better or worse I am shortly to become Chairman
and controlling shareholder of Nottingham
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
is littered with broken promises and that
is the only one I am going to make.
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.
the future we will continue to be honest
and transparent with you in all our dealings.
we have to sell? Yes . but only at a time
which suits our interests and those of
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.
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.
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?
is the magic of football.