Forest super-fan forced to miss a match for first time since 1973… 1,786 games ago!
00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013
00:53 GMT, 2 April 2013
Britain's most dedicated football fan who has seen 1,786 consecutive Nottingham Forest games was left gutted on Monday after he was forced to miss his first match in 40 YEARS.
Loyal Stuart Astill, 67, has spent thousands of pounds clocking up a staggering 2,534 matches since he first went to watch Forest play in 1956.
The obsessed OAP reckons he must have travelled over 100,000 miles by coach, car and plane to watch his beloved side play across Britain and Europe.
No 1 fan: Stuart Astill with his vast collection of Nottingham Forest memorabilia
He last missed a game in 1973 when he was an usher at a wedding – but has been to every home and away games ever since.
Last week Stuart was admitted to hospital after his foot became infected but still made it to his beloved team's 2-2 draw at home against Brighton on Saturday (30/1).
But doctors banned the footie-mad pensioner from travelling to Burnley on Monday following an operation on his foot.
It meant devastated Stuart was forced to listen to a Forest game on the radio for the first time in his life.
Retired British Rail engineer Stuart, who lives in Sandiacre, Derbyshire, said: 'This is my first missed game for 40 years.
Last-gasp: Forest's Lewis McGugan scored a late penalty to salvage a draw at Burnley on Monday
'The last time was in 1973 – it was at home to Preston and I was an usher at a wedding.
'I'll miss the atmosphere. I knew my run would end at some point but I didn't expect it to be now.
'It's going to be really unusual listening to the game on the radio after how many games I have been to.'
Point gained: Forest boss Billy Davies celebrates his side's battling draw at Turf Moor
Stuart started going to football matches with his dad – a Derby County supporter – and his first Nottingham Forest game was a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough in November, 1956.
Remarkably, he has only missed two games since the 1960s and even goes to watch the youth team play.
He was there when captain John McGovern lifted the European Cup after a 1-0 win over Malmo in Munich in 1979 and saw every game of the famous Brian Clough managerial era.
And Stuart said he would 'move heaven and earth' to see Forest play in the Premier League again.
He added: 'Winning the European cups was unbelievable. Seeing John McGovern lift the trophy in Munich, a few tears came to my eyes.
'I'd only seen the European Cup on telly – it was fantastic.
'And I did see every competitive match that Brian Clough managed us in.
'They were an unbelievable team. I feel privileged to say I was there.
'I'm not sure whether I could afford to go in the Premier League, but I would move heaven and earth to do it.'
Loyal Stuart was even rewarded for his loyalty at the beginning of the season when Forest's new owners, the Al-Hasawi family, gave him a complimentary place in the exclusive 1865 club for a year.
A spokesman for Nottingham Forest said: 'It is a great shame Stuart will not be here to cheer us on.
'Everyone at the club would like to wish him a speedy recovery.'
Life-changing: Stuart with the programme from his first Forest game, on November 10th 1956