clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

They Played for Both Clubs: Nottingham Forest

Chris takes a look back at a former Wanderer who also wore the red of Forest with distinction

Laurence Griffiths /Allsport

Here's a new one for you - I had no idea that Chris Fairclough wasn't actually called 'Chris'.

Courtney Huw Fairclough was born in Nottingham in 1964.

He turned professional aged 17 at his Forest in 1981. A transitional season saw them finish in a disappointing 12th place, exactly 30 points behind champions Liverpool. Legendary manager Brian Clough had struggled with the break-up of the European Cup-winning side of the late 1970s and big money signings such as Justin Fashanu, Peter Ward and Asa Hartford failed to work out.

Fairclough soon established himself amongst the famous names of the Forest squad, winning his first England U21 cap in 1984, when he was also voted Forest Player of the Year.

After 107 appearances for the club his contract ran down in 1987 and he moved South to join Tottenham Hotspur under manager Terry Venables for a tribunal fee of £340,000.

Fairclough immediately took up a place in Spurs' first team, being ever present throughout the 1987-88 season. However, things would take a turn in the 1988-89 season which was blighted by injury.

Upon his return to the team he was unable to force his way back into the starting eleven, and was sent out on loan to fellow First Division side Leeds United in March 1989, making the move permanent that same summer for 500,000.

As with his arrival at Tottenham, Fairclough immediately took up a place in the centre of Leeds' defence, aiding the team's promotion from Division 2 in 1990. Further success followed and Fairclough was a key member of the side who, under Howard Wilkinson, went on to win Leeds' first Division 1 Championship in eighteen years in 1992, with Fairclough and Chris Whyte providing a formidable central defensive pairing.

In his six years at Elland Road, he was virtually ever-present and picked up the Leeds United Player of the Year award in 1990.

Fairclough eventually became surplus to requirements at the club, and in 1995 joined newly promoted Premier League side Bolton Wanderers for £500,000. He left Leeds having made 192 appearances, scoring 21 goals.

His time at the club coincided with a period of relative success for Wanderers. His first season saw the disastrous Roy McFarland/Colin Todd co-manager experiment, which ended with McFarland leaving the club, Todd taking over and Bolton's eventual relegation.

The following season was the final year at the club's historic Burnden Park, and the side, led by Todd and with Fairclough forming a fantastic partnership with Gerry Taggart saw Bolton win the First Division title and secure an immediate return to the top flight.

He would leave the club following the first season at the new Reebok Stadium, which would again result in the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League. Fairclough joined Notts County in 1998 having made 90 appearances for Bolton, scoring 8 goals.

A single season at Notts County resulted in 16 appearances and just the one goal, before a loan spell at York City which led to a permanent move before his retirement in 2001.

He now lives outside Nottingham and worked for Forest as an assistant first team coach having previously coached the under-17 team.

He left in June 2011 when his contract was terminated by the club following the departure of Billy Davies.

In July 2012 he was appointed as Professional Development Phase Coach (U16-U18) at Charlton Athletic