OPINION: Optimism high as Nottingham Forest takeover is finally completed

Forest blogger Lee Clarke is calling on fans to roar the team to Championship survival.
Forest blogger Lee Clarke is calling on fans to roar the team to Championship survival.

The storm cloud that has enveloped Nottingham Forest for almost five years has finally moved on, thankfully, yesterday marked the end of the Fawaz years.

As the 2017/18 season approaches, we welcome Evangelos Marinakis as our new owner, safe in the knowledge that he couldn’t run the club any worse than it has been for the last 1650 odd days.

The Greek Shipping tycoon has attracted plenty of negative press regarding match fixing allegations and so on, but we must give him a chance to prove himself given that he’s been passed fit by the FA.

Having avoided relegation to League One by virtue of goal difference, it feels as though the club is off life support and fighting fit once again.

Mark Warburton is relishing his first full season as Forest’s manager and has already spoken with real confidence regarding the ability of the new owner.

As far as the supporters are concerned, there is real optimism for the plight of the team in the upcoming season.

Having listened to Marinakis’s first interview I have to say that I was immensely impressed with what he had to say.

Within just eight minutes, Evangelos spoke more sense than the previous owner had done during his entire tenure at Nottingham Forest.

He oozed pragmatism as he hammered home exactly what his initial motives would consist of.

Fundamentally, hard work is going to be the foundation of the new regime, and refreshingly there were no big promises or agendas.

Marinakis spoke with a real confidence and belief in what was achievable for both himself and our famous old club. The phrase “step by step” was repeated several times and that was music to my ears.

The previous owner projected a five year plan which hinted at Premier League football and then European domination as if it were a formality; a bold statement from a guy whose football background was virtually unknown.

The selling point for me personally was Evangelos’s reaction to our chances of becoming champions of Europe once more.

He virtually dismissed the notion, not for the sake of being negative, but because he’s a football man and a realist.

I’m not sure what most Forest fans think about this but for me, we’ll never win the European Cup, ever again. The big Greek is more than familiar with the competition given his involvement with Olympiacos, so he’s well placed to make judgments on Forest’s chances, especially since we’ve not even been in the top flight during the new century.

Reading between the lines, you could tell that he did however, envisage NFFC competing in the Premier League again. If you asked the lion’s share of Reds fans, I’m pretty sure that they’d agree.

I got the feeling that Evangelos Marinakis is more of a football fan than a business man, and Greeks are renowned for their love of the sport.

The very fact that his Olympiacos club have replaced Panathinaikos as the number one side in that country tells you a lot about the ability of our new owner. Back in 1996, Panathinaikos were champions of Greece and Champions League semi finalists.

This proves that hard work and persistence can achieve great things indeed.

It’s no secret that Mark Warburton was actually recruited by Mr Marinakis, an appointment that few would disagree with to be honest.

Refreshingly, the new owner alluded to the fact that with the correct structure around the manager it would definitely move the club in the right direction. Yet another polar opposite to the mindset of Fawaz Al-Hasawi, who as we know, wanted to be the only person pulling the strings in the one man puppet show.

We must not carried away though; I do remember a similar fervour when the Kuwaiti’s arrived in 2012.

A bandwagon that even I allowed myself to jump on for a good year or two before seeing the light. There is a notable difference this time around though, a realism and a willingness to do things in the correct manner, before delusions of grandeur are allowed to creep in.

In a similar iconic style to Brian Clough’s “I hope nobody’s stupid enough to write us off” comment; Evangelos Marinakis delivered an absolute beauty when he said “I never give promises...I deliver!”