|Ground Capacity 30,445|
2015–16 Championship, 16th
Manager Mark Warburton
League EFL Championship
Rival Liverpool F.C.
|Owner Fawaz Al-Hasawi|
Arena/Stadium City Ground
Chairman Fawaz Al-Hasawi
Training ground Wilford Lane
|Full name Nottingham Forest Football Club|
Nickname(s) The Reds, Forest, Tricky Trees
Founded 1865; 152 years ago (1865)
Nottingham Forest Football Club is a professional association football club based in Nottinghamshire, England. The team play in the Championship, the second tier of English football, having been there since promotion from League One in 2008. The club, often referred to as Forest, have played home matches at the City Ground since 1898.
- Early years 18651975
- Brian Clough 19751993
- Frank Clark 19931996
- Stuart Pearce and Dave Bassett 19971999
- Into the 21st century 19992012
- The Al Hasawi reign 2012present
- Crest and colours
- Local rivals derbies and supporters
- Out on loan
- All time XI
- International players
Founded in 1865, Forest were founder members of the Football Alliance in 1889 and joined the Football League in 1892. Since then, they have mostly competed in the top two League tiers, bar five seasons in the third tier. Forest won the FA Cup in 1898 and 1959. Their most successful period was under the management of Brian Clough between 1975 and 1993, winning the League in 1978 and back to back European Cups in the two years after, a feat which has never been equalled, plus four League Cups and two Full Members Cups.
Early years (1865–1975)
Forest were founded in 1865 as Nottingham Forest Football and Bandy Club by a group of shinty players (Bandy is similar to shinty, but is played on ice. In fact bandy is called "camanachd-deighe" in Scots Gaelic, which literally means "ice shinty".) shortly after their neighbours Notts County, (the world's oldest surviving professional football club), in 1862. They joined the Football Alliance in 1889, and won the competition in 1892, before entering the Football League. In their early years Forest were a multi-sports club; as well as their roots in bandy and shinty, the baseball club Forest deployed were British champions in 1899.
Forest's charitable approach to the sport helped teams like Liverpool, Arsenal and Brighton & Hove Albion to come into existence. In 1886, Forest donated a set of football kits to help Arsenal establish themselves – the North London team still wear red. Forest also donated shirts to Everton and helped secure a site to play on for Brighton.
Forest claimed their first major honour when they won the 1898 FA Cup, beating Derby County 3–1 at Crystal Palace. However, for much of the first half of the 20th century the club spent life in the Second Division and had to seek re-election in 1914 after finishing bottom. In 1919, the Football League First Division was to be expanded from twenty clubs to twenty-two in time for the 1919–20 Football League: Forest were one of eight clubs to campaign for entry and received three votes; Arsenal and Chelsea gained the additional slots. In 1949 the club were relegated to the Third Division, but were quickly promoted back two years later as champions having scored a record 110 goals in the 1950–51 season. A brief period of glory followed at the end of the 1950s, as they regained First Division status in 1957 and won the FA Cup for a second time in 1959, despite losing Roy Dwight (the cousin of pop icon Elton John whose real name is Reg Dwight) because of a broken leg. They therefore became the first team to defeat the Wembley 'hoodoo', (where one team was hampered by losing a player through injury). By this time Forest had replaced Notts County as the biggest club in Nottingham and went on to become runners-up in the First Division and FA Cup semi-finalists in 1967. However, after a highly successful period for the club, Forest were relegated from the First Division in 1972.
Brian Clough (1975–1993)
Despite their two FA Cup wins and a runners-up finish in the top flight as recently as 1967, Forest were generally considered an underachieving club by English league standards until the mid-1970s, when Brian Clough and his assistant Peter Taylor took the helm at the club, shortly after Clough's highly colourful, very controversial and ultimately disastrous 44-day tenure as manager of Leeds United. Clough became the most successful manager in the history of Nottingham Forest, taking them to unprecedented heights. He had won the league title with Forest's neighbours Derby County in 1972, and came to Nottingham Forest on 6 January 1975, after a 0–2 home defeat by Notts County, on Boxing Day, prompted the committee (Forest had no board of directors then) to sack the previous manager Allan Brown. Clough's first game in charge was the third round FA Cup replay against Tottenham Hotspur, a 1–0 victory thanks to a goal by Scottish centre-forward Neil Martin.
