Arrivé en cours de saison à Nottingham Forest, le manager des Reds, Steve Cooper, n’a caché ni son immense bonheur ni son émotion au moment de fêter ce retour en Premier League, dimanche à Wembley.

Football: Nottingham Forest or the return of a legendary club

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Two-time Champion Clubs’ Cup winners in the late 1970s, the English club returned to the Premier League after 23 years of purgatory.

Reds manager Steve Cooper, who arrived at Nottingham Forest mid-season, did not hide his great joy or emotion as he celebrated his return to the Premier League at Wembley on Sunday.

AFP

While Lucerne and Schaffhausen battled Sunday afternoon for the last ticket to play in Swiss football’s elite next season, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield did the same in England. In Wembley, in front of more than 80,000 spectators, the other Red took the opportunity to sign their return to the Premier League after winning the latest in a series of play-offs 1-0 in which Championship clubs were pitted between places 3 and 6 to see Fulham and Bournemouth in to accompany the leading group.

200 million euros guaranteed

Not just a sporting duel that also has the reputation of being the most lucrative match of the season in Europe. According to a study by the auditing company Deloitte, promotion to the English elite guarantees the lucky winners around 200 million euros. Either the sum – which can even climb as high as 350 million – that a promoted hopes to earn in the three years following promotion, provided they stay at the end of their first season.

“Now that we are back in the Premier League we want to be as high as possible. We have to give the team every chance by bringing in good players.”

Evangelos Marinakis, the Greek owner of Nottingham Forest

For the youngest, this historic club doesn’t mean much. Or maybe they just remember that Robin Hood built his legend right in Nottingham, a city in central England. Logical insofar as Forest was no longer part of the English elite for 23 years. Between 2005 and 2008 the Tricky Trees even experienced the real ordeal with three seasons in the 3rd division.

The Glitter Era by Brian Clough

An anomaly that has long irked fans more used to visiting the upper echelons of English and European football than meeting humble ones. Because, for those who don’t remember, Forest were one of the continent’s leading clubs in the late 1970s. Under the reign of the unforgettable Brian Clough, he won two European Club Cup champions – the ancestor of the Champions League – in 1979 and 1980. Two wins against Malmö and Hamburg, which also show how much the hierarchy of football has changed in forty years.

In fact, Nottingham Forest is the unique example of a team that has won the most prestigious of European trophies more times (twice) than their national championship (1978 alone).

Nottingham Forest fans young and old erupted in celebration at the final whistle at Wembley on Sunday.

Nottingham Forest fans young and old erupted in celebration at the final whistle at Wembley on Sunday.

AFP

A final success, which, however, was a long time coming. After a disastrous start to the league – the team were penultimate in mid-September – the club’s Greek boss Evangelos Marinakis, who also owns Olympiacos Piraeus, decides to sack his manager Chris Hughton in favor of signing Steve Cooper. A wise choice as the Welshman manages to change the dynamic and progressively bring Forest closer to the top spots. However, without managing to snatch that 2nd place from Bournemouth, tantamount to direct promotion, due to a defeat on the ground of their rival on the last day of the championship. A hard hit of Tricky Trees Fortunately, they recovered quickly and well.

Not to invent the numbers

After those 23 long years of purgatory, there’s no question that this Premier League adventure will be as short as the last. Just 12 months after finding the elite in 1998, Forest was already falling into anonymity. A challenge that Evangelos Marinakis accepts. “Like I said when I first arrived here five years ago,” the Greek businessman said shortly after the final whistle, we needed to put Nottingham Forest back where they belong. But now we want more. Now that we’re back in the Premier League, we want to be as high as possible. We have to give the team every chance by bringing in good players.”


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