Gutsy Nottingham Forest marching after Hull City victory
WHEN Nottingham Forest last won seven games in a row, the British Empire was at it's largest, covering a quarter of the planet and ruling over one-in-four of the global population.
By the end of that 1921/22 season, King George V had opened Wimbledon's centre court and the tennis championships were held for the first time. The Austin Seven was becoming the first popular motor vehicle in Britain and, in America, an adventurous chap called Ralph Samuelson had strapped two bits of wood to his feet and invented the sport of water-skiing.
There was even an East Midlands theme to the occasion as then Reds boss Bob Masters steered his side to a seventh consecutive win, on October 1 1921, with a 3-0 success over Derby County. Only a 2-2 draw with Leicester City brought an end to the run.
At that point, with Adolph Hitler having become the leader of the Nazi party in Germany, the world was entering a dark new era.
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By the time Forest get around to playing Leicester City, on the final day of this season, more than 90 years later, they will be hoping they could be edging closer to entering a decidedly more positive, new world of their own.
When Billy Davies returned for a second spell as manager, the Foxes were in second place in the Championship and Forest were nine points off the play-off places. The size of the turnaround since can be demonstrated by the fact that, on Saturday, the Reds climbed above their rivals into fifth position.
To borrow one of Davies' favourite phrases, do not be fooled. There is still a long way to go. Much can happen in those final eight games. But, if Forest can maintain their current momentum, that can have positive connotations, as well as negative.
If Forest beat Brighton after the international break, it would equal the record set in the 1921/22 season, but it would have a wider significance too, because it would deal an important blow to one of their immediate rivals who, following their demolition of Crystal Palace yesterday, now trail Forest by only a point.
But, having gone toe-to-toe with second-placed Hull on Saturday, and come out victorious – albeit with a bloody nose, following a remarkably close-fought contest – Forest have nothing to fear.
They are certainly playing like a side who do not know when they are beaten; who refuse to accept defeat.
The only surprise on Saturday was that George Boyd had not stashed a pair of comedy glasses down his sock to utilise when he, inevitably, stuck to the expected script and scored against the club who had pulled out of signing him, over a failed eye test, on deadline day.
But, despite that goal, dispatched expertly over his shoulder and over Karl Darlow after an off-balance Chris Cohen had failed to clear amid a melee of players, Forest did not allow their heads to drop.
This was their toughest test yet since Davies returned as manager; their first game against one of their promotion rivals.
And, while they did not have things all their own way amid a game that saw Hull carve out a host of chances, Forest's character and resolve was without question.
The headlines will belong to Lewis McGugan, who came off the bench to net the winner late in the game, and to Darius Henderson, who kept his composure to draw Forest level early in the second half.
But there were also key contributions from Darlow, who had his busiest – and most impressive – game yet between the posts for the Reds and from Cohen and Henri Lansbury, who both produced injury time clearances off the line to preserve the points.
Gedo, Hull's Egyptian striker, should have claimed a point for the home side, after Darlow had brilliantly parried another effort from Boyd, deep into injury time – but he fired wildly over the bar.
But Simon Cox had missed two decent opportunities for Forest, in a similar manner, before Boyd had struck in first-half injury time. The striker's performance, however, again epitomised everything that is good about Forest, as he demonstrated an incredible work rate and commitment to the cause.
There was a look of abject disappointment on his face when he prodded a Radi Majewski cross against the bar, but he was soon rushing over to join the celebrations of the rest of his team-mates, after Henderson had slotted home the rebound.
After the match, as Lansbury faced a barrage of questions about club records, momentum and the prospect of challenging for automatic promotion, his answers said a great deal.
Because almost all of them referred back to the team spirit and unity within the Reds camp; all of them amounted to the same thing.
And that is that confidence his high. Forest are playing with fresh belief in their own ability.
That positive attitude could be vital because, on paper, their run-in is not an easy one. Amid four home games and four away, Forest face leaders Cardiff, Middlesbrough and Millwall on their travels.
If they were to get themselves in a position to claim a club record eighth consecutive win, they would have to do it at Burnley, a club who will still believe they have an outside chance of making the top-six themselves.
Blackpool and Barnsley will both want to collect points from their visits to the City Ground as they look to avoid the drop into League One.
And that final day clash with Leicester City could hold incredible importance to both sides. It could yet be pivotal to the promotion hopes of both teams.
When Brighton visit the City Ground in 12 days, Davies and Forest could secure a place in the history books.
But they will be hoping that, come May, the season is remembered for a different reason; for being the year that Nottingham Forest ended more than a decade outside of the top fight.