Nottingham Forest won promotion to the top division at the end of the 1976–77 season after finishing third in the Second Division, but no-one could have predicted how successful Clough's team would be over the next three seasons. Nottingham Forest became one of the few teams (and the most recent team to date) to win the First Division Championship a year after winning promotion from the Second Division (1977–78 season). In 1978–79, Forest went on to win the European Cup by beating Malmö 1–0 in Munich's Olympiastadion and retained the trophy in 1979–80, beating Hamburg 1–0 in Madrid, at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, thanks to an outstanding performance by goalkeeper Peter Shilton, signed from Stoke City early in the 1977–78 season. They also won the European Super Cup and two League Cups. Beside Shilton, key players of that era included right-back Viv Anderson (the first black player to play for the England national team), midfielder Martin O'Neill; striker Trevor Francis (English football's first million-pound player on his arrival at Forest in February 1979) and a trio of Scottish internationals: winger John Robertson, midfielder Archie Gemmill and defender Kenny Burns. The club reached the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1983–84 but were knocked out by Anderlecht in controversial but uncertain circumstances. More than a decade later, it emerged that in the second leg, the Belgian club had allegedly bribed the referee but the referee in question had since died in a car accident and was hence not able to be held to account. The case was therefore dismissed and Anderlecht was acquitted from all charges
Nottingham Forest's next major trophies came in 1989 when they won the Football League Cup and the Full Members Cup. For most of the season they had been competing for all three English cup competitions available at the time, but their hopes of a unique cup treble ended when they lost to Liverpool in the replay of the FA Cup semi-final, originally held at Hillsborough, where 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death on terracing, the match was abandoned after six minutes. They also finished third in the league in 1989, and had occupied the same final position a year later, although they had never looked like serious title contenders in either campaign; Liverpool had been runaway leaders for most of the 1987–88 season. By the end of the 1980s, Forest's European Cup winning stars were all long gone, and their new stars included high-scoring midfielder Neil Webb (sold to Manchester United for a million-plus fee in July 1989), left-back Stuart Pearce, central defender Des Walker and striker Nigel Clough (son of Brian Clough).
Clough's side retained the League Cup in 1990 when they beat Oldham Athletic 1–0; the winning goal scored by Nigel Jemson. There was chance for more success in 1991 when Forest reached their only FA Cup final under Brian Clough and went ahead after scoring an early goal against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, but ended up losing 2–1 in extra time after an own goal by Des Walker. In Forest's team that day was young Irish midfielder Roy Keane, who had joined the club the previous summer.
In the summer of 1991, Brian Clough broke Forest's transfer record fee by signing the league's top scorer, Millwall striker Teddy Sheringham, for £2.1million.
Forest beat Southampton 3–2 in the Full Members Cup final in 1992, but then lost to Manchester United in the League Cup in the same season, both finals being played by a Forest team much weakened by injuries. This meant that Forest had played in six cup finals in four seasons, winning four of them.
Forest finished eighth in the league that season to take a place in the new FA Premier League, but their prospects of succeeding in the new league were hit by the pre-season loss of players like Des Walker and Darren Wassall, and the sale of Teddy Sheringham a few games into the new season.
Brian Clough's 18-year reign as manager ended in May 1993 after Forest were relegated from the inaugural Premier League after 16 illustrious years of top-flight football which had seen a league title, two European Cups and four League Cups. Relegation from the Premier League was also followed by the departure of midfielder Roy Keane to Manchester United for a British record fee of £3.75million.
Frank Clark (1993–1996)
Frank Clark, who had been a left-back in Nottingham Forest's 1979 European Cup winning team, returned to the club in May 1993 to succeed Brian Clough as manager. His management career had previously seen promotion from the Fourth Division with Leyton Orient in 1989 as his greatest distinction. Making key signings including Stan Collymore, Colin Cooper, Lars Bohinen, and convincing Stuart Pearce to remain at the club, Clark was able to achieve a return to the Premier League when the club finished Division One runners-up at the end of the 1993–94 season. Forest finished third in 1994–95 and qualified for the UEFA Cup – their first entry to European competition in the post-Heysel era. Despite the pre-season loss of striker Stan Collymore to Liverpool for a national record fee of £8.5million, Forest did reach the quarter-finals, the furthest an English team reached in UEFA competitions that season, although they slipped to ninth position in the league. The 1996–97 season quickly became a relegation battle and Clark left the club in December.
Stuart Pearce and Dave Bassett (1997–1999)
34-year-old captain Stuart Pearce was installed as player-manager on a temporary basis just before Christmas in 1996 and he inspired a brief upturn in the club's fortunes. However, in March 1997 he was replaced on a permanent basis by Dave Bassett and left the club that summer after 12 years. Forest were unable to avoid relegation and finished the season in bottom place. They won promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt, being crowned Division One champions in 1997–98. Bassett was sacked in January 1999, with Ron Atkinson replacing him.
