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The fall of Nottingham Forest

By Harry Woodward

Nottingham Forest were once Champions of England and then kings of Europe, winning the European cup back-to-back in 1979 and then 1980 under the successful tenure of Brian Clough. Now the club is operating in the second division of the English leagues and the club will inevitably have its 14th season in a row competing in the championship with no sign of progressing out of the league back into the Premier league.

So, what contributed to the fall of Nottingham forest? The first significant phase that contributed to the fall of Forest was their first relegation in 1993. This relegation was significant to their fall as it proclaimed the end of an era for Brian Clough, whom was manager of Nottingham Forest for 18 years and winning one league title, two European cups and four league cups during his tenure at the club. Since the resignation of Brian Clough, Nottingham Forest have been unable to find a Manager that would give the club success in terms of trophies as well as competent league positions. This is prominent in the last ten years where Forest have had 17 permanent managers since the 2010/11 season. The closest manager to reiterate any success for Forest was Frank Clark who guided Forest to a 3rd place finish in the Premier League during the 1994/95 campaign. This has caused a significance to the downfall of Forest as the club is unable to stabilise themselves under a manager and therefore settle under a philosophy a manager would bring to the club.

The next significant factor that has contributed to the fall of this club is the lack of ability to re-establish themselves amongst the elite club in England. Nottingham Forest have failed to regain any promotion to the Premier League, with the club last being in the league during the 1998/99 season and therefore the club have been absent from the top division for 22 seasons. Since their relegation in 1999 Nottingham Forest have only reached the Play-offs for championship three times, losing in the Play-offs semi-finals on all three occasions. Furthermore, Nottingham Forest had a brief spell in the third division of English football from the 2005/06 campaign and eventually promoted in the 07/08 campaign and as a result Forest are the only European champions to be relegated to the third division in their country.

The final significant factor is the lack of financial support for the club. This was more prominent during the 1990’s and the 2000’s and not as prominent during recent times due to the investment made by their current owner Evangelos Marinakis. However, Forest have had little funding to help purchase the players needed to return to the top flight and also the players required to maintain there. This was evident during the 1998/99 season when Forest invested little in to players to help maintain their status in the Premier League. As a result, the top goal scorer for Forest, Pierre Van Hooijdonk went on strike as he was unhappy with the lack of ambition in the transfer market. This then shows the lack of endeavour the club had in signing players needed to maintain a significant position in the Premier League.


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