Kingsley Black: My move from Luton to Forest came out of the blue

Former Luton winger Kingsley Black admitted his big money move to Nottingham Forest from the Hatters almost 30 years ago came as something of a shock to him to him.

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 2nd November 2019, 9:14 am
Kingsley Black takes on Nigel Winterburn during the Hatters' Littlewoods Cup win in 1988.
Kingsley Black takes on Nigel Winterburn during the Hatters' Littlewoods Cup win in 1988.

Rewind back to 1991, the Hatters were a top flight side, with Black a first choice, while Forest were one of the biggest names in the game, regularly finishing inside the top 10 in Division One, and known for their cup exploits both domestically and in Europe too.

Boss at the time Brian Clough opted to shell out £1.5m for the Northern Ireland international, which was a big sum of money in those days, as Black left Kenilworth Road having played 156 games, scoring 31 goals, with a Littlewoods Cup winners medal too.

Recalling the transfer and being wanted by a manager of Clough’s reputation, Black told the Luton News: “It was amazing really, it came out of the blue as I think Luton were looking to raise a bit of money, maybe not the first time or the last, it’s the nature of the game.

“So it wasn’t something I was pushing for, it was just something that happened really.

“Signing for a great manager and a great club with such a fantastic history, he (Clough) was an amazing man, getting the best out of people.

“His record speaks volumes. Even turning up in the changing room, the England back four and Stuart Pearce, Des Walker and Roy Keane in midfield, Teddy Sheringham up front and Nigel Clough, it was a big side.

“These players were used to doing well and used to playing in cup finals as we know when they beat us in the second League Cup final (1989).

“It’s a great club with great memories. As soon as you get there, the history around the place with the European Cup wins and Brian Clough himself was a massive character, a massive leader.

“He was very much in charge of that entire football club, so you’d be honoured if he signed you.”

Black did admit that the pricetag on his shoulders had been hard to deal with at times, as he continued: “There is pressure, because there’s an expectation when you are signed for a lot of money.

“It doesn’t come without it, so that doesn’t help, but that’s just the nature of the game.”

Black went on to score for Forest against the Hatters that term, as in April, bagging the opening goal, before Mick Harford and Julian James were on target to ensure Town triumphed.

The midfielder, who had notched against the Reds for Luton during a 3-2 defeat in February 1989 also found the Kenilworth net once more in August 1993, Forest running out 2-1 winners that time, a game that saw John Hartson on the mark for the first time in a Town shirt.

Speaking about the first goal though, Black, a Town fan, said: “Luton were in a relegation battle, I think it was a Tuesday night and I scored the first goal, not long into the game.

“I was very conscious not to celebrate. You have to do your job as a footballer as that’s what you’re paid to do, so you put the ball in the back of the net.

"But i felt there was no need to actually celebrate the goal and I hadn’t really seen that before as a lot of players would be jumping up and down 10 times after scoring at their old club.

"I had such an affiliation and I still do with Luton, that I just didn’t feel that was needed, do the job, but don't need to celebrate it.

“You’re a professional so you’re not going to jeapordise your own situation.

"But you don’t have to jump for joy, just put the ball in the back of heh net and walk away.”

As mentioned, Black was part of a Forest dressing room that contained some players who had and went on to have huge careers in the game, none more so than midfielder Roy Keane and Stuart Pearce.

On playing in the same side as the Manchester United legend, he added: "He was superb even then, but a different type of player then.

"Roy was more your attacking midfielder as people didn't realise how quick he was, really, really quick.

"So he was able to be a box-to-box midfielder at the time, and if you look at his record in the early days, he was scoring 14 goals because he could get on the end of things.

"He had the energy to get forward and time his runs to perfection and you knew he was fantastic player, there was no question about that.

"Then at United they changed him into a different type of player, who maybe ran the game from his passing, but he was only able to do that as he was still quick as well.

“However, he (Pearce) was the leader at the time.

"I think if you ask Roy he'll tell you that himself, as Roy was learning his trade,

"He wasn't the captain of that team, Stuart certainly was.

"If you were to ask Roy he would say he probably looked up to him and maybe took a little leaf or two out his book to become the captain that he became."