Into the 21st century (1999–2012)
Ron Atkinson was unable to prevent Forest from once again slipping back into Division One, and announced his retirement from football management when Forest's relegation was confirmed on 24 April 1999, with three weeks of the Premier League seasons still to play.
Former England captain David Platt succeeded Atkinson and spent approximately £12 million on players in the space of two seasons, including the Italian veterans Moreno Mannini, Salvatore Matrecano and Gianluca Petrachi. However, Forest could only finish 14th in Platt's first season and 10th in his second. He departed in July 2001 to manage the England U-21 side and was succeeded by youth team manager Paul Hart.
Now faced with huge debts, which reduced Forest's ability to sign new players, they finished 16th in Hart's first season in charge. By December 2001, Forest were reported as losing over £100,000 every week, and their financial outlook was worsened by the collapse of ITV Digital, which left Forest and many other Football League clubs in severe financial difficulties. Despite the off-field difficulties, Forest finished 2002–03 in sixth place and qualified for the play-offs, where they lost to Sheffield United in the semi-finals. A poor league run the following season, following the loss of several key players, led to the sacking of Hart in February 2004 with Forest in danger of relegation. The decision was unpopular with certain quarters of the fanbase and Hart was described as a 'scapegoat'.
Joe Kinnear was subsequently appointed and led the club to a secure 14th place in the final league table. The 2004–05 season saw Forest drop into the relegation zone once more, leading to Kinnear's resignation in December 2004.Mick Harford took temporary charge of Forest over Christmas, before Gary Megson was appointed in the new year. Megson had already won two promotions to the Premier League with his previous club West Bromwich Albion, having arrived at the club when they were in danger of going down to Division Two, but failed to stave off relegation as the club ended the season second from bottom in 23rd place, becoming the first European Cup-winners ever to fall into their domestic third division.
In Forest's first season in the English third tier in 54 years, a 3–0 defeat at Oldham Athletic in February 2006 led to the departure of Megson by "mutual consent" leaving the club mid-table only four points above the relegation zone. Frank Barlow and Ian McParland took temporary charge for the remainder of the 2005–06 season, engineering a six-match winning run and remaining unbeaten in ten games, the most notable result a 7–1 win over Swindon Town. Forest took 28 points from a possible 39 under the two, narrowly missing out on a play-off place, as they finished in 7th place.
Colin Calderwood, previously of Northampton Town, was appointed as Forest's new manager in May 2006. He was their 12th new manager to be appointed since the retirement of Brian Clough 13 years earlier, and went on to become Forest's longest-serving manager since Frank Clark. The Calderwood era was ultimately one of rebuilding, and included the club's first promotion in a decade. In his first season, he led the club to the play-offs, having squandered a 7-point lead at the top of League One which had been amassed by November 2006. Forest eventually succumbed to a shock 5–4 aggregate defeat in the semi-finals against Yeovil Town; they had taken a 2–0 lead in the first leg at Huish Park, but were then beaten 5–2 on their own soil by the Somerset club. Calderwood achieved automatic promotion in his second year at the club, following an impressive run which saw Forest win six out of their last seven games of the season, culminating in a dramatic final 3–2 win against Yeovil at the City Ground. Forest kept a league record of 24 clean sheets out of 46 games, proving to be the foundation for their return to the second tier of English football and leaving them just one more promotion away from a return to the Premier League.
However, Calderwood's side struggled to adapt to life in the Championship in the 2008–09 campaign and having been unable to steer Forest out of the relegation zone, Calderwood was sacked following a Boxing Day 4–2 defeat to the Championship's bottom club Doncaster Rovers.
Under the temporary stewardship of John Pemberton, Forest finally climbed out of the relegation zone, having beaten Norwich City 3–2. Billy Davies, who had taken Forest's local rivals Derby County into the Premier League two seasons earlier, was confirmed as the new manager on 1 January 2009 and watched Pemberton's side beat Manchester City 3–0 away in the FA Cup, prior to taking official charge. Under Davies, Forest stretched their unbeaten record in all competitions following Calderwood's sacking to six matches, including five wins. He also helped them avoid relegation as they finished 19th in the Championship, securing survival with one game to go.
Forest spent most of the 2009–10 campaign in a top-three position, putting together an unbeaten run of 20 league games, winning 12 home league games in a row (a club record for successive home wins in a single season), going unbeaten away from home from the beginning of the season until 30 January 2010 (a run spanning 13 games) whilst also claiming memorable home victories over local rivals Derby County and Leicester City. The club finished third, missing out on automatic promotion, and in the two-legged play-off semi-final were beaten by Blackpool, 2–1 away and 4–3 in the home leg, the club's first defeat at home since losing to the same opposition in September 2009.
