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‘One of my good mates is a massive Bohs fan and he's trying to get in my head’

Chris Forrester gives his pre-cup final thoughts on the back of an impressive season with St Pat’s.

Chris Forrester pictured at a PFAI media event earlier this week.
Chris Forrester pictured at a PFAI media event earlier this week.
Image: Sam Barnes/SPORTSFILE

SUNDAY WILL be Chris Forrester’s third FAI Cup final appearance.

He featured in 2012, as St Pat’s were beaten 3-2 by Derry City after extra-time and also started in 2014, as they overcame the same opposition 2-0.

Can he take anything from these previous encounters?

“Try not to get sick in the toilet again,” he says. “I got sick in the first year, I was very nervous. I didn’t feel nervous but then all of a sudden, I was in the toilet and I ended up getting sick.” 

He continues: “It’s a massive occasion for fans, but once you cross the white line, it’s just another game. You can work on all the tactics throughout the week and try to implement them in the game, but I won’t approach this game [the same way as] back in 2012. I was just thinking: ‘I’m almost going to cruise through it.’ But you have to be concentrated, you have to stay on it for the whole game and I’ll try to pass that message on to the younger boys — that’s the way the game is probably going to go.”

On his 2012 appearance, he adds: “I don’t think I played that well. I got new boots and they weren’t broken into or anything — I think I got blisters and all from it. I was just running on adrenaline in that game.”

While determined to approach it as just another match, Forrester, who started his career at Bohs, admits to enjoying all the build-up and pre-match buzz surrounding the season’s climactic encounter.

“One of my good mates, Lee, is a massive Bohs fan and he’s trying to get in my head, stuff like that. I don’t mind all that, my area is very Bohs orientated, it doesn’t bother me, I am past all that. I am a Pat’s player, I have been for, what, six-seven years. Lee will send me a few voice notes on WhatsApp giving me a bit of abuse but I don’t mind all of that. It’s all good banter but in terms of that connection with Bohs, I don’t feel it anymore, I am a Pat’s man, I will be full out to get Pat’s to win.”

The recent excitement, he believes, is greater compared with Forrester’s two previous Aviva appearances.

“I think there is a lot more media attention on it, through Twitter and stuff. Back then, I was young and I didn’t pay any attention to that, it’s only when you get older you realise it more. I saw 25 or 30,000 tickets have been sold, all that gathers attention, and I think it has the potential to be one of the biggest crowds that have been to an FAI Cup final at the Aviva and hopefully it makes for a good game.”

The Dubliner is out of contract at the end of the current campaign, and he admits to being in dark as to what his next move will be, with no offer on the table yet.

“I will see what happens, try and get a sit-down with the club and sort out a deal there, or whatever, I don’t know. 

“[Stephen O’Donnell and I] were supposed to have a sit-down to speak about it but it was the week the gaffer was sick. That set things back.

“I’m not worried about it. This is cup final week and I’m not interested in contracts or anything. We’ll do the business on Sunday and that will look after itself.

“I’m extremely happy at the club, have a strong connection with the fans and the backroom staff. I’m enjoying my football. The direction the club is going in is where I want to be. I’d be one of the main lads in that.”

In between two Saints stints, Forrester spent a couple of seasons across the water with Peterborough United and Aberdeen. And while not ruling it out completely, the Dubliner suggests another move away from Ireland is unlikely.

“I don’t think anyone would want to take me at this stage. I’m a bit older, aren’t I? Ah no, I’m 29 next month. The legs are gone. No, I’m only messing.

“I don’t have any interest in going away, I’m happy being back home. I’m settled in my family situation. I’d be open to it, but it’s not at the front of my thinking.”

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Although Forrester does not believe this season has been the best of his career, it is certainly his most impressive since returning home, as indicated by confirmation of his PFAI Player of the Year nomination earlier this week after helping the club to a second-place finish in the Premier Division.

By his admission, he struggled to get going initially, after re-signing with Pat’s in 2019 and credits manager Stephen O’Donnell for his improved performances this year.

“It’s a good opportunity to shut a lot of people up because they have been doubting me and rightly so, as I was playing fairly poorly for the last two years, since before the gaffer came in. A lot of people have had that opinion of me and have not seen me recently.

“I’ve got that fire in my belly to say I’m still a good player, not that I have to prove anything to them, but shove it in their face. If I have a game or have a season as I’ve had, it kind of shuts them up. You’ll always have doubters, the haters are the motivators.

“I think you can get good motivation from it to say: ‘Do you know what? I’m going to shut him up, or this person, this journalist or whoever.’” 

And do these taunts often come from opposition players?

“The occasional one you would. And some of them would stick, you’d lose the head for a few minutes. I don’t tend to dwell on comments. It’s more just, yeah clock it, put it in the back of your head and go prove that he’s wrong, or she’s wrong, that they are wrong about me. A couple of players said it to me this season, had a little bit of a dispute with some of them, one player for Bohs, so we’ll see how that goes.

“I remember one game, he was like: ‘He used to somebody, now he’s not.’ I’d say stuff like that to him to get into his head. It doesn’t bother me, I don’t care what anyone says. I do for a minute and then it’s gone.”

About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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