Ryan's Column: Freezing Cold At Forest

Featured News | 6th February 2010

I was honoured when I went to the City Ground to watch Forest’s victory over QPR after an ovation from the crowd.

I went along with Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad and as we came out of the tunnel to take out seats we were given a great reception – not just by Forest supporters but the visiting fans as well.

I was a bit nervous at the reception we might get and thought there might be a few boos, but it was brilliant and I would like to thank everyone for that. It was a freezing cold night, I don’t think I’ve ever been colder at a game.

I was certainly glad to have a Forest scarf around my neck and I soon had good reason to be waving in celebration.

When I have been to game sin the past it has usually finished as a 0-0 draw but this Forest performance was amazing.

Some of the football they played was first-class and it shows you exactly why they are up there fighting for promotion. It was good to see plenty of goals flying in.

You can certainly see there has been a massive change from last year and there is no reason why they can’t go up to the Premier League if they keep it going.

After going 19 games unbeaten it was obviously a big disappointment for that record to go at the weekend – and Derby was the last place you’d want that to happen.

But the best teams come back from knocks like that and I belive this Forest team have the ability and strength of character to do it.

xxxx

IT was a great occasion, but I have to say the latter stages of Swanny’s wedding were a bit blurry.

As you might expect, his speech was quite funny. I think at one point he said he will still love Sarah even when she won’t let him play on his X-box!

That’s just typical of him and it was lovely to see so many of his Notts and England colleagues there to celebrate his special day with him.

Getting the opportunity to relax with players away from the field is something you don’t always get to do as much as I’d like these days.

When I started it was fairly routine for all the players to go in the bar after a match and share a beer or two.

As I was coming through it was great to see well-respected figures such as Wasim Akram and Graeme Gooch walk in. You could just sit and chat with them for ten or 15 minutes and listen to their experiences in the game.

They had their opinions and it was interesting to see things from an alternative point of view.

It’s disappointing that doesn’t seem to happen too much any more and I’m not sure why.

Perhaps it is because the players involved are getting younger, perhaps some teams feel if you are competing with someone then you can’t share a drink with them.

But I don’t see any reason why you can’t play tough out on the field and then shake hands and talk about it afterwards.

I would like to see that sort of think make a comeback, but at least at Notts we do try to spend time together.

When we are away we have team meals and there are one or two beers sunk at the appropriate times.

There is no better way in my book of getting a good team spirit going and it helps us have a very special bond here at Notts.

I would much prefer that to sitting in the dressing room overly-worrying about a game.

xxxxx

IT
will be a big loss to lose Otis Gibson as England’s bowling coach – but coaching your home country is an opportunity he could not refuse.

Otis has been nothing but a credit throughout his time playing and coaching cricket both domestically and in international cricket.

The West Indies job is one I’m sure he will enjoy and everyone who knows him from the England set-up will wish him well in.

He was part of the coaching staff when we won the Ashes in the summer and that is a terrific thing to have on your CV.

Otis knew my dad quite well and I have also played against him. Since he has been involved with England, we have become quite close.

He is not just a good coach but he is also a very nice guy – and I’m sure all the England players would say the same.

One of the biggest things I have taken from Otis is that age is no barrier to success – so long as you still have the ability and the desire.

People often go on about players being past their sell-by date when they get the wrong side of 30.

But the way Otis and the likes of Mark Ealham carried on well into their thirties dispels that theory.

Those two have played some of their best cricket at the back end of their careers. As a player you never stop learning and I know I am still learning about the game now.

I still see there being a long way to go in my career and provided I still get the same enjoyment from the game, I want to keep playing as long as possible.

I certainly don’t want to give the game up and then regret it because you are a long time retired.

The last few years have gone very well for me. I’m still bowling well, and you see other guys like Mark Ramprakash and Dominic Cork still playing, which acts as an inspiration.

Notts have been fantastic to me since I have been there and I want to reward them for that as much as I can.

There is no doubt that those participating in sport seem to be getting younger.

But, for me, there is still room for those seasoned professionals, whose experience can be vital.

You still need those older heads who are going to help the talented young players reach their potential.

And if the veterans are out-performing the younger guys, then there is no question they should be keeping them out of the team. That’s the way it should work.

Otis showed that when he was still playing and now he has the chance to match that excellence as a coach.

I wish him well.

xxxxx

I
WAS up early last Sunday morning watching Andy Murray – and I really felt for him.

He put in a great effort to make it all the way through to the final beating some tough players along the way, including Rafael Nadal.

But the problem was in his final match he was playing the best player in the world and probably the best tennis player who has ever lived.

To lose in three straight sets was, I think, a little rough on Andy because had he won a key point here or there he would have won a set at least.

But that’s sometimes the way it happens  and Roger Federer is a very difficult man to stop when he’s on top.

It showed how much it meant to Andy during his interview after the match. You could see how much  he had wanted to win as he shed the odd tear.

It is a big pressure to bear as well knowing that no British man has won a grand slam title for 70-odd years.

The good thing from his point of view is that he certainly has time on his side to get more chances – and he looks to have the ability to do it.

I have also been watching the Players’ Championship darts, with Paul Nicholson beating the legendary Phil Taylor before going on to win the title.

It is a sport that Mark Ealham got me hooked on while he was at Notts. It was compelling viewing.

I always like to see Dennis ‘the Menace’ Priestley doing well as he is a Yorkshireman like me and I have had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times, but unfortunately he went out in the first round.

(England opener) Alistair Cook went along to watch and he was asking me on a text if I was watching because, like a lot of the lads, he knows I’m into it.

It has certainly given me a thirst to get out to watch some action in the flesh and I hope to get to the Premier League when it comes down to Nottingham.

I went with Swanny a couple of years ago and it was a great laugh.

There’s more action on the horizon this weekend, which isn’t going to go down well with the Mrs.

I’m off to watch Nottingham Rugby play league leaders Bristol on Sunday where I hope Craig Hammond, who I have met a couple of times, can help the team to victory.

Before that, though, is the Huddersfield-Bradford rugby league match on Friday and then England-Wales in the rugby union on Saturday.

I’ll just have to make sure baby Indiana grows up to be a sports fan!

xxxxx

I’VE
already admitted my golf is not too clever, but it seems salvation may now be at hand.

I went up to Golf Support in Mansfield earlier this week where the guys there, owner John Lynes and fitting expert Richard Candlin, did their best to sort me out.

They gave me a lesson and also set me up with some customised, fitted clubs.

I felt I needed to do something about my golf because I regularly get invited to play in events.

And there is also my benefit year coming up, where I’m hoping to have a tournament at Hollinwell and one close to London, so I thought it was time to brush up.

There’s only so many times I can make excuses for not playing in events and it is also a sport I’m interested in playing when I do eventually retire from the game to help keep my fitness up.

It is an amazing shop and it was great to pick up a few useful tips.

If I play a proper round of golf, the worms are usually in danger when I get the driver out.

I’m also prone to slicing the ball, but I blame that on the batting drills we do at Notts! Obviously the two techniques are completely different.

But they really helped me with my swing and by the end I was hitting the ball a whole lot better.

My hope is that when I do played in my benefit events I’m at least not hitting it straight into the trees when everyone is watching me!

I’m know I’m not going to win the Open, but just keeping in on the straight and narrow for the most part  would be a decent start.

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Ryan Sidebottom

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