Cohen was an old-fashioned footballer. Kept off social media, managed by his Dad and kept his nose so clean his shirt should have been sponsored by Kleenex. Intelligent, articulate and unflappable. He took on every obstacle in his way with the same quiet determination. He was also highly respected amongst his team mates. He was the one you always heard cited by his peers as ‘the best’ which, in a game where people like to avoid these sorts of comments, is something they obviously considered uncontroversial. These characteristics should all serve him well if he’s able to make the step into management he now aspires to. I always felt Stuart Pearce lost everything that made him special when he went into management. Chris Cohen won’t need to. From the little we saw with the U23s at the end of the season he looks very at home on the touchline. We can only hope we might be the beneficiaries of his talents if he does make the grade. He seems the sort who would serve a long apprenticeship so who knows? It would be nice if Forest could start to develop an academy for managers and coaches as successful as players with Cohen as a trailblazer.
The irony is Cohen will be loved as much for what he has done whilst off the pitch as he managed when he was on it. Whilst we have scratched our heads about some injuries the three ACLs he wore through and rebuilt took him into territories very few professionals ever get to let alone recover from. I’ve had both my ACLs go and even if you technically get everything back physically you cannot underestimate the mental side. When yours goes you’ll find out, you’ll also discover how common an injury it is but for a pro to suffer it three times in such quick succession… Cohen did lack the luck anyone could expect to take for granted. He didn’t give 100%, he gave the full 150% and was still trying to come back even when it was obvious he wasn’t physically able to get close enough to the level he needed to perform in The Championship any longer. He never moaned, just got his head down with the hope he could get back out there - just as much as any fan would dream to be able to. We could all relate to him.
He was also a great ambassador for the club. Whenever there was ‘community’ work to be done Captain Chris was leading his team. I’ve heard from many how generous he has been with his time. Young Tyler Cove’s first choice for a t-shirt was his friend Chris.
We were very lucky to have had such a good footballer as Cohen at Forest. We were even luckier to have a man of his class. Hopefully we will be even luckier and benefit from his skills in developing new players, coaching and maybe even managing the club one day. Maybe the unfortunate truth is Forest had all the luck from the jar with regards to Chris Cohen. All that was left for him was the bad luck. However something tells me he’s not the sort to be bitter about it either.