Well, it is officially that time, the premier league is back, and so are Nottingham Forest, who return to the world’s most popular & prestigious league following a not-so-brief 23 year absence. After a high-flying season, the reds return to the promised land.
Of course, all are excited, but there is no denying that these next 10 or so months will be perhaps the biggest challenge in Nottingham Forest’s 157 year history. In the face of this challenge stands the owner, Evangelos Marinakis, who so far has overseen five years at the club, and in just this season alone over £80M in investments into the squad. Alongside him, Steve Cooper, his team and the recruitment team – all of whom are choosing who to bring in, and putting a starting XI on the pitch every week that they believe will win even the toughest of games.
Steve Cooper, a former Liverpool academy coach, Swansea manager, and winner of the England u17’s world cup (as a manager) now finds himself in what can possibly be described as the most difficult and in some aspects complex challenge of his life – keep Nottingham Forest in the premier league, and keep the journey in the league alive for the foreseeable future – something of which few teams have tried and been successful, and many have failed, with some never reaching that standard of football again.
Now, the first of typically around 38 games is just around the corner – Newcastle United vs Nottingham Forest, in front of over 50,000 nervous yet excited toon and trees fans. The 6th of August, now a date etched in the minds of the hundreds of thousands of Nottingham Forest fans around the world, a date which starts a new era for the famous club. The two clubs have met 112 times in history, with Newcastle winning 51 of those, and Nottingham Forest winning 34 of those – 27 draws between the two teams also occurred.
It must be said, you cannot compare the two in terms of transfer windows – Newcastle United now an established premier league under the helm of Eddie Howe and their new owners, and although they haven’t brought in too many players this window, and perhaps spent less than people expected, the northern side are still in the market for more players ahead of the summer windows closure.
So far in this transfer window, Newcastle have completed the signings of Nick Pope, Sven Botman and Matt Targett, all of whom cost the Toon a combined fee of £59.40m.
Whereas for Nottingham Forest, the challenge of building a team of good players, and making them work together correctly is a huge obstacle – Newcastle have years of experience on the Reds when it comes to recent premier league seasons, and do not have to worry all too much about establishing themselves as a premier league side.
That being said, Forest have not been slow in the transfer window as mentioned below. Earlier in the week, Steve Cooper was interviewed and stated that it was “impossible” to keep the loanees that helped bring them back to the premier league, making it more difficult to mould the team, but even in the face of such a challenge, Steve Cooper has said that him, the team and the club “do not fear” the premier league.
Nottingham Forest have spent roughly £85.28m on 12 players: Neco Williams, Giulian Biancone, Dean Henderson, Orel Mangala, Jesse Lingard, Moussa Niakhate, Brandon Aguilera, Omar Richards, Harry Toffolo, Lewis O’Brien, Taiwo Awoniyi and Wayne Hennesey.
All this being said, it is not all about who has spent, but who outperforms who on the day, and although it will be a difficult day for both sides, I can see a draw between the two playing out. By no means is this an easy clash to predict the outcome of, but for me it will end 1-1, with Saint-Maxim scoring for Newcastle United, and Brennan Johnson scoring for Nottingham Forest.
This campaign will be tough, but as we saw last season, nothing is impossible in football, and everything is to play for. Enjoy the ‘ride’, sing until you can sing no more, and keep wearing the Garibaldi with pride.
*Article provided by Jamie Martin (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).
*Main image @NUFC St James Park will be sold out for the return of Premier League football.