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NOTTINGHAM FOREST’S Steve Cook was on the pitch when his dad suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands last season.

It was the penultimate game of the Championship campaign. Cook was back at his beloved Bournemouth, where a win for the hosts would secure them top-flight football.

3Forest defender Steve Cook says he used his father's situation as 'motivation' for a successful final push for promotion to the Premier LeagueCredit: Getty 3Ex-Bournemouth star Steve Cook is ready for another go at the top flightCredit: Getty

Forest needed a victory to stay in the hunt for an automatic promotion spot but things were not quite right in the warm-up at the Vitality Stadium.

Former Cherries defender Cook said: “It was a big game for me, going back to Bournemouth and having a chance to nick automatic promotion from them.

“We knew something had happened in the crowd. I had no idea it was my dad, Richard, though, so it was a bit of a strange one.

“I got subbed late on and that’s when I was told, ‘Look, something has happened’. I knew it would be involving my dad.

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"After that it was more of a panic, trying to get down to Bournemouth hospital and getting to grips with what had happened.

“My dad had just been through a near-death experience. It was a massive shock. It probably didn’t sink in until I left the hospital. You just go into autopilot.”

Cook later found out an off-duty nurse called Abigail performed life-saving treatment on his dad in the stands before paramedics arrived.

For many, this sort of traumatic experience would make football irrelevant — and no one would have blamed Cook had he decided to end his season there and then.

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But the 31-year-old only missed the final day against Hull before returning for the play-off semi-final and final.

He even scored a penalty in the shootout against Sheffield United in the second leg of their semi, less than two weeks after his dad collapsed.

Cook said: “I used it as a motivation to try and get back to the Premier League. It was also for my dad, too.

“That emotion came out when we won the semi-final on penalties. My dad received such good treatment, he was in a good place, so it allowed me to focus on what I needed to do.

“So I will be eternally grateful. Without them, who knows what would have happened.

3Steve Cook is up for the challenge of taking on elite strikersCredit: Alamy

“My dad couldn’t come to the games, or final, but I know he was watching at home and was proud.”

Cook may be focusing on Forest’s return to the big time after 23 years, but there is still time to be thankful.

He is working alongside McDonald’s Grassroots Football to hail volunteers and surprised Forest fan and Sunday League coach Joshua Warwick, 18, with an award for using a defibrillator to help a player at his local pitches.

Cook added: “No one in their right mind expects to save a life or be put in that situation — and to do it at that age is amazing.

“It made me think of my dad and makes you grateful for these people. They are the unsung heroes.”

We have a lot of players who have never played in the top flight. That can make us more ambitious to prove people wrong. We can be a real force.

Steve Cook

Cook only joined Forest in January having ended his ten-year spell with Bournemouth but he is already a fan favourite at the City Ground ahead of today’s Prem opener at Newcastle.

He said: “To have the honour of playing back in the Premier League with Forest, we know what is expected. We’re up against it.

“Now it is down to the players to repay the owners’ backing by staying in this division for many years to come.”

Having played in five successive top-flight campaigns on the south coast, Cook will try to be the wise old head.

He added: “We have a lot of players who have never played in the top flight.

“That can make us more ambitious to prove people wrong. We can be a real force in the league.”

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Tags: championship football premier league a cardiac arrest to the premier league what to know to bournemouth in the stands steve cook had happened in the crowd

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Puzzles & Games | Bridge: Aug. 11, 2022

My friend the English professor had cut Cy the Cynic in my club’s penny game.

“My students define a synonym as a word you use when you can’t spell the first word you thought of,” the prof told me. “Cy plays the dummy the opposite way: He adopts the first line of play he sees.”

At six spades, Cy took the king of clubs, drew trumps and tried a diamond to his queen. West won and returned a diamond, and East got a diamond.

“I know some synonyms for incompetence,” the prof growled.


Cy should cash the ace of hearts at Trick Two, draw trumps, take two more clubs and lead dummy’s queen of hearts. If East played low, Cy would pitch a diamond; West would be end-played if he won.

When East covers the queen of hearts, Cy ruffs, leads a trump to dummy and returns a diamond. If East played low, Cy could play the eight to end-play West. If instead East plays the jack, Cy takes the ace, leads a trump to dummy and tries a diamond to his queen. West wins but is end-played.


You hold: S K 10 8 7 2 H Q 8 D 5 4 2 C A J 6. The dealer, at your left, opens one diamond. Your partner doubles. The next player bids three diamonds. What do you say?

ANSWER: Your opponent’s three diamonds is obstructive. He wants to make it hard for you to bid accurately. Jump to four spades. If partner has only A653,AJ76,3,K872, you may win 12 tricks. You would bid three spades if your king were a low spade.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K 10 8 7 2

H Q 8

D 5 4 2

C A J 6


S 6 3

H J 9 7 6 3

D K 6

C 10 9 8 7


S None

H K 10 5 4 2

D J 10 9 7 3

C 5 4 2


S A Q J 9 5 4


D A Q 8

C K Q 3

South West North East
2C Pass 2D Pass
2S Pass 3S Pass
4D Pass 5C Pass
6S All Pass
Opening lead — C 10

©2022 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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