The 2010–11 season saw Forest finish in sixth place in the Championship table with 75 points, putting them into a play-off campaign for the fourth time in the space of eight years. Promotion was yet again to elude Forest, as they were beaten over two legs by eventual play-off final winners Swansea City. Having drawn the first leg 0–0 at the City Ground, they were eventually beaten 3–1 in the second leg.
In June 2011, Billy Davies had his contract terminated, and was replaced as manager by Steve McClaren, who signed a three-year contract. Forest started the 2011–12 season with several poor results and after a 5–1 defeat away to Burnley, David Pleat and Bill Beswick left the club's coaching setup. Less than a week later, following a home defeat to Birmingham City, McClaren resigned, and chairman Nigel Doughty announced that he intended to resign at the end of the season. In October 2011, Nottingham Forest underwent several changes. These changes included the appointment of Frank Clark as new chairman of the club and also that of Steve Cotterill, replacing the recently departed Steve McClaren.
Nigel Doughty, owner and previous chairman of the club, died on 4 February 2012, having been involved with the club since the late 1990s, with many estimating his total contribution as being in the region of £100 million.
The Al-Hasawi reign (2012–present)
The Al-Hasawi family, from Kuwait, purchased the club and became the new owners of Nottingham Forest in July 2012.
The Al-Hasawi family told press that they had a long-term vision for the club based around a 3–5-year plan, and after interviewing several potential new managers, appointed Sean O'Driscoll, formerly manager at Doncaster Rovers and Crawley Town, as the manager on 19 July 2012 after a second round of talks with the then Crawley man. He was known for playing an attractive brand of passing football (which had taken Doncaster Rovers into the league's second tier for the first time since the 1950s) and what football fans would consider the Forest way. O'Driscoll had spent 5 months at the City Ground as Coach under Steve Cotterill in the 2011–12 season before taking over at Crawley. After taking over at Crawley, O'Driscoll never took charge of a single competitive game.
By 15 December 2012, after the team's 0–0 draw away to Brighton, Forest sat in 9th position with 33 points, just 3 points off the play-off positions. The Al-Hasawi's 3–5-year plan had turned into a push for the play-offs in their first season as the Nottingham Forest owners. On the same weekend, the club announced that Omar Al-Hasawi had stepped down due to personal reasons and Fawaz Al-Hasawi, the majority shareholder with 75% stepped into the position, with his brother Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi holding a 20% share and his cousin Omar Al-Hasawi holding a 5% share.
On Boxing Day 2012, manager Sean O'Driscoll was sacked following a 4–2 victory over Leeds United with the club stating their intentions of a change ahead of the January transfer window and hopes of appointing a manager with Premiership experience. The man to replace O'Driscoll was Alex McLeish. The move was criticised by some members of the Forest fan base. Chief executive Mark Arthur as well as scout Keith Burt and club ambassador Frank Clark were dismissed in January 2013. On 5 February 2013, Nottingham Forest and Alex McLeish had parted company by mutual agreement, just 40 days after McLeish took charge of Forest. Forest supporters and pundits alike registered their concern for the state of the club, with journalist Pat Murphy describing the situation as a "shambles".
Two days after McLeish's departure, the club re-appointed Billy Davies as manager, having been sacked as the team's manager twenty months previously. His first match in charge was a draw, followed by a run of 10 undefeated games. In March 2014, the club terminated Davies' employment, following a 5–0 defeat by Derby County. Neil Warnock turned down the job as Forest manager on the day Davies was sacked. After initially rejecting the job in March 2014, fans favourite Stuart Pearce was named the man to replace Billy Davies, taking over from caretaker manager Gary Brazil. He signed a two-year contract commencing on 1 July 2014. Pearce led Forest to an unbeaten start to the season but failed to keep up the form. He was sacked in February 2015 and replaced by another former Forest player, Dougie Freedman. Another mid table finish meant that Forest would begin the 2015–16 season still in the Championship and now in their 17th season away from the Premier League. On 13 March 2016, Freedman was sacked, following a 3–0 defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday. Paul Williams was then appointed as temporary manager as Nottingham Forest searched for their new manager. Finally, following months of speculation the former US Boulogne, Valenciennes FC, Real Sociedad, and Stade Rennais head coach Philippe Montanier was appointed on a two-year contract on 27 June 2016, but was sacked after less than 7 months in charge. Mark Warburton was named as the club's new manager on March 14th 2017.
