Nottingham's sheriff triumphs over Robin Hood


IT took 800 years but the Sheriff of Nottingham is finally triumphing over legendary outlaw Robin Hood champion of the poor.

The sheriff of 1996 has decreed the swashbuckling image of England's most famous bandit is outdated for a modern city.

"The legend of Robin Hood is of a person with a soul and a civic conscience, a man who robbed the rich to give to the poor. That is rather out of fashion these days," said Mr Roy Greensmith.

Local businessmen believe Robin Hood and his Merry Men are the wrong image for a city projecting itself as more engaged in technological revolution than the art of archery.

Four advertising agencies have been invited by Nottingham First, a consortium of businessmen, to design a new symbol for the city that will present a less "hostile" image to potential investors.

"(Ice skaters) Torvill and Dean, Nottingham Forest and Brian Clough are more popular here," said Mr Greensmith. Mr Clough was the most successful manager of premier league soccer team Forest.

Being sheriff is no longer a royal appointment but one held by a city councillor. Mr Greensmith, a former railway man, may on ceremonial occasions put on the garb of the much maligned 12th century sheriff and sport a bejewelled dagger.

If Robin Hood and his re distributive ways are no longer an image of Nottingham that businesses wish to highlight, he still draws 1.5 million tourists each year and the Labour Council intends to burnish his memory for the sake of the tourist sector.

"Robin is right for the tourism and the city as a whole. But if the consortium of businesses wish to cultivate a more modern image alongside Robin, the council will support them," said Mr Tim Jones of the council's corporate affairs department.

Robin Hood is said to have lived as a rebel in Sherwood Forest during the reign of King Richard I. At least 50 films have been made on his exploits, the city has an indoor theme park and tourists visit the remaining 400 acres of Sherwoood Forest's oak trees.