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Thursday, 29 June, 2000, 11:45 GMT
Season to forget at Forest
David Platt
Tough managerial start for Forest boss David Platt
Many Forest fans will want to forget the 1999-2000 season - but it could also have been the moment that the club started getting its act together.

The season, 20 years since Forest's first European Cup win under Brian Clough, began with predictions that the club was fast becoming the new Manchester City, languishing in the lower reaches with only fading memories of glory for comfort.

The start was appalling. New manager David Platt arrived after the disasters of 1998-1999 with its now infamous strike by striker Pierre van Hooijdonk.

Forest's play during the first months following relegation to Division One was lacklustre and unenthusiastic.

By February, the club was fighting for survival, a point off the relegation zone and a disciplinary record that landed it with an end-of-season appearance before the FA's disciplinary committee.

But Platt settled the woefully short of confidence squad, aided by some sterling goalkeeping from 41-year-old Dave Beasant - including a cat-like crucial match-winning save away at Birmingham in April.


Dave Beasant
Dave Beasant performed wonders in goal

There was some superb finishing from Chris Bart-Williams who found form after a poor autumn.

Trinidad-born striker Stern John scored six minutes into his debut but failed to live up to that first rush after suffering a run of bad luck with the woodwork.

One of the most disappointing players was midfielder Nigel Quashie but the signing of Tony Vaughan from Man City led to a more decisive and robust defence.

Fans criticised Platt for inconsistency and a lack of charisma at a club made famous by the biggest ego in football.

But he also won over fans for his stoicism during a painful season. The end of season stats may be to his favour. Forest finished 14 with 15 points from their final seven games.

But the sorry play early on left the club 20 points off the play-offs and only just above Stockport, Crewe and Grimsby.

Forest need to maintain the new found solidity at the back - no guarantee considering Beasant's age and the loss of Forest loyalist Mark Crossley - and to find a quality striker and midfield play maker.

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