Our Ken

by , March 11, 2015

Ken Smales' statistical history of Forest

The death has been announced of Mr Ken Smales, Club Secretary of Nottingham Forest during the Brian Clough era, and the original archivist for the club.

Smales joined Forest as Assistant Secretary in 1958, taking over full-time in 1961. The destruction by fire of the Main Stand in August 1968 caused the loss of pretty much the entire historical record of the club that existed at the time, so Ken took on the task of reconstructing the club’s archive.

His various history books and statistical records document the history of the club in a level of detail unmatched to date.

He also has a legacy of some of the most interesting and unique photographs of Forest history – glimpses into the club befitting of an ardent fan and loyal servant. Hopefully his ‘Forest Forays’ site can be revived for the continued enjoyment and pleasure of many.

A keen sportsman, Ken also played cricket for Notts CCC and he holds the unique distinction of being the only Notts bowler ever to take all 10 wickets in an innings (against Gloucester, June 1956).

Like many of my age, I’m one of the fans who grew up reading his column in the matchday programme before each game. His easy writing style and tantalising glimpses into the workings of the club were always interesting, insightful and good humoured.

With a deprecating tone he told, for example, of the time he received a phone call from the Football Association politely enquiring whether or not Forest would actually be participating in that year’s FA Cup Competition, and if so would he please fill in and return the bloody invitation that’s been sat in the ‘in’ tray for rather a while and is due back tomorrow at the latest…

As for the alleged incident that – how shall we put it? – involved the European Cup, a car accident on the way back from a Supporters’ Club photo-opportunity evening, a ditch, a large dent and a European Cup-shaped blanket being taken discretely into a Nottingham goldsmith’s shop and no questions to be asked please the next day…

Ken was Club Secretary throughout virtually the whole of Brian Clough’s involvement with Forest, carefully steering the club through the most incredible time in its history – a cabinet-full of silverware was won on his watch, as well as the signing of the first £1m footballer. (Yes, I know £999,999, but…)

He leaves a loving family and a magnificent legacy in the form of a raft of fabulous insights into the inner workings and numerous books and records about the club that we can cherish for future years.

Farewell, Ken – thank you for a lifetime of effort commitment and loyalty to the club I love. Rest in peace, Sir.

Ken Smales, September 15, 1927 – March 10, 2015

Ken Smales' statistical history of Forest