…the Steve Hodge derby – the former England international played for both these teams in the late 1980s and early 90s and is more recently famous for becoming the ‘richest man in football’. Well, if not exactly that then at least someone who won’t struggle to pay his heating bills this winter.
Having sold Diego Maradona’s 1986 Hand of God/Goal of the Century (delete as you deem fit…) shirt for over £7 million Hodge is now rolling in the sort of cash that his former club Nottingham Forest have been throwing around this summer in a bid to make their return to the top flight last longer than one season. So far, on the basis of a paltry three matches, the £127 million outlay is going OK. They have four points and sit mid-table (though, never look at the table until November as a wise old man once told me…).
But without wanting to offend supporters of Newcastle United, today is their first real big test. Up against a Tottenham side that has vague hopes of some sort of title challenge, is unbeaten and knows it could go second with a win today.
After three matches Antonio Conte’s side are yet to really fire. After an impressive opening-day win over Southampton they were sluggish against Chelsea, before snatching a draw, and underwhelmed for the most part in their 1-0 win over Wolves. They need a performance as much as a win today and will fancy their chances against the promoted club.
The neutral will undoubtedly be backing Forest, not only because they are underdogs but also because the sight of the historic club back in the top flight still brings a smile to many a fan’s face. One of those glad to see the club of Clough and remarkable European Cu wins back in the big time is none other than the Spurs manager.
“Forest started the season very well. I think it’s good, nice to have Nottingham Forest in the Premier League because we’re talking about a club with a great history,” Conte said.
“I’ve seen there’s a great enthusiasm, a great atmosphere and my expectation is to play around a lot of noise.
“But we’re working well and preparing well. We know the game will be difficult. We have to go into the game with the right mind and try to do our best.”
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