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Forest connections

By Wink Tomkinson

On Saturday, we welcome Nottingham Forest Under-23s to Longmead and we have previous connections with the club.

Gary Brazil, who brings his Nottingham Forest Under-23 side to Longmead on Saturday, is a local boy having been born and brought up in Pembury.

But Gary is not the only link to the club as Tom Spence, a club stalwart of many years, reveals with the help of the late Brian Cheal’s invaluable archives.

Des Anderson was an Edinburgh-born midfield player who played for Hibernian before joining Millwall in 1961. He spent three season at The Den making 51 appearances and scoring just a single goal before leaving to sign for Dartford. Harry Haslam brought him to Tonbridge in 1965. His stay was only to last until February 1966, making 48 appearances and scoring four times, when he decided to play in South Africa for Johannesburg Rangers. When he returned to England he assisted his friend Dave Mackay who had left Swindon Town to manage Nottingham Forest. They later moved to Derby County and led The Rams to the First Division title. His final game for Tonbridge was against Chelmsford and by chance the local television company, TVS, were filming a report on Non League football of the day. It is believed Des Anderson now lives on the coast at Whitstable. 
Ronnie Blackman (pictured) is Reading’s all-time top goalscorer. In 228 appearances he netted 158 goals. In 1954 he joined Nottingham Forest for a reported substantial fee but his time at the City Ground was limited to a single season making 11 appearances and scoring three goals. The Gosport-born striker moved on to Ipswich Town where he stayed three years but in that time making only 27 appearances but his goal ratio was good scoring 12 times. He joined Tonbridge in July 1958 where in a single season at the club he retained his goal every other appearance ratio with 12 in 24 outings before retiring from the game at the end of the season. He became a Post-Office telephone engineer in Portsmouth. Ronnie passed away in 2016 aged 90 and his death was honoured by a minute’s applause at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.

Updated 14:36 - 13 Aug 2018 by Jim Rowe

Where next?

Platinum Quiz Night Friday 31st August
Liam King signs for Tonbridge Angels Striker signs after three goals at Herne Bay


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