Steve Cooper has claimed that Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has only ever been supportive of him and praised the Greek businessman’s investment into the club after the Reds’ promotion to the Premier League was confirmed.
Forest beat Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley yesterday to confirm their return to the top flight of English football after 23 years away.
It caps a remarkable rise under the Welsh coach, who was installed as Chris Hughton’s replacement when the Reds were bottom of the table back in September.
He was backed in the January transfer window and has duly delivered the club’s first promotion in 14 years and the first under Marinakis’ ownership.
The Forest owner has not always been the most popular figure among the City Ground faithful but Cooper was full of praise for him and the rest of the club hierarchy after Sunday’s victory.
“All he has done is invest,” when asked about his relationship with Marinakis. “All he has done is put money into the football club and in the end, maybe that’s what you want an owner to do.
“He’s only been supportive of me. A really switched-on guy – he’s at his best with me when we don’t win, truth be told, which I know hasn’t been too often this season.
“I have regular communication with him and Miltos, obviously Dane and the board, Kyriakos. It’s a real connected group of people, just all wanting the same thing, and we’ve got it.”
Dubbed the richest game in football, the Reds will receive at least £170 million from their promotion to the Premier League – a number that will rise to nearly £300 million if they stay up next season.
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Marinakis has not always been a popular figure among Forest fans but he deserves credit for helping them reach the Premier League after 23 years away.
Dane Murphy’s influence as the East Midlands club’s new CEO, having taken up the role in the summer, is undeniable but it is the Greek’s money that has been spent.
He’s not been shy to back managers and though there has been some questionable decision-making at times, it’s all come together during Cooper’s tenure.
The close relationship that the Welsh coach highlights will be important as the Reds prepare for a season in the Premier League.