Derby day brings back memories for ex Nottingham Forest star Guy Moussi

editorial image

Derby County v Nottingham Forest is just days away.

So, who better to talk us through fixtures past and present but the one and only Guy Moussi?

I caught up with the Moose for an exclusive interview where he takes you into the heart of the midfield of the East Midlands derby.

I asked him if he was aware of the magnitude of the fixture when he arrived from Angers in France?

“I didn’t know that much about it before I arrived, or Forest for that matter, but my parents explained that it was a big club who’d won the Champions League twice,” he said.

“The supporters soon told me that Forest v Derby is massive, and I had to win this game.”

Moussi laughed hysterically when he told me the next part of the instruction.

He smiled: “They also said that I had to kick and foul Kris Commons at every opportunity; I just thought, what is going on here?”

As a lifelong NFFC supporter, I’m well aware of the tension and fervour created by this fixture, but I’ve often wondered what the build up is like for the players themselves.

Moussi said: “At first, being so young and new to the English game, I didn’t think too much about it if I’m honest, but I soon realised how special this was.”

He then embellished a little on the gamesmanship between the rival players. Saying: “One time, one of the Derby players sent a little present to our training ground addressed to Nathan Tyson, in response to his flag waving at the previous home match.”

Guy smiled as he revealed the name of the sender as Mr Robbie Savage.

Which brought us beautifully onto the subject of the Welshman and the reputation he upheld.

I asked Moussi if he was aware of Robbie’s onfield antics and if he had special plans for him on match day - his response was brilliant and emanated true professionalism.

“I hadn’t heard too much about him because I was always playing football and not often watching it, to be honest,” he said.

“I wasn’t focussed on Robbie Savage. I just knew that I had to win my battle, that’s all.”

Many wax lyrical over the away victory in 2015, under the management of Stuart Pearce but for me the 2011 win in the same stadium was just as impressive.

Moussi smashed through two consecutive tackles and almost laid on an opening goal within the first 10 seconds of that match - a game that saw his dejected opposition number Robbie Savage substituted after just 54 minutes.

Moussi remembered the game well but once again surprised me with the Nottingham Forest players’ approach to the contest.

“The team were so focused on getting promoted that we ignored the fact that the opposition was Derby,” he said.

“We had momentum and the bigger goal was getting another three points.”

As for the manner in which the Moose started the game, he added: “I won the very first battles and we moved on from there.”

Before we began the preview for next Monday’s game, I thought it remiss not to ask Guy Moussi about Derby County’s interest in signing him.

“Derby and Ipswich tried to sign me, but I could never play for another Championship side against Forest,” he said.

“I had a great connection with the fans and the club itself, from the groundsman to the catering staff. I’ve never been motivated by money and if I’d made the choice to leave, I’d have regretted it.”

So to Monday and Moussi told me that he’d love to see players like Guedioura, Osborn and Lolley do well for varying reasons. He also stressed the importance of fielding a fit again Michael Dawson too.

I asked him how important it was to win the midfield battle?

“I think the midfield battle will dictate the game, it will come down to which team is hungrier,” he said.

“I believe in our manager and I back him to pick the right players to handle this battle.

“It’s going to be a fighting game, this is the game to put the soldiers on the field. You must win these battles before you start to play the football.”

When asked for a score prediction Moussi didn’t sit on the fence.

“I think 1-0 to Forest, Aitor will have us solid and then we’ll nick a goal,” he said.

“Either a rocket from Adlene (Guedioura) or some magic from Lolley is what I’m hoping for.”

He stuck by his early season prediction of Forest finishing fourth but hinted that the best is yet to come, saying: “If we hit top form in January and February we can go higher still.”

So, what is Guy Moussi up to since retiring from the professional game?

He has been working tirelessly alongside doctors, professors, Lawyers and specialist injury clinics to develop a ground-breaking rehabilitation kit, which works on the principle of blood flow restriction.

It’s an amazing piece of technology that is scientifically proven to reduce injury periods and increase strength whilst carrying lighter loads.

“I honestly believe that Chris Cohen could have played on had this been available to him at the time,” said Moussi.

Three Championship clubs are already using it as well as one in Scotland and possibly some top European clubs and Universities too.

Moussi’s device is called the MAD-UP machine and can be found on the following Twitter handle, @MADUP_Training

It was an absolute honour to talk all things Forest v Derby with the Moose and I was massively surprised by his footballing ethos.

His professionalism and methodical insight into the beautiful game was a world away from the swashbuckling bravado I’d expected.

For a man who struck the fear of God into his opponents, I’m can honestly say that Guy Moussi is without doubt, the most pleasant human being I’ve ever met.