, coupled with white shorts and red socks. These classic designs have been revived in recent years, with modern twists on the vintage patterns and colour combinations.
The City Ground has been the home of Nottingham Forest since 1898, located on the banks of the River Trent in West Bridgford. Previously, Forest played at a site known as Parkside, before moving to the Town Ground, which was situated roughly where the current City Ground is today.
The City Ground has seen various developments and expansions over the years, with the Trent End, Brian Clough Stand, and Bridgford Stand all being added to the ground over time. Its capacity reached its peak in the late 1960s, when over 49,000 fans would regularly cram into the terraces to cheer on their team.
The record attendance at the City Ground was set on 12 February 1967, when 49,946 fans squeezed into the stadium to watch Forest face Manchester United in an FA Cup fifth round tie. The stadium’s current capacity is approximately 30,445, a figure which has remained largely unchanged since the ground became all-seater in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Plans for future expansions are occasionally mentioned but have yet to come to fruition.
Some of the greatest footballers to step foot on the field have worn the Nottingham Forest colours. Retro shirts often feature the names of the legendary players of the 1970s and 80s, including Peter Shilton, Stuart Pearce, Trevor Francis, and the colossus of the Clough era, John Robertson.
Robertson was famously referred to by Brian Clough as “a little fat guy” while also lauded for his exceptional football prowess. Robertson played as a winger and was instrumental in Forest’s domestic and European successes during the Clough era. He played over 600 times for the club and went on to have a successful career in coaching.
Other players from throughout the club’s history include the early stalwarts such as Grenville Morris, who scored over 200 goals during his time with Forest, the free-scoring Wally Ardron, and modern-day heroes such as Wes Morgan and Andy Reid.
A retro Nottingham Forest jersey holds within its fabric the incredible story of one of England’s proudest football clubs. It represents the rich history, passion for the beautiful game, and the immovable spirit of one of the oldest clubs on the continent. As each new generation of fans dons these shirts, they carry the legacy of Nottingham Forest into the future, hoping one day to see the City Ground once again alive with the glory of yesteryear.