Nottingham Forest have announced that, after a couple of false starts, they now have a new owner. Evangelos Marinakis has taken over the club from Fawaz Al Hasawi. We caught up with three Forest fans to get their opinions.
Anthony has been a Forest fan for 30 years and he's very happy that the Fawaz reign is finally over, describing it as "chaos and instability". He goes on to list problems such as "too many managers, too many high court cases and not enough experienced people running the club." While there is some acknowledgement that Al Hasawi put money into the club, "he wouldn’t allow people with the know how to run the club and seemed like he wanted all the plaudits from any success for himself alone." Following those failures, he's feeling more realistic about the new regime and advises Marinakis to "put the right structure in place, give the manager time and a bit of money."
Nigel has been supporting Forest for nearly 40 years, and he's happy that the takeover has finally happened. He feels that Fawaz was "well-intentioned, but he went into it blind with no real idea about football at this level." He says that Forest's recent brush with relegation was "nearly entirely down to his poor leadership." Nigel's abiding memory of Fawaz's ownership is when Stuart Pearce first walked out onto the pitch as manager describing it as a "massively emotional moment" but unfortunately, even that turned sour. He's cautiously optimistic about the new owner due to Marinakis' success in Greece with Olympiakos. He's hoping to see "stability, more professionalism from the top down, more transparency and better structure within the club." Plus, most importantly, that "the bills are paid on time."
Trevor was taken to his first Forest game in the sixties when he was still in his pram. He sums up Fawaz as "a terrible time for supporters, lurching from one crisis to the next." He‘s been especially disappointed with "his refusal to give anyone else any responsibility or to put in place any structure that would give the club stability." Trevor goes on to bemoan the "disorganisation, unpredictability and chaos" of the Fawaz years. While there are some reservations about Marinakis, especially with allegations emanating from Greece that he set fire to a bakery owned by a referee, Trevor is still impressed by the fact that he's already starting to put some structure in place at the club. "He's not promised the Earth, but he's talking about the hard work needed" he adds, which already sounds like a more realistic message than the one that Fawaz was peddling.
So, the feeling is that Marinakis should be more successful than Fawaz was. And, who knows, fans may even be able to enjoy some half-time meze at the City Ground next season.