2nd November 1999
The Internet
Steve Ralling; Kev Lockhart; Stanno

We met Nigel at the AGM of the Nottingham Forest Supporters Club. Whilst chatting, he expressed an interest in doing his first ever e-Interview for Nottingham Forest Supporters On-line! Here it is! Enjoy!!

For our web site visitors out there all over the world, could you tell us... Who is Nigel Doughty? - Can you give us a little bit about your background?
I was born in Newark and am aged 42. I went to school locally and still live in the area at weekends.

Earlier in the year, you invested a substantial amount of money in Nottingham Forest. Are you simply an owner of the Club, or do you have an official title?
I am just a shareholder although the terms of the agreement do allow me certain rights, particularly the appointment of a small number of board directors.

How did you go from being a Forest season-ticket holder to being an owner of the club? Did you approach the Club or vice versa?
Clearly, I was involved in the Sandy Anderson consortium and help to put that together at the end of 1997. I was, therefore, well known to the people in the Club although during the 3 years since that take-over I had not had any involvement with members of the Bridgford Consortium. Through a mutual friend, Eric Barnes was introduced to me and we sat down for lunch in April to decide what should be done about the problems that the Club currently faced. We set out a plan and with a great deal of luck and assistance from the people of Nottingham we were able to achieve our objective in July this year.

What is your day-to-day involvement with the Club?
Both Eric and I have mapped out a strategic plan over the next few years to re-establish the Club, putting the Nottingham back in Nottingham Forest and recruiting the best possible talent for our senior positions. Beyond this the day to day responsibilities for the running of Nottingham Forest rest with the Board and my day to day involvement is negligible. The Board is now comprised of well established, successful Nottingham businessmen and the Club is in very good hands.

Investors are often told that football clubs are not a 'safe' investment. How do you, as an owner of a venture capital company resolve the issues involved in putting your own money into a club such as Nottingham Forest?
Clearly, it is not primarily a financial investment. I did it because I wanted to do it and my love for the Club. I did not want to see the Club decline any further both in terms of its competitiveness and its links with the community it represents.

You stated at the EGM that your investment in the Club would be in two stages, the second investment coming after regaining Premiership status. How long is this offer good for?
This offer is for 3 years which I hope will be long enough for us to re-establish the Club and regain and retain Premiership status.

What if we don't regain Premiership status? Will you still be prepared to make further investments in the Club to achieve this goal?
I don't know really, it remains to be seen.

We've seen an article in the press, where Nigel Clough says that he hoped that Forest didn't achieve promotion first time round, and that they should consolidate in division one to get away from the yo-yo tag. Do you agree with this idea?
I always believe you should grasp opportunity with both hands but there is some merit in what Nigel has said in that we have a lot of work to do to re-establish the Club and provide a foundation for success. The money going in to the new academy will pay dividends in the years to come. There is also the fact that we have further money from me to invest in the Club should we go up, so we would not be in the position of a Bradford or Barnsley in lacking credible funds to purchase players. It is a difficult question to answer - one thing we don't want is to be a yo-yo club again.

You've chosen not to sit in the Directors' box, which presumably you are entitled to do. Why is that?
I like to sit with my family in the Brian Clough stand.

Nottingham Forest... when did you first develop a love for the Club?
I have been a Forest fan as long as I can remember and went to my first game when I was 7 or 8.

What is the best Forest game you have even seen?
I don't really have a particular favourite.

 ... and the worst?!
Every game I miss.

Who is the best player you have even seen in a Forest shirt?
We have had so many good players over the years it is difficult to isolate one particular player. I was a great fan of Duncan MacKenzie in the 70's and obviously the influence John Robertson had on the Club during the 80's.

 ... and the worst?!
No comment!!

If there was one player you would like to see come to Forest (money no object), who would it be?
That is really a question for David Platt rather than me and the Board of Nottingham Forest - I don't think I would want to prejudice anything they do by answering that question.

