Football: Nottingham Forest or the return to the grace of a legendary club

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Double winner of the Champion Clubs’ Cup in the late 1970s, the English club returned to the Premier League after 23 years of purgatory.

Arriving at Nottingham Forest during the season, the Reds manager Steve Cooper did not hide his immense happiness or his emotion as he celebrated his return to the Premier League at Wembley on Sunday.

AFP

On Sunday afternoon, as Lucerne and Schaffhausen battled to secure the last ticket to play in the elite of Swiss football next season, Nottingham Forest and Huddersfield did the same in England. At 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 1-0 the last in a series of play-offs that placed Championship clubs between 3rd and 6th place to guide Fulham and Bournemouth to the top .

200 million euros guaranteed

A duel that is not only sporty, it also has the reputation of being the most lucrative match of the season in Europe. A promotion within the English elite guarantees the lucky winners an amount of around 200 million euros, according to research by accountancy firm Deloitte. In other words, the amount – as much as 350 million – a newly promoted can hope to earn in the three years following his rise, provided he stays at the end of his 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 opportunity by bringing in good players.”

Evangelos Marinakis, the Greek owner of Nottingham Forest

For the youngest, this historic club does not mean much. Or maybe they just remember that Robin Hood built his legend in Nottingham, a city in central England. Logical insofar as Forest had not been part of the English elite for 23 long years. Between 2005 and 2008, the Tricky trees even experienced the real ordeal with three seasons spent in the 3rd division.

The glitzy Brian Clough era

An anomaly long hated by fans who were more used to hitting the higher echelons of English and European football rather than rubbing themselves with modesty follows. Because, for those who don’t remember, Forest was one of the leading clubs on the continent at the end of the 1970s. Under the reign of the unforgettable Brian Clough, he won two European Club Cups champions – the ancestor of the Champions League – in 1979 and 1980. Two victories over Malmö and Hamburg that 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 Europe’s most prestigious trophies more times (twice) than the national championship (in 1978 alone).

At the final whistle, young and old Nottingham Forest supporters unleashed their joy at Wembley on Sunday.

At the final whistle, young and old Nottingham Forest supporters unleashed their joy at Wembley on Sunday.

AFP

A definite success, however, that was long in coming. After a disastrous start to the competition – the team was the penultimate in mid-September – the club’s Greek boss, Evangelos Marinakis, who also owns Olympiakos Piraeus, decides to fire his coach, Chris Hughton, to hire Steve Cooper. to take. A wise choice as the Welshman manages to change the dynamics and gradually bring Forest closer to the first places. However, failing to deprive Bournemouth of this 2nd place, synonymous with immediate promotion by defeat at the site of his rival on the final day of the Championship. A hard blow whose Tricky trees Fortunately, they recovered quickly and well.

Not to make up the numbers

After 23 long years of purgatory, there is no doubt that this Premier League adventure will be just as short as the last. Just twelve months after finding the elite, in 1998, Forest fell into anonymity. A challenge that Evangelos Marinakis says he will take on. “As I said when I arrived here five years ago, the Greek businessman explained shortly after the final whistle, we had to take Nottingham Forest back to where they belonged. But now we want more. Now that we are back in the Premier League, we want to be as high as possible. We have to give the team every opportunity by bringing in good players.”

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