He left in 2011 to be replaced by former England manager Steve McLaren, whose reign was short-lived after poor form.
The Al-Hasawi Era
In July 2012, new hope came to the City Ground when the club was taken over by the Al-Hasawi family from Kuwait with the promise of money to take them back to the Premiership. Their first game was against Notts County, formed four years earlier. But in 1975, Brian Clough became manager.
The Brian Clough Era
Brian Clough was not liked in Nottingham after leading Derby County to the league title in 1972, so there were mixed feelings among the fans when he was appointed manager. But in 1984 he led them to a UEFA Cup semi-final, which they lost in controversial circumstances to Anderlecht amid allegations of the referee being bribed.. The following season, the unthinkable happened and the once great Nottingham Forest were relegated to the third tier of English football. One of their first moves was to appoint Sean O’Drsicoll as manager and they said that the 2012-13 season would be one of consolidation. But doubts were starting to be eased when he led them to promotion back to the first division in 1977.
After a struggling start in the second tier, Billy Davies became manager in January 2009. He died in 2004 of cancer and a statue to his honour was erected in Nottingham city centre in 2008.
The Fall and Rise of Nottingham Forest
Under the management of ex-Nottingham Forest player Frank Clark, the club returned to the Premiership the following season and then finished third in 1995. But despite a run to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1996, Nottingham Forest were in financial trouble. This was only for one season, and in 1998 they were promoted back to the Premiership.
After playing at various grounds around Nottingham, in 1897 they moved to their own stadium, the City Ground on the banks of the River Trent where they play their football to this day. They did make the playoffs in 2003, but lost to Sheffield United. This affected life on the pitch and they were relegated again in 1997. And they stayed there for three seasons, eventually winning promotion back to the Championship in 2008.
The decline continued and in 1949 they dropped to the third division for a couple of seasons and then in 1957 went back up to the top division, winning the FA Cup again in 1959, beating Luton Town in the final at Wembley. They also lost the League Cup final in 1992 and then in 1993 they were relegated to the second division. But all that was overshadowed by the tragedy at the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool at Hillsborough when nearly a hundred Liverpool fans were crushed to death.
The fun had only just began. The following two seasons he led them to the playoffs but no further. After playing early games in the Football Alliance, which they won in 1892, they joined the Football League the same year.
From humble beginnings as a bandy club, Nottingham Forest rose to become one of the worlds greatest football teams under Brian Cloughs management. They then went on to win the European Cup two years on the trot, beating Malmo in the final in 1979 and beating Hamburg in the final in 1980. They finished runners-up in the league in 1967 and reached the FA Cup semi-finals, but this was not to prove the start of bigger things as in 1972 they fell back down to the second division. Forest soon dropped Bandy from the title and concentrated on football. They played at the Forest Racecourse, hence the name. By 1898, Nottingham Forest were already looking a strong team when that year they won the FA Cup final (they reached the semi-final in 1885 in their Alliance days) beating local rivals Derby County 3-1 at Crystal Palace.
In 1990, Nottingham Forest again won the League Cup but lost in the FA Cup final to Tottenham Hotspur. This did not improve life on the field, and they were soon relegated to the second division where they struggled and came close in 1914 to dropping out of the Football League.
Those visiting Nottingham Forest today should try one of these excellent pubs for a pre or post match pint of beer.
Other Football Club Histories
Arsenal, Bradford City, Burton Albion, Chelsea, Cheltenham Town, Chesterfield, Coventry City, Derby County, Fulham, Leeds United, Lincoln City, Macclesfield Town, Manchester City, Manchester United, Middlesbrough, MK Dons, Notts County, Reading, Scunthorpe United, Shrewsbury Town, Stockport County, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur.
In 1989, the League Cup was again claimed but they could only finish third in the league. Yet, as 2012 drew to an end and with Forest just one point off the playoffs, O’Driscoll was mysteriously sacked and replaced by Alex McLeish as manager.
When Brian Cloughs assistant Peter Taylor left in 1980, Nottingham Forest struggled a little, leading some to believe that he was the key to Cloughs magic. In their first season back in the top division, they won the championship. Since then, the team have been in decline, but now under a new manager Billy Davies they are showing signs that they may be on the rise once more.
But that was a short-lived return to the big time as they were relegated again in 1999 and have not been back in the top flight since as the clubs financial problems continued. Almost as an aside, they won the League Cup in 1978 and 1979 but could only come runners-up in the league in 1979.
This article traces their history from being founded in 1865 as Nottingham Forest Football & Bandy Club, through the Brian Clough era, to the present day where they sit in the Championship battling for a return to the top flight.
The Birth of Nottingham Forest
Bandy is an early version of ice hockey, and in 1865 a group of bandy players decided to form a football club and called themselves Nottingham Forest Football & Bandy Club. Brian Clough left but will be remembered as one of Britains most successful ever football managers