Yesterday I had coffee with Nottingham Forest fan James Mather and we discussed their amazing victory at Wembley which took Forest back to the top table of Premier League football after 23 years in the wilderness.
Diehard Forest fan James, someone I have known for around 8 years, told me that manager Steve Cooper would often call players on their day off just to see how they were doing.
He was genuinely interested in the welfare and development of the players, and this built a remarkable bond with these players. One of the comments from players was that Steve kills them with kindness.
I want to thank James for sharing his photograph from Wembley where he joined over 36,000 Forest fans to witness history in the making.
I came across the following article on BBC news which was written a day before the historic victory at Wembley and is an interesting insight into Steve Cooper and his unique abilities.
Could they achieve the impossible?
Forest are a club who have gone through 14 bosses in 10 years, a club who were rock bottom of the Championship when Chris Hughton was sacked in September, a club who have become the ultimate example of a “sleeping giant” in English football.
Two times the champions of Europe, Nottingham Forest have not featured in the Premier League in the 21st century but are now 90 minutes from ending a 23-year absence.
Forest’s rise after their worst start to a season in over a century owes an awful lot to an unassuming Welshman who might just be about to make fans’ dreams a reality after years of nightmares.
His name is Steve Cooper, and he is the man who utterly transformed Nottingham Forest.
A relegation battle becomes a promotion push
The side he inherited from Chris Hughton had lost six of their first seven games in making their worst start since 1913, with Cooper becoming the 14th manager they had appointed in a decade since Billy Davies’ departure in 2011.
Not only has Cooper transformed Forest’s fortunes, taking more points than any other side since his appointment in September, but he did so in style. He turned a relegation battle into an incredible campaign where automatic promotion was possible until the final week of the season.
“No-one would have given Forest a chance of being where they are after they were bottom after seven games of the season, and the players were looking a sad group,” former Forest midfielder Steve Hodge told BBC Radio Nottingham.
“The whole season looked to be a write-off before he took over.”
He instilled belief
With an emphasis on attacking football, Forest powered up the table, while some of Cooper’s critics at his former club Swansea might also have been answered with emphatic 4-1 and 5-1 wins over his former side.
It was on the coaching field that the best work was done. Cooper turned water into wine. Or rather, Djed Spence from a Middlesbrough reserve to a player now eyed by several Premier League clubs, with others such as 19-goal Wales forward Brennan Johnson also given the opportunity to shine.
An eye-catching FA Cup run also boosted Cooper’s profile, with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp singling Cooper out for praise in his speech at the League Managers’ Association awards after his side edged past Forest 1-0 in the quarter final.
“The evidence of what a good motivator and coach Steve is has been there for all to see with what he’s achieved this season,” Grainger added.
“His CV is definitely looking good at the moment.”
The final hurdle
“The job Steve Cooper has done at Forest is amazing,” Blake added. “It is clear for everyone to see how much he’s gone in and changed things.”
Can Cooper now go one better at Wembley after last season’s disappointment?
“He’s been to the play-offs before, he’s got plenty of experience and he knows exactly how to prepare to get a result in a big, one-off game,” Grainger said.
If Cooper can get it done, he will have capped one of the most remarkable seasons in Forest’s history, taking them from a recent nadir back to the Premier League.
But whatever the result at Wembley, after years of despair, Cooper has given Forest fans hope again.
They did it!
Well we know the result and they did it! Against all the odds Nottingham Forest are back in the Premier League and it’s down to the impact Steve Cooper has had. In my opinion the following are key reasons for his success.
- He gave his players hope
- He believed in them
- He encouraged them
- He changed their mindset
- He improved their Mental Resilience
- He gave them a vision of success
- He cared about them
- He engaged with the fans
- He galvanised the whole organisation
- He helped them achieve the impossible
Thoughts for the week
- What Forest have achieved seemed impossible.
- But with hard work and belief they succeeded.
- What do you find impossible in life right now?
- Spend some time thinking about this and visualise yourself succeeding.
- Each time you start doubting, reframe your thinking and keep going.
Well that’s it for this week have a wonderful weekend and keep believing.