February 12 will always be 'Charlie Palmer Day'
AS any self-respecting Notts County fan will tell you, February 12 is, and always will be, 'Charlie Palmer Day'.
Almost 20 years on, fans fortunate enough to be in the 18,655 crowd at Meadow Lane that day, still rave about the goal that gave the Magpies an historic win over local rivals Forest.
The other 181 League games full back Palmer played for Notts simply fade into insignificance compared to this one.
The day began well for Notts when that deadly finisher Gary McSwegan, a £400,000 signing from Glasgow Rangers, gave them a shock lead after previously being denied by the woodwork.
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In the 58th minute, Michael Johnson played a long ball down the left and the former Scotland hit-man cut inside Steve Chettle, beat Colin Cooper and fired low inside Mark Crossley's right-hand post.
But joy turned to despair when Dave Phillips equalised for the double European champions with 85 minutes gone after a Stuart Pearce shot had been blocked.
Cue Sir Charlie Palmer, who entered Notts' folklore some 60 seconds later.
The drama unfolded like this: Notts won a free-kick on the left which the referee ordered to be re-taken.
Palmer signalled Mark Draper to hit it deep and his cultured right peg found Palmer leaping above Pearce to head in.
Incredibly, it was his first goal for two seasons and his first League strike since 1990.
"I lost it at the point," recalled Palmer, who ran almost the length of pitch in celebration. "I just went wild with emotion."
It just wasn't Forest's day. They were denied a penalty when Colin Foster appeared to handle a Pearce cross and after a 64 minutes, Bohinen missed the ball on the line and Glover's header looked destined for the net until it struck Cooper and went over the bar.
Born in Aylesbury, Palmer started his career as an apprentice at Watford under Graham Taylor.
He played 18 matches for Watford in all competitions from 1981-84, including four in the UEFA Cup.
In July 1984, Derby County manager Arthur Cox signed him on a free transfer.
He was part of the team that won the Second Division title in 1986-87 season. He moved to Hull City for £30,000 and stayed for two years before Neil Warnock took him to Meadow Lane for a bargain £25,000.
The next few years saw journeys to Wembley Stadium for the play-off finals, winning both against Tranmere (2-0, Johnson and Short) and Brighton (3-1, Johnson 2 and Regis).
Then there was the disappointment of the 1-0 defeat in the Anglo-Italian Cup Final against Brescia, who were led by Gheorghe Hagi.
Palmer had six years at Notts before he moved onto Walsall. He finished his career on the local non-league scene.
When he retired from football, the likeable Palmer became a social worker.
He also got into coaching with old Notts colleague Dean Thomas at Hinckley United.
Until recently, Palmer was coaching at top Derby club Mickleover Sports and was caretaker-boss for a while.
For the record the teams on 'Charlie Palmer Day' were:
Notts: Cherry, Palmer, Sherlock (Legg, 45), Turner, Foster, Johnson, Devlin, Draper, Lund, Reid, McSwegan. Not used: Catlin, Dijkstra.
Forest: Crossley, Lyttle, Pearce, Cooper, Chettle, Stone (Bull), Phillips, Gemmill, Bohinen, Glover, Black. Not used: Webb, Bull.