If you were a betting man, who would your money be on for promotion and relegation this season?
So far Charlton and Manchester City look very strong but it is obviously a league in which everyone can beat everyone else and its going to be very tight. I think the fact that we have added to the squad will help us in the latter part of the season as injuries and suspensions take their toll on all clubs.

From various discussions that we've had with people connected with the Club, we are lead to believe that you played a substantial role in recruiting David Platt... is this right?

Are you impressed with what you've seen of David so far?
We interviewed a lot of people for the role of Manager of Nottingham Forest. It is a big job and you have to be a credible and capable person to do it. A number of those discussions unfortunately were leaked to the press but I have to say that both Eric and I were convinced that David was the best candidate we saw. He is certainly going to be a very successful manager in the future.

Now that you're an owner of the club, you obviously need to be more diplomatic about what you say about players etc. Were you a bit more vocal in your criticism of the team and players like our Mr. van Hooijdonk when you were 'merely' a fan?
Obviously, I have the same kind of opinions that many Forest fans have. Recently my position at the Club means that I have to be a bit more circumspect about voicing them although they are not different from the vast majority. We all have favourites and people we believe can do well in a certain position, that's part of the fun of football. Part of the fun of football is second guessing the manager.

The Club has just appointed Mark Arthur as the next CEO. This is another significant step in Eric Barnes' plans to put the 'Nottingham' back into Nottingham Forest. How much more work do you think remains before Eric's dream is achieved?
I think we are there now. We have Board of very successful Nottingham based business people, a Nottingham based CEO with a background in sports management and a new manager who has the contacts and credibility to take the Club forward. More importantly, a Club that is majority owned by Nottingham people.

The Executive Stand was recently renamed to honour Brian Clough. At the opening, Brian mentioned that he would have liked it to have been named 'The Brian Clough and Peter Taylor Stand' in recognition of the large contribution Peter made in the partnership. Are there any plans to honour Peter in a similar fashion in the future?
This is really a question for the Board of Nottingham Forest rather than me. It will be nice to have stands named at the ground after all our famous players and managers.

Television has changed the face of the game over the last decade, in particular the involvement of Sky Television. Do you think these changes have been for the better?
Yes absolutely, the money that has come into football from television has transformed the game. The Premiership is now the best league in the world and attracts the best players in the world. There really is no turning back from here.

Are we now reaching a saturation point with televised football?
For me personally, but I don't tend to watch that much televised football only if I can't get to a Forest game and I am stuck in London. There may well be a role over the internet in time once the capacity to transmit TV pictures is there, but so far pay per view has not been very successful in France and Italy except for very big occasions.

Do you think that players' wages demands are getting out of control? Do you think that wage-capping is a workable option? An on what scale?
No, there is always a demand and supply question as in any other industry, if people are prepared to pay it, then players must be worth it.

It is clear from the success of 'Pinnacle Place' that reducing prices significantly is the way to go if you want to put 'bums on seats'. In view of this, are there any plans to continue this policy or even expand it to other areas of the ground, and hence generate the sort of atmosphere that is sadly lacking at the moment?
I agree entirely with this, particularly as football revenues are more dependent these days on TV revenues than ticket sales and therefore I think it is important to generate atmosphere at the ground. It's a bit like having a hotel room, which is not sold for the night. However, we have to make sure that we don't cannibalise our current revenue from season ticket holders by pricing things too cheaply but there is certainly an argument here and it's a matter of balance rather than anything else.

Everybody knows that you are involved with Umbro, is there any chance that Forest supporters may be able to obtain replica kit at a subsidised price in the future?
No, this would be unfair to all other Umbro clients.

What is your opinion on the Internet and Internet communities?
As an avid user myself I find it helpful. It really builds affinity with the Club and its fans in different parts of the world. It is a great source of information when you are travelling and a lot of the sites are very funny and interesting.

Many thanks for all the support you have shown for the Club and for taking the time to answer our questions.


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