It has only been a week since he was appointed as Nottingham Forest’s new head coach, but Steve Cooper has already fully embraced life on Trentside.
On Saturday afternoon, he wandered out the tunnel with five minutes until kick-off, and made his way over to the technical area for the second time.
The first time he did so came at 2:30pm, joining his new assistant, Alan Tate on the sidelines, watching his side practice their shooting and finishing their pre-match warm-up duties.
Only a smattering of fans had made their way into the City Ground at the time, but a warm applause was received, as he watched on with eager eyes at his players’ pre-match application and preparation.
Before the game kicked off, Forest fans welcomed Cooper in the way they know how to. Over 25,000 supporters sang their famous pre-match anthem “Mull of Kintyre” – creating an atmosphere their new head coach described as “powerful” after the match.
Forest picked up a point in their first game of Cooper’s tenure, on a day where most of the Welshman’s family were there to witness his first game at the helm of the Reds.
After that result – a 1-1 draw with Millwall – Cooper was seen chatting to several fans post-match, signing autographs and introducing himself to the people he often refers to as the most important factor of any football club.
They have taken to Cooper already, and the 41-year-old has taken to them, too.
“I think it’s really important (to have a connection with them),” he said.
“I know the best way of doing that is to make them feel proud of the team they are watching and the performances. That will always be the biggest factor, and that’s a big aim of ours and mine for sure.
“It’s been great. I like meeting people. We want to show humility, we want to show that we are altogether, and it’s something that I don’t think is hard to do.
“You just have to make time for people, particularly if they show a bit of interest in you. We want to be decent people, we want to represent the traditions and the values of the club to the level that they deserve.
“I think a big part of that is to make sure we connect with the supporters. On the pitch is the most important factor, but if we can do some other stuff around that, we would be more than willing.
“I want to have a real understanding of everything around the club, the city and what it means to be a local around here.”
Cooper will be hoping to reward a sold-out away end at Oakwell with a win tomorrow night, as the Reds take on Barnsley in their 10th game of the campaign.