More importantly, they have been crowned champions of Europe twice, that too in consecutive years. To put that stat into context, they are at par in terms of continental success with European giants like London’s Chelsea and Turin’s Juventus.

Traditional English giants Arsenal are yet to touch the trophy while state-owned clubs like Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also failed to claim supremacy in European football. They are also the second English club after Liverpool to win the trophy in consecutive seasons.

The name of the club is Nottingham Forest, the original “All Reds” in English Football.

The ‘Red’ connection

The red jersey and shorts with the mythical liver bird stitched on them have become synonymous with Liverpool. Imagining them in wearing any other jerseys when playing at the Anfield won’t sit right with their legions of fans.

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But Liverpool were not always red. Liverpool’s first jersey, which they wore for four years after coming into existence in 1892, was a blue shirt with white shorts. After that, they started wearing red shirts but the shorts stayed the same for a long time.

Liverpool became “All Reds” for the first time on 24 November 1964. Liverpool’s then manager Bill Shankly felt his team needs to add more red to their ensemble to seem “more dangerous” to their opponents.

So, before their second leg match of the European Cup against Belgian club Anderlecht at Anfield, he brought in the red shorts for his players. Liverpool won that game 3-0 and since then, they have retained their “All Reds” ensemble.

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Unlike Liverpool, Nottingham have always been “All Reds”. The club was established in Nottingham, England in 1865. From the very start, the founders decided that their players will play wearing ‘Garibaldi Red’ jerseys, named after Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Garibaldi. Since then, the Nottingham have always worn red in their home jerseys.

Tussle with Liverpool

The connection between the two clubs doesn’t end in the colour of their jerseys. Nottingham reached the heights of European football in the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons under their legendary manager Brian Clough.

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Nottingham’s golden run coincided with the peak of Liverpool. Before Clough’s men ruled Europe for consecutive seasons, it was Paisely’s Liverpool at the pinnacle of European club football for two straight seasons. Nottingham’s rein was also brought to a close by Liverpool.

Liverpool were also dominating at home at the time, winning the league five out of the four times from 1976-1980. The only year they failed to bag the trophy was in 1978, when Nottingham won its first and so far only English Premier League title, which was then called First Division Football League.

Fall from grace

Nottingham’s golden days faded away soon, with them winning domestic titles, but not reaching the previous heights of Europe. The 90s was a tumultuous decade for the club, getting relegated twice, to clawing their way back into the premier division to finally getting demoted a third time in 1999.

Nottingham stayed at League one, the second division of English football, for four seasons before getting relegated to the third division where they stayed for another four years. The club’s financial situation was getting worse and the traditional giant was at risk of slowly fading away into obscurity.

But the “All Reds” from Nottingham kept fighting. In 2008, they once again returned to League one. From there, they had to fight for another 14 years before finally winning their place back to the English Premier League.

The second coming

Under coach Steve Cooper, Nottingham defeated Huddersfield Town 1-0 in their playoff game at the iconic Wembley Stadium to win their ticket to the top flight.

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Nottingham played the very first match of the Premier League era of English football. They lost that game against Arsenal and suffered the first of their three relegations in the decade that very season.

The Premier League era, which began in 1992, hasn’t been kind to Nottingham. But after a long exile from the top flight, Nottingham Forest are once again ready to compete against the very best England has to offer. Will their return be brief or will it be the beginning of the second coming of a club with great heritage, only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, that next season two “All Reds” will play at the Premier League.

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