Crest and colours
Nottingham Forest have worn red since the club's foundation in 1865. At the meeting in the Clinton Arms which established Nottingham Forest as a football club, the committee also passed a resolution that the team colours should be ‘Garibaldi red’. This decision was made in honour of Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian patriot who was the leader of the redshirts party. At this time, clubs identified themselves more by their headgear than their shirts and a dozen red caps with tassels were duly purchased, making Forest the first club to ‘officially’ wear red, a colour that has since been adopted by a significant number of others. Forest is the reason behind Arsenal's choice of red, having donated a full set of red kits following Arsenal's foundation in 1886. Forest's tour of South America in 1905 inspired Independiente to adopt red as their club colour, after the Argentine club's President Arístides Langone described the tourists as looking like diablos rojos ("red devils"), which would become Independiente's nickname.
The first club crest used by Forest was the city arms of Nottingham, which was first used on kits in 1947. The current club badge was introduced in 1974. The logo has been reported as being the brainchild of manager Brian Clough. However, he did not arrive at the club until the year after. Forest have two stars above the club badge to commemorate the European Cup victories in 1979 and 1980.
The club has garnered many nicknames over time. Historically, the nickname of "Foresters" was used, as was "Garibaldis". "The Forest" or the simpler "Forest" – as used on the club crest – is commonly used, as is "the Reds". Another, lesser-used, nickname referring to the club is the "Tricky Trees". Nottingham Forest is sometimes referred to as Notts Forest, which is not correct, as the club name refers The Nottingham Foresters Army regiment, not Nottinghamshire.
Since 1898 Nottingham Forest have played their home games at the City Ground in West Bridgford, on the banks of the River Trent. Since 1994 the stadium has been all-seater, a preparation that was made in time for the ground to be a venue for Euro 96, and currently has a capacity of 30,445.
The City Ground is 300 yards away from Notts County's Meadow Lane stadium, on the other side of the Trent. The two grounds are the closest professional football stadia in England and the second closest in the United Kingdom after the grounds of Dundee and Dundee United. When built, the ground was within the boundaries of Nottingham, which had been made a city the previous year and gave rise to the name of the stadium. A boundary change in the 1950s meant that the City Ground is now no longer within the city of Nottingham whilst Notts County's ground is.
Prior to moving into the City Ground, Forest played their home games at Forest Recreation Ground, then Trent Bridge, and finally the purpose-built Town Ground.
Local rivals, derbies and supporters
Whilst Notts County is the closest professional football club geographically, Forest have remained at least one division higher since the 1994–95 season and the club's fiercest rivalry is with Derby County, located 14 miles away. The two clubs contest the East Midlands derby, a fixture which has taken on even greater significance since the inception of the Brian Clough Trophy in 2007. Leicester City are Forest's other East Midlands rival due to the close proximity of the two cities.
Forest's other regional rival is Sheffield United, based in the neighbouring county of South Yorkshire, a rivalry which has roots in the UK miners' strike 1984-85 when the miners of South Yorkshire walked out on long strikes but some Nottinghamshire miners, who insisted on holding a ballot, continued to work. The exciting 2003 Football League Championship Play-off semi final between the two clubs, in which Sheffield United finished as 5–4 aggregate winners, also fueled the rivalry.
Forest's fanbase includes a host of celebrity supporters, including fashion designer Paul Smith, England international cricketers Stuart Broad and Samit Patel, boxer Carl Froch, golfers Lee Westwood and Oliver Wilson, footballers Alex Baptiste Tom Cairney, Shaun Barker and Patrick Bamford, ice hockey player Miika Wiikman, Doctor Who actor Matt Smith, politicians Kenneth Clarke, Dan Jarvis and Michael Dugher, Manic Street Preachers singer James Dean Bradfield, Metronomy frontman Joseph Mount, actor Jason Statham, Brazilian football manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, actor Joe Dempsie, artist and musician David Shrigley, comedian Matt Forde, skater Christopher Dean, TV & radio presenter Richard Bacon, The Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron, actress Su Pollard and actor Arsher Ali.
Stuart Pearce, 76 for England (78 total)
¹ By agreement with Leicester City, the game was a replay as the original match three weeks previous was abandoned at half time, due to the collapse of Leicester player Clive Clarke, with Forest leading 1–0.
PlayersUpdated 6 March 2017.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Out on loan
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
In 1997 and 1998, as part of the release of the book The Official History of Nottingham Forest, a vote was carried out to decide on the club's official All Time XI.