NOTTINGHAM FOREST BLOG: Steve Corry talks to Big Wes about a connection that knows no bounds - football
When Wes Morgan celebrated his 400th appearance for Nottingham Forest in 2011 many fans took to social media to congratulate him.
Meanwhile 4,000 miles away in the USA Wesley Hall was scratching his head as to why his Twitter feed had gone into overdrive!
The Analytics manager, originally from Tennessee, virtually became more famous than Jack Daniels when people began to congratulate @bigwes rather than @Wes5L1nk.
As he dug deeper, he soon began to appreciate the loyalty of these crazy Forest fans across the pond. Being a self confessed sports nut it was only a matter of time before he became a true red.
So, when Mr Hall announced that he was coming to Nottingham to see his first ever game, there was a reel buzz among the forest fans.
He chose to make his debut for the visit of our bogey side Hull City, which incorporated the Goose Fair weekend too.
At this point, it has to be said, that despite all of the hysteria and last minute hype, there are a handful of supporters who have made this possible from the outset.
A few of those fans visited Wes in the States and have been there for him since day one, unfortunately I don’t have their names but they are the real dream weavers in this story.
Despite his new found fame this amazing man from Atlanta took time out to answer some questions for my blog, this whilst being a manager, husband, father and a grandfather!
SC: How has this random act of fate impacted/changed your life?
BW: “The biggest impact on my life is the friends I have gained since I became a Red I place so many calls, Tweets and direct messages to the UK; Siri now speaks with a British accent. I truly regard my British friends as friends.
“I would do anything in my power for them, and I feel they’d do the same for me. The other impact is my obsession with the club. There is seldom a day that goes by where I don’t have on something red – even if it’s my shoe strings.
“I take Forest everywhere and I constantly tell people about my club. There are four different pubs in Atlanta that have Forest hanging in them. What other Championship League team can say that?”
SC: What is your favourite sport?
BW: “I am a sports nut – I love sports of all kind. NFL, basketball, rugby, baseball, hockey – you name it. My obsession though is “proper” football. Football is an admittedly new obsession for me, but I am fascinated with the game, the personalities, the passion of the fans, the history of the teams, and the various leagues. When I meet someone new the first thing I want to know about him or her is what team they support.”
SC: Are there any attractions other than the City Ground that you’d like to visit whilst you’re over?
BW: “I am going to several pubs before the game and to Goose Fair right after the game. I am going to pay homage at the Brian Clough statue when I get to Nottingham, and I have a list of other must sees while I am there.”
SC: What was it like to actually meet Big Wes Morgan?
BW: “Wes Morgan is an awesome person. I was a bit star-struck when I first saw him, but after a few moments we were chatting it up and laughing like he was regular or I was cool. People started to mob him after a few minutes, but he handled the small crowd with grace. I was very impressed by him.”
SC: We’ve seen you pictured with guitar in hand, reckon you’d fancy performing Mull of Kintyre at the City Ground one day?
BW: “After about 25 more years of practicing, I would love to perform at City Ground!”
When I finally met him for a beer before the game, the first thing he said was: “did you get what you needed for the blog and is there anything else I can do for you?”
I was blown away by his humble but infectious personality. To be honest he looked awestruck as the TV cameras followed his every move, but he took it all in his stride.
Unfortunately Wes watched us lose to Hull but he was impressed by the tempo and effort by the Forest team. A sloppy set piece goal was to be the deciding factor in the game.
Result aside, Big Wesley Hall can look back on his visit with pride. He got to press his own personalised Forest shirt, walk the famous trophy room and score a goal at the legendary Trent End!
You have touched the hearts of the forest faithful my friend and we can’t wait to have you back!
By Steve Corry