Steve Cooper in talks with Nottingham Forest after Chris Hughton sacked by Championship Club | football news
Steve Cooper is in talks with Nottingham Forest about taking over as the new manager following the sacking of Chris Hughton on Thursday.
The former Swansea boss, who just missed a promotion to the Premier League via playoffs last season, is the lead candidate to take charge at Forest after a run of seven games in the championship without a win at the start of the season.
Sky Sports News is told that Cooper’s track record of improving youth players at Liberty Stadium, and his previous work with the FA’s youth teams, makes him particularly attractive in the Forests hierarchy.
Forrest currently has 14 first-team members under the age of 25, including famous striker Brennan Johnson – a summer target for English side Brentford.
Talks between Forrest and Cooper’s representatives are said to be at a relatively early stage, so interim manager Stephen Reed will likely be in charge of Saturday’s showdown with Huddersfield.
Chris Wilder, former Sheffield United chairman, was among the favorites to take over at Forest, but initial talks appear to have highlighted a distance between the two over the financial package available; In terms of wages and player transfers in the future.
Wilder has also been reluctant to take on a side rooted in the bottom of the championship, Sky Sports News understands, and believes his track record at Bramall Lane should put him in line for a job at the top end of the championship table, or even in the Premier League.
After overseeing Forest’s worst start to a single season in 108 years, Houghton’s last game was a 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough at City Ground on Wednesday.
The former Newcastle United, Birmingham City, Norwich City and Houghton boss, who was appointed in October 2020 with Forest’s bottom line in the league with zero points, has become the 19th coach to lose his job at the City Ground since 2011, a continuation of Forest’s trend. They change their boss at least once a year since Billy Davis.
Sabri Lamouchi remains the longest-serving director of the past decade. In charge for a little over 15 months.
Forrest confirmed that first-team coach Reed would take over temporarily after joining the club full-time in August, having previously combined coaching duties with Steve Clark’s staff in Scotland.
Hughton was sacked after winning just 14 of his 53 games, and Forrest said: “The club would like to place on record their appreciation for Chris’ efforts. Chris joined the club in a difficult period for everyone in football and around the world and we thank him for the way he has managed himself during his tenure.
“The search for a permanent successor has begun and the club will update the fans in due course. The club would like to wish Chris all the best in his future career.”
Analysis: What’s next for Forrest?
Sky Sports EFL Editor Simeon Gholam:
“It looked like a dream date for Nottingham Forest when he arrived last year. In fact, it was only a month ago when the club president was describing the takeover as ‘the envy of a number of Premier League clubs’ before the first home game of the season.
“How quickly things can change.
This was a man in Chris Hughton with a near-perfect championship record, winning promotions with Newcastle in 2010 and Brighton in 2017, and taking Birmingham to the playoffs in 2012.
“Football has not always been the most pleasing to the eye, but it usually brings results. However, on this occasion, the patience among the fans quickly faded.
“Now, with the club at the bottom of the championship table, you have to wonder where they are heading next. Forrest has a lopsided squad and he has just sacked the exact type of coach they are looking to recruit in this kind of situation.
Nottingham Forest appointed a new chief executive in the summer as they brought in Dane Murphy after his success in helping Barnsley reach the play-offs. However, the ownership, structure and way of managing the two clubs are very different.
“His next appointment will be decisive. You just have to look at the size of some of the clubs in the first league to know that no club is too big to be relegated to the second division.”
Analysis: deep problems should be unpicked
Sky Sports EFL expert David Bruton:
“It’s not surprising – and I don’t mean it in a cruel way by any means. He’s been there since October last year and in terms of championship, nearly a year is a hell of a long time to try to make things right at a football club.
“I feel like there are a lot of deep-rooted problems out there that need not be picked. Forrest has gone through a huge number of players over the last two or three seasons, with turnover in the ’80s, if I remember that correctly.. but if you look at the team [that played Middlesbrough]This is a team that shouldn’t be at the bottom of the league. This is a team that shouldn’t support the rest of the department and I think Chris – as all managers do when their teams aren’t playing well – paid the price.
“There is a team out there that needs to look at themselves, but after seeing them over the course of this year, after seeing how well they have performed under Sabri Lamouchi in the season that ended so sadly when they missed the play-offs, they played in a way that Chris had to play defensively. And he had to stop what was happening in the back.
“In a couple of the games we covered, it felt like they were settling on point with 70 minutes on the clock, which, when the fans aren’t, is the easiest to do. When they’re indoors, that frustration comes through and I think that was shown very clearly against Middlesbrough, where even sections of the local fans were calling for Chris to go. This is very repugnant but I think, given the open forum which has a football fan base, it was to be expected.
“His credentials are there for all to see. That success he’s had in the second tier – being able to get teams back into the Premier League – has been something Forrest has been screaming for since I first played for them. In the late ’90s. But the succession of teams, players and managers who weren’t Willing to scratch leaves them where they are now.”