Leicester Road FC complete their pre-season with a special memorial game versus a Nottingham Forest XI to honour Midlands coaching great John Perkins.
Rather appropriately, LRFC welcome Forest U23s on Tuesday 30th July – kick off 7.30pm – for The John Perkins Memorial Trophy – as that’s where it all started professionally for the man known simply as ‘JP’.
The match has been organised by Leicester Road FC manager Neil Lyne, who as a young semi-pro player with Leicester United also signed for Nottingham Forest with John Perkins in 1989 (when Brian Clough first recognised Perkins’ unique coaching talents) and remained a very close friend.
Perkins spent almost ten highly successful years at the City Ground from 1989 to 1998, having been brought in by Clough from non-league football in Leicestershire to take charge of the Reds reserves, U21s and then the U18 youth team.
A NFFC spokesperson says: “Nottingham Forest is really honoured to take part in this John Perkins Memorial Trophy game. John’s legacy, not just at Nottingham Forest but in the football community as a whole, speaks for itself – and we are delighted to be part of this special commemorative match in his memory. His involvement and achievements in encouraging the next generation of talent is to be admired and it’s fantastic that we can be involved in an event that pays tribute to him and all that he stands for.”
Neil Lyne adds: “I’m delighted because in this third year of Memorial games it’s fitting and apt that we now get to entertain Nottingham Forest for the first time. Looking back it was during that exciting 1989-90 period that Brian Clough was to recruit lots of young Under-21 players like Roy Keane, Ian Woan, Gary Bowyer, Tony Loughlan and myself, who all came into the club under the initial and expert guidance of JP.”
Another Forest great Nigel Clough says of Perkins: “Having known John from the 1980s when he was at Forest, he was a football man through and through – working closely with the youngsters, coaching them and bringing them on. What was special about John was that he wasn’t just great about bringing them on in football, but also as people as well. He was very big on the character of the players and he is sorely missed in the Midlands in youth football.
“He had a great personality and we took him into Derby as Academy Manager as well when we first went there. My Dad thought very highly of him and he didn’t appoint people lightly. I recall the story was that Forest played Leicester United in a friendly and then took two of their best players – and Dad was so impressed with the manager that he took him as well and JP was youth team boss at Forest for many great years after that.”
Perkins was also a senior academy coach at Stoke City when he died (aged just 69 after a short illness) in October 2016 – and earlier this month Leicester Road were edged 1-0 by their U23s in an initial remembrance game.
In total, Perkins spent 26 years working in professional youth football, in various different roles, and held all the top coaching qualifications, including the UEFA ‘A’ Licence. Apart from Forest, Stoke and Derby he also coached at Wolves and Portsmouth.