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By Jonathan Lewis | 23rd Aug 2023

It is fair to say that there were a few eyebrows raised when a purchase option in Chris Wood’s loan move from Newcastle to Nottingham Forest was triggered after just three games.

The Reds parted with £15 million in order to keep a player they had only acquired a few weeks earlier at the City Ground on a full-time basis.

Few questioned the logic behind taking a proven Premier League performer when a January deal was done, but universal support has proved hard to come by on Trentside.

Wood has, however, found himself in similar situations before and boasts enough experience to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to any detractors.


Back to front with every player touching the ball ↔️

This superb team goal against @ManCity has been voted as your #NFFC Goal of the Season 😮‍💨

— Nottingham Forest (@NFFC) June 5, 2023

He is considered to be something of a national hero in his native New Zealand, with there little that he can do wrong in the eyes of his fellow compatriots.

With his loyal fan base Down Under continuing to keep a close eye on his endeavours in Europe, Forest have earned a few more followers from that particular part of the world.

They were able to successfully fend off the threat of relegation out of the Premier League last season, and any New Zealanders expecting Wood and Co to successfully roll the dice again in 2023-24 can do likewise in the comfort of their own home. By taking advantage of a Wildz bonus for NZ that offers access to roulette, blackjack and pokies games aplenty, they can play games of chance as plentiful in the virtual realm as they are in real life.

Forest found a way of hitting their own jackpot last term – despite leaving late before playing a winning hand – but Wood was denied the opportunity to figure as prominently in that quest as he would have liked.

He did, however, record the Reds’ Goal of the Season in a meeting with eventual Treble winners Manchester City that saw Steve Cooper’s side take a surprising point from the Premier League champions-in-waiting.

Wood came up clutch that day, and that is not a word that has often been associated with him. Reliable, yes. Solid, sure. Physical, definitely. Clutch? Not really. For all of his many attributes, the burly frontman has never been cut from the same cloth as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

He was, however, to come up trumps again early in the current campaign when netting a last-minute winner for Forest in a crucial clash with newly-promoted Sheffield United.


Chris Wood’s header was @NFFC‘s latest winning goal in the #PL since Alf Inge Haaland’s goal against Arsenal in December 1996 ⌛

Both were scored in the 89th-minute 🤯

— Premier League (@premierleague) August 18, 2023

Wood stepped off the bench that day to glance home a stooping header in the closing stages, with wild celebrations sparked amongst jubilant supporters on the banks of the River Trent.

Many of those had been quick to write the experienced striker off following his introduction, with questions being asked of whether he is mobile enough to play a leading role in a tactical system that requires everybody to run themselves into the ground.

Wood has shown that he brings different qualities to the table – those which could prove invaluable when operating as an impact option. His transfer fee may have pointed to a more prominent role being taken up, but he did not set that asking price.

Forest have parted with the cash and are now looking for a return. Wood’s first two goals for the club could be considered to have repaid some of the funds and faith invested in him, with his clutch control proving to be most useful, as he seeks to move through the gears and win over any remaining doubters.

Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer

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