IIn the summer before the Premier League season opened, in 1992, Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough spent the money on just two new players. They paid £800,000 to bring Neil Webb back from Manchester United and gave Coventry City about half that amount to Robert Rosario, bringing their total spending to £1.2m. Thirty years later, Forrest broke the Premier League record for the number of signings in the window, He brought in 22 players for 146 million pounds this summer.
Forrest fans have waited 23 years to return to the top flight, and their joy was not limited to when they sealed the promotion by defeating Huddersfield Town in the championship final. The victory parade in the city’s Old Market Square drew thousands of fans as players joined coach Steve Cooper and owner Evangelos Marinakis on the balcony of the council’s offices the day after their victory at Wembley. To host that celebration, comedian Matt FordyThe positivity has not diminished.
“There is still a pervasive sense of euphoria, even after two recent defeats,” says Forde. Get promoted to Premier League It was like a bullet of pure adrenaline. Given that we’ve had pretty bad starts the past few seasons in the tournament, the level of tension is minimal by comparison. Indeed, Forrest’s start to the Premier League season has been better than it has been in any of his last two seasons in the tournament, when the team started with four defeats in a row.
Inevitably, many of the players who joined Ford at those festivities in May have since left the club. Twenty-three players left Forest this summer, either joining new clubs on a permanent basis or out on loan. There’s always been a great turnover of players, but how do the fans feel about changing the team so drastically?
Some changes were out of the club’s control. Cooper had to replace players who joined Forest on loan last season, such as Jed Spence, Philip Zinkernagel and James Garner. “We’ve also accepted that there has to be a promotion for the current team,” says Forde. “For example, Bryce Samba, who was such a big figure and performed tournaments in the semi-finals, was replaced by a better goalkeeper in Dean Henderson. He definitely built a strong bond with the fans.” Henderson has already proven his worth, saving on penalties from Declan Rice and Harry Kane.
says Rich Ferraro, host of 1865 podcast. “Including several players, like Brian Ojeda and Jonathan Banzo who were brought in hoping we would still be in the tournament this season, so they were out on loan. We had two months to prepare for the Premier League, which was completely unexpected.”
Ferraro notes that Marinakis has not shied away from the challenge of reviving the team. In the five years he owned the club, Forrest brought in nearly 80 players. The owner was very upbeat as he addressed the crowd at the victory parade, but some fans were a bit wary when they heard the Greek media mogul’s lofty ambitions, as a football journalist. Daniel Story explains. “He stood on the steps of the council offices and talked about thriving in the Premier League rather than surviving, which was probably a bit ahead of our expectations. It is more likely that we will have a relegation battle. At the moment, I would lose your hand if you give me 17th and carry on. Goal difference.
Fans are desperate for success, but Story feels they should show more loyalty to the players who helped the club get a promotion. When Fajr Forest advances with two goals In their home game against Bournemouth last month, there were shouts of indignation aimed at some of the players who put in a particularly impressive performance at Forest last season. Steve Cook, Scott McKenna and Joe Worrall aren’t the fastest linebackers but Storey thinks fans should cut some slack. Ford agrees, saying, “Negative online chat is not helpful. Ryan Yates has been flagged as not being good enough but he was instrumental in the success of last season.”
“Players like Yates and Worrall deserve better treatment,” Ferraro says. “They should be rewarded for all their efforts over the past few seasons with the opportunity to play in the top flight.” As for the newcomers, he says they just have to work hard to establish a relationship with fans. “As long as these players are doing everything they can, we will accept them relatively quickly. Neco Williams has been a shining example of opening matches, by giving his all in every match.”
A radical change of team is a bold move, with Marinakis’ son Miltiadis playing a key role in bringing fresh blood in. It may sound harsh on outgoing players, but a fan survey conducted by the Nottingham Post in early August showed that 86% were happy with the transfers and 88% were “on board with the owners”. Challenge may come when results don’t go their way.
Forrest was at the bottom of the championship when Cooper took over a year ago, and they’ve been on an upward trajectory ever since, but, as Ferraro points out, the test will come when the team goes on a bad run and he has to keep their confidence and morale up. . “He has instilled such a good mentality in these players but the big question now is how to deal with a series of defeats and a decline in confidence?”
Fordy is confident the players will follow the trend they set last season and move up the table. “As fans we have to realize that it takes time to sleep with new players,” he says. “We are heading in the right direction. By the end of the season, we will be one of the clubs in the Premier League.”
However, Storey worries that the owners could panic and fire Cooper if Forrest is still near the bottom of the table when the Premier League takes a World Cup break in November. Bournemouth, who was promoted along with Forrest, has He already sacked the manager who took care of them. The fear is that after a year on Cooper’s arrival and sparking a remarkable resurrection at the club, he could follow many of the players who helped the club climb outside the exit door. Either way, Forest fans hope this season doesn’t end the way the 1992-93 season ended in relegation.