BY STEVE MITCHELL

Nottingham Forest completed their miracle rise from Second Division also rans to European Cup winners, after a 1-0 victory over Swedish side Malmo in Munich’s Olympic Stadium last night. The match will not be remembered as a classic, but no one from the East Midlands will care after Brian Clough’s men lifted the biggest prize in European club football.

It was the million pound man, Trevor Francis, who settled the contest in first-half injury time after getting on the end of another wonderful cross from John Robertson. That goal also saw Forest pocket £1million, the first time any club has earned such a windfall for winning a major trophy.

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The recently deposed First Division champions went into the match as strong favourites and it was obvious from the first whistle that Malmo had come to stifle the attractive football Clough’s men had been playing since their incredible rise from Division Two.

Nobody would have predicted that these two would be contesting the final especially Forest, who had to eliminate reigning champions Liverpool in the first-round of this season’s competition.

The first-half was a dour affair – the English side had the majority of the possession, the Swedes quite happy to concede ground to their opponents. Forest’s strike pairing of Garry Birtles and Tony Woodcock were finding it difficult going and were getting more and more frustrated being caught in offside positions.

Just when it seemed as though the two teams would be heading back to the dressing rooms all-square, Forest broke the deadlock. The ball was played out to Robertson on the left and the Scottish international set off on one of his trade-mark runs. When he delivered the centre, Malmo goalkeeper Jan Moller completely misjudged the flight of the ball and there was Francis on the back post with a stooping header to score the game’s only goal.

Up until that point, Robertson had had a quiet game and was unable to have any influence on proceedings with the Malmo defence constantly forcing him to cut inside. The first time he was allowed to go on the outside, he did what he has done all-season – deliver the perfect ball into the box.

The big question now was could Malmo offer anything in attack in the second period? The short answer to that was no. In fact Forest should have extended their lead with Birtles and Robertson both going close.

The Forest fans in the Olympic Stadium vastly outnumbered their Swedish counterparts and as the minutes ticked by, the home of Bayern Munich was turned into a sea of red and white. Many had spent days on the road to get to the match and many were ready to party the night away having no hotel room to go back to.

After the game, Clough was his usual ebullient self and he repeated what he had said last season that Robertson was; “A very unattractive man.” Before adding, “But give him a ball and a yard of grass and he turns into an artist.”

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Young striker Birtles was almost overcome with the emotion of it all. Three years ago he was playing Non-League football and now he was adding a European Cup winner’s medal to his First Division champions one from 12 months ago.

“It was like playing against the land of the giants,” Birtles explained in reference to the sheer size of their opponents, before setting off on a victory lap with the rest of his teammates.

Nottingham Forest: Shilton, Anderson, Clark, McGovern, Lloyd, Burns, Francis, Bowyer, Birtles, Woodcock, Robertson

Malmo: Moller, Andersson (R), Erlandsson, Jonsson, Andersson (M), Tapper (Malmberg 34 mins) Ljungberg, Prytz, Hansson (Andersson T 82 mins) Cervin, Kinnvall

Referee: Erich Linemayr (Austria)
Att: 68000
Olympiastadion, Munich

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FAN MEMORIES:

We asked Forest fans to send in some of their memories of that famous night in Munich. Here’s a selection of the best ones:

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THE WHOLE 1978-79 SEASON IN THE ENGLISH FIRST DIVISION WAS BRILLIANTLY COVERED BY STEVE MITCHELL HERE ON THE FOOTBALL PINK. FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER @barafundler

PROGRAMMES COURTESY OF MILES MCCLAGAN https://www.flickr.com/photos/114058793@N05/sets

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