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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Nottingham Forest 1980 - No.7 Francis.

In February 1979, Brian Clough had elected to spend the money that Forest had made from winning the league title in 1978 on a forward from Birmingham City. Trevor Francis became Britain’s first £1 million footballer, famously being introduced to the media by Clough who was in his red gym kit and carrying a squash racquet.

Later that season Forest beat defending champions Liverpool in the first round of the European Cup and advanced to the final. Due to UEFA registration rules the first game that Francis was eligible for was the final itself and, with Martin O'Neill injured and Archie Gemmill not selected by Clough, Francis was picked to play his first ever European club game. Forest took on Swedish side Malmö in the final in Munich, and a major instalment of the huge investment money was repaid with francis scoring the only goal just before half time.

Francis arguably did not achieve his full potential as a Forest player. This may partly be due to Clough frequently playing Francis on the right wing, rather than in his preferred position as a central attacker. He was in the side which lost the League Cup final to Wolves in 1980, but missed the European Cup final against Hamburg due to an Achilles injury. Somehow the success of his Forest career never quite reflected his huge fee. But there was always that night in Munich.

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