WORDS AND ILLUSTRATIONS: STEVE GULBIS
Inspired by Jonny Owen’s fantastic movie ‘I Believe in Miracles’ and Daniel Taylor’s brilliant book of the same name, football artist Steve Gulbis has designed a colourful collection of postcards and prints commemorating the Nottingham Forest ‘Miracle Men’ and it is simply magnificent…
The Miracle Men collection focuses on Nottingham Forest’s two triumphant European Cup campaigns in 1979 and 1980. It also rounds off a project I began 38 years ago.
Back May 1978 I was an art student and Forest had just won the Division One Championship (when that was the top flight of English football). I designed a poster featuring all the players that played that season, and sent it off to the club. A couple of months later I received a letter from Forest secretary Ken Smales. He apologised for the delay and returned the poster, signed by all 16 players plus Brian Clough, Peter Taylor & trainer Jimmy Gordon! I’ve still got the poster today, a bit old & tatty now, but what also remained with me was the generosity of the Forest players and staff.
Seeing Jonny Owen’s fantastic movie ‘I Believe in Miracles’ and reading Daniel’s Taylor’s brilliant book inspired me to revisit a unique period in football history. In the space of five years manager Brian Clough took a mid-table Second Division team and turned them into back-to-back European Champions. Nothing short of miraculous.
‘Jimmy, Peter & Brian’
Group portrait of Forest’s unique management team: trainer Jimmy Gordon, ‘Thorough, wise & straight as a die’; talent spotter Peter Taylor, ‘If I am the shop window, he is the goods at the back’; and manager Brian Clough, ‘Our partnership is based on togetherness. We’re a twosome speaking as one’.
‘Back to Back Champions!’
‘John Robertson cuts inside Hamburg’s Kevin Keegan, and drills a low shot towards the far post…’ ‘Roy of the Rovers’ style artwork tells the story behind Robbo’s winning goal against Hamburg in the 1980 European Cup Final.
Retro style portrait of Forest’s captain lifting the European Cup. Calm and collected on the surface, but underneath, ‘I was thinking about my dad. He might have been proud of me’.
Miracle Men Postcards
The collection also includes 24 illustrated postcards of all the Forest players from both European Cup winning campaigns in 1979 and 1980, as well as manager Brian Clough, assistant manager Peter Taylor and trainer Jimmy Gordon, plus the winning goals from both finals scored by Trevor Francis and John Robertson.
The players are pictured in classic Forest home and away kits and the cards include player info and stats.