New Forest owners bring new dawn


Nottingham Forest L.F.C.

On 9 July 2012, Nottingham Forest Football Club finally confirmed the completion of its (slightly protracted) takeover by the Al-Hasawi family. The family also made a statement via the Club website to announce their acquisition.

Three things the new owners did right so far

3. Decisive action

The new owners have wasted little time in getting the club organised the way they want. On Wednesday, they met manager Steve Cotterill and the next day, confirmed his sacking. I can only presume they felt he lacked the attributes required to bring Nottingham Forest Football Club to the hallowed land of the Premiership. My own take is I feel SC lacks steel. His post-match interviews when we were on a long losing streak with no signs of breaking our scoring duck came across as weak and lacked conviction.

News is also filtering through today that Frank Clark has been relieved of his duties (and possibly the much-maligned Mark Arthur as well, but I can’t find news to substantiate that claim) as the Al-Hasawis seek to start the new season with a clean slate. The decisions could well be seen as ruthless but there’s little time for sentiment and to massage bruised egos – there’s about a month left before the new season begins and every day is precious.

In the Daily Mail, Fawaz Al-Hasawi, said that he would be bankrolling a serious promotion push, saying: “I will make big deals for players – even in a short amount of time. I will try to accomplish everything in a week because the league starts just a month from now. We will strive to return Forest to its former glories.”

Today, they announced a desire to bring in an “iconic manager” (guess that immediately rules out Darren Ferguson and Mick McCarthy then…). Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi told BBC East Midlands, “We are talking to several main iconic names that have a very clear understanding of this league.”

2. They named the academy after Nigel Doughty

People say “there’s no room for sentiment in football”. But, there’s certainly a way to start a reign that doesn’t involve burning bridges.

The positive sentiment that has been created by this action has been quite tremendous. In a statement on the Club website, NF’s family said, “We are proud that Nigel’s long and treasured association with NFFC will be remembered with the naming of the Club’s academy as the “Nigel Doughty Youth Academy” and we thank the Al Hasawi’s for agreeing to honour Nigel’s memory in this way.”

As much as some Forest fans have complained that ND didn’t do enough to bring Forest back into the Premiership (and indeed, presided over us during our dark days in the nether regions of League One) few could question his love for the club.

1. Open communication with fans 

In the lead up to the takeover (or was it just after it was confirmed?), a picture did it’s rounds on Twitter showing an Al-Hasawi family pic with the kids decked out in the new NFFC away strip.

It isn’t often your club’s new owners tweets out a family pic like that (I certainly don’t remember anything like this when Manchester City’s new owners came in, then again I don’t follow much of their news). Via Storify, I’ve also found a way to collate NFFC fan reaction to the takeover, so read it if you’re interested.

I also think it’s a good sign the new owners seem to be social media savvy. According to Nottingham Evening Post, “Fawaz Al-Hasawi broke the news on the Twitter social networking website that the exclusive negotiation period he had been granted with his brothers Abdulaziz and Omar Al-Hasawi over the potential purchase of the club had come to an end.”

One of the larger complaints over the past few seasons have been over poor communications between the Club and its fans. At times, it seemed as if Forest desperately needed a better PR person (or even, one at all) to unify communications and repair/build rapport with fans. And some public statements like Mark Arthur’s, who publicly boasted that Peter Whittingham and Darren Pratley wanted to join only to have their respective clubs say words to the effect of “when hell freezes over”, can only be seen as major gaffes that proved impossible to repair.

Tomorrow, the Club’s new owners will have a press conference as well as a ‘Meet the Family’ session – again, another step forward to build better communications with the fans.

In the meantime, NFFCblog’s post – Let’s Kuwait and see, best sums up my feelings on the whole takeover. Go read it 😉

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