Evangelos Marinakis finally completed his 100% takeover of Nottingham Forest this week, over a year after he was first linked with the club
The disastrous five-year reign of Fawaz Al Hasawi, which almost ended in relegation to League One two weeks ago, comes to an end and the City Ground can now look forward to some stability.
Marinakis holds 80% of investment vehicle NF Football Investments, with telecommunications tycoon Sokratis Kominakis who holds 20%, having passed the Football League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
The Greek shipping magnate told the BBC: “I’m not going to promise promotions, championships, etc. What I can tell you is we like to work hard, we know what we are doing.
“We have a long-term plan and within this long-term plan we want to bring Nottingham to where it belongs. And of course Nottingham belongs in the Premier League. And Nottingham belongs to the elite of the Premier League.”
The 49-year-old owner of Piraeus club Olympiacos has been involved in the club for several months already, and has hit the ground running with senior positions already filled with respected sports lawyer Nicholas Randall QC as chairman, Olympiacos managing director Ioannis Vrentzos as chief executive officer, Samantha Gordon as chief financial officer, and senior manager – sponsorship at Etihad Airways David Cook as chief commercial officer.
Forest have yearned for stability, structure and experience for years and this set-up shows a real statement of intent.
Marinakis told the club website: “Forest is one of England’s oldest clubs and one with a proud history of national and international excellence. Our objective is to bring back the glory days. We are football people to the core and we love and know the game. Our team has demonstrated that we know how to create success in football by having won title after title with Olympiacos in Greek football.”
The new owner is also making all the right noises with fans, including plans to involve them in a meaningful way, hopefully paving the way for Nottingham Forest Supporters’ Trust to engage with the club.
The Trust welcomed the takeover: “The initial senior appointments, announced today, are welcome, long overdue signs of a professional, forward-thinking structure, both on and off the pitch. The immediate establishment of an executive team is to be welcomed and underlines the clear strategic ambition.
“It is now vital that this early structure is followed by ongoing investment in the infrastructure to underpin the long term success of the club. Refurbishment of The City Ground along with a central role for our outstanding youth academy would both be welcome signs of a football club ready to regain its place at the heart of the community.
“Even more encouraging is the clear desire from the new owners to closely engage fans in the club’s future decision making, committing to forming a fans council of which we can expect to be a part and represent your views to those driving the direction of Nottingham Forest.”
In the BBC interview, Marinakis discussed the alleged match-fixing scandal and denied any involvement:
“All these years, a lot has been said but nothing came out in reality. All of it has been dismissed and we have been clear from all of this.
“Now there is a last case remaining – there are about 80 persons involved. I can tell you again that I have nothing to do with it because I know very well what I have done and how I have achieved victories.”
With a takeover complete in May, senior staff appointed and a management team in place there’s every hope that Nottingham Forest will not face the dire situation it faced last season and can begin to compete at a level befitting of its stature.