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Bryn Gunn recalls Nottingham Forest's European Cup glory

Nottingham Forest European Cup winner 1980
Bryn Gunn (bottom row, far right) played six minutes of the 1980 final

By Nigel Bell

Bryn Gunn only played six minutes of Nottingham Forest's historic second European Cup win but, 30 years on, the memories remain vivid.

"To be honest it seems like yesterday. I can remember everything about it," he said.

In 1980 Gunn was a 21-year-old fringe player at the City Ground. The defender had only played twice for Forest all season but travelled with the squad for the game against Hamburg.

He fully expected to watch from the stands but all that changed at lunchtime on the day of the final.

Stan Bowles walked out on the club after a row with Forest manager Brian Clough and Gunn was told he would be a substitute that evening.

We were just a group of lads who got together, went about their jobs and made history
Former Nottingham Forest defender Bryn Gunn

Understandably the defender was very nervous: "You want to play but you just think the worst things. You think you'll make a mistake and let everybody down."

Gunn got his chance to shine in the 84th minute but said any excitement was tempered by comments made by Forest's assistant manager.

He recalled: "I'm taking my tracksuit off and Frank Gray's coming off. Peter Taylor turned round to Cloughie and said 'we're in the s*** now'. That wasn't much of a confidence booster for me."

Gunn only touched the ball twice during his time on the pitch but was just pleased to have been given the opportunity to appear in such a prestigious game.

"I was very lucky," he said. "Not many people have done that. When it was over it was brilliant. Party time.

"I think myself and John O'Hare sat around the bar until four in the morning. I woke up cuddling my medal."

Changing history

The defender, now 51 and a roofer, still has his medal. Although some of his colleagues have sold theirs he said it still means a lot to him: "There's only one better medal and that's a World Cup winners medal. I've got a Super Cup loser's medal but that's not worth anything because we lost."

Gunn believes Nottingham Forest's achievement of winning two European Cups in a row will not be repeated in the modern era.

Nottingham Forest win 1980 European Cup against Hamburg
John McGovern raises the European Cup after Forest's victory in 1980

"It's never going to happen again," he said.

"We weren't expected to do anything. We were just a group of lads who got together, went about their jobs and made history."

The experience of that night on 28 May 1980 has furnished Gunn with many anecdotes.

One of his favourites is how Forest, the underdogs, managed to keep Hamburg's star player, Kevin Keegan, quiet.

Gunn remembered that Brian Clough told his centre-half, Larry Lloyd, not to talk to his former Liverpool team-mate: "As we were walking down the tunnel Keegan came up to Lloyd and said 'you're not going to kick me are you Larry?'

"Lloyd said 'I can't talk to you but I've been told Burnsy (Kenny Burns) is going absolutely muller you tonight.'

"As he said that Keegan looked behind him and Burns had just taken his teeth out."

Keegan had a quiet game that evening.

Nottingham Forest beat Hamburg 1-0 in the 1980 European Cup final with John Robertson scoring the winning goal in the 20th minute. The previous season they had defeated Malmo, also 1-0. They became, and remain, only the second British club after Liverpool to retain the European Cup.

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