What got me thinking about Irving is that we have all been so excited by the promise and potential in Roger Riera largely because of where we are getting him from. It’s not always the case that someone from a top sides youth side can make the step up to professional football and succeed. Not I'm saying Riera won’t, just preaching caution.
Richard Irving signed from Manchester United in 1995. At United he had had a glorious record at reserve and youth level, scoring lots of goals. So when he signed for us for £75,000, which admittedly is fairly inexpensive, even in those days. Back then it was obvious he wouldn't break through, but it was frequently said to Forest fans that he was top goal scorer for United's reserve team. He was from the famous class of 92', which such luminaries as the Neville's, Butt, Scholes, Beckham etc.
Irving would in fact only ever make one sub appearance for the Reds. During the 95-96 season. That season was the year we reached the UEFA Cup Quarter Finals. We finished in mid table in the Premier League, and we were still quite good. Irving appeared as we say in one game; it was notable because it was against Manchester United.
He came on a sub in that game, and as said it was his only performance, but there was a weird sort of expectation in the crowd that maybe something was written in the stars for this guy to score. And he had a golden opportunity to immediately create folklore with pretty much his first touch, albeit with his head. Bear in mind he came on at 87 minutes for Bobby Howe, in a game we were drawing and chasing. Things seemed so good back then. Considering we started with McGregor on the field. Without knowing for sure all our other striking options, (Roy, Campbell….erm …Silenzi) were probably injured. So it was his big chance. And his only chance. What might have been…
Heres the highlights of the game. Irvings chance is right at the end.
Forest v Man Utd 1995
After Forest he went to Macclesfield, where he hardly starred before falling out of the game. He is according to Wikipedia anyway, now a Commercial Airline Pilot. So he must be doing alright for himself.