May 30, 2023

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The Belgian in Nottingham Forest: 'The commotion was huge, 50,000 people came to celebrate' |  Premier League

The Belgian in Nottingham Forest: ‘The commotion was huge, 50,000 people came to celebrate’ | Premier League

The mood in Nottingham after the promotion final was cheerful. “The promotion here has been celebrated in a big way,” says Tom Neggs, the club’s part-time hospitality director. “On Monday there was a parade of players all over town and if I had to guess, I think there were 50,000 people.”

Tom laughs: “The stadium is a bit old, but it seats 30,000 and all of its contents have always sold out in recent months. There has been a lot of hype. Nottingham has been close a few times, but it’s also quite far a few times.” . “So he was alive that he might actually succeed this time.”

“The people who come to watch are really from Nottingham itself. It’s a young city with two universities, so they can attract more people, but they shouldn’t. The club is part of the local culture here.”

“The atmosphere in the stadium is also great, especially in the recent months. What makes Nottingham special are those field storms at the end of the season. The club has some tradition in that, but in the meantime it has spread to other stadiums.”

“It happened again in the last home game against Sheffield United. We were looking at the boxes and this field was completely full in a few minutes.”

As hospitality manager, Nijs has nothing to say about the sport, but of course he follows the club closely. “People forget sometimes now, but last season was an absolute disaster. And that streak continued. We got one point after 7 games. It was hopeless again.”

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“And then a number of changes were made, which immediately turned out to be an attraction. For example, a new coach came in and a number of reinforcements came in the winter. And suddenly everything collapsed.”

The new coach is named Steve Cooper. Why are those so special? “He is good at playing on the sensitive things not only for the players but also for the fans. In Nottingham there is the present and the past. Everyone knows the past and the fans are incredibly proud of him, but Cooper can do and there is obviously a future attached to him as well. He starts from tradition. But he also says they can move on.”

“His system, 3-4-3, is also very well known and he’s an excellent people manager.”

Finally, there is also some capital behind the club. The owner is Greek: Evangelos Marinakis. “I’ve never seen or met him in person before, but he’s a very brilliant guy. He also has a son who is passionate about it. Incidentally, he owns Olympiacos too.”

“He has already said before the final that he will invest seriously in the team. There is also a file to expand the stadium on the table. Everyone knows that Forest should not become a yo-yo club. Without the necessary changes and the necessary investments it will not work.”