A message from your new Chairman - Nigel Doughty

For better or worse I am shortly to become Chairman and controlling shareholder of Nottingham Forest.
Given football's self destructive economics it is to my friends, family (my young son excepted) and business colleagues the closest unqualified declaration of insanity they will ever see.

To me, it is a tremendous opportunity and honour to influence and represent what has been the overriding passion in my life for as long as I can remember.

It is an honour to lead and assist the terrific Management and support team we have assembled at The City Ground and hopefully in time we will put our City and Club back where it belongs - alongside football's elite.

All true Forest fans know how we got where we are today - the shabby takeover in 1997, the continual dead weight of our stock market flotation and the long-running saga of a court case and appeal which typified a period of misery and farce for the club.

When Eric Barnes approached me in 1999 to help him put the 'Nottingham back in Nottingham Forest', I did so readily - not through any sense of misguided optimism from my role as an "overgrown fan" but from the simple premise that I wanted to put something back into the community and a football club which had given me such reward and pleasure over the years.

Today, we complete that process. Our Club is, and for the foreseeable future will be, owned and managed by people whose natural and long-term affinity is to Nottingham Forest.

In the last three years since I have been involved as a major shareholder we have stabilised the club, done some good things but also made mistakes.

Our strategy to 'regain and retain' our Premiership status has saddled us with debt and left us with a wage bill inappropriate for a club in Division 1. Hindsight is the most expensive quality in the world but how many of us would have settled for a strategy of consolidation outside the Premiership?

The Court case kept us in a period of limbo for almost two years, when an earlier settlement may have enabled us to move the club forward quicker. However, the judgement of the Court was a ringing endorsement of the principled strategy taken by the Board of the Club, at great personal risk and cost to themselves.

When I made my initial investment in July 1999, the first thing Eric Barnes and I did was to sanction the building of an Academy for our stars of the future. Since then, that facility has developed beyond our wildest expectations and is a distinct competitive advantage for Nottingham Forest.

The staff and trainees there have built on the foundations laid by Paul Hart to the extent that we now have 25 junior internationals across all age groups. If this development continues the future looks bright.

My first act today as Chairman is to make further funds available for the completion of that rebuilding. During this year we now hope to be able to complete the remaining all-weather and indoor facilities, which will ensure we will qualify as an accredited Academy under the Football Association rules. The facilities by the end of this year will be amongst the best in the country and something all of us as Forest fans can feel rightly proud.

Football is littered with broken promises and that is the only one I am going to make.

Our strategy must be to build on this low cost producer of superb footballing talent with a Manager who understands the detail and delicacy of maturing these players.

For the future we will continue to be honest and transparent with you in all our dealings.

Will we have to sell? Yes . but only at a time which suits our interests and those of the player.

Will Paul Hart have funds available to him? Well, a lot depends on the current ITV digital situation as TV revenue accounts for approximately 30% of our income. But there will be no spectacular purchases.

Will I make a further investment? Probably not. The investments (if that is the right word for a shareholding in a football club) I have made to date have stabilised the club and enabled us to manage our new circumstances in Division 1 but if success is to be long-lasting and meaningful it has to come from within - from the creativity and hard work within our Club and community. Money does not buy success.

We are a big club, with terrific and passionate support who follow us through the good times and the bad. I hope we can bring the good times back soon. With the continued support of our commercial partners, our community, the local councils and Forest fans everywhere, who knows?

That is the magic of football.


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