Nottingham Forest supporters trust chairman Elliott Stanley hopes a “good feeling” will return to the City Ground after Evangelos Marinakis’ takeover.
The Olympiakos owner’s buyout ended Fawaz Al Hasawi’s five-year reign in charge of the Championship club, marred in its latter stages by fans’ protests.
“People had begun to feel very ostracised. A lot walked away,” Stanley told BBC Radio Nottingham.
“I would like to see some of the pride restored in the football club.”
He added: “We’ve always been quite a close-knit group, and that seems to have ebbed away over recent years. I really hope some of the good feeling can come back.”
Forest survived on the final day of the season with a 3-0 home win over Ipswich in front of 28,249 fans, but the Reds only averaged crowds of 20,333 over the course of the campaign.
Marinakis is facing accusations of match-fixing in Greece, which he denies, but has passed the English Football League’s owners’ and directors’ test.
His first moves in charge – appointing a chairman, Nicholas Randall QC, and a CEO, Ioannis Vrentzos, plus extending the contract of director of football Frank McParland – were welcomed by Stanley.
“These aren’t token appointments, these are genuine big hitters that can push the club forward,” he added.
“I think you can see the emergence of the structure that’s been sadly lacking for the last five years, when – apart from a period of five months – there was not even a CEO in place.”
‘Two thumbs up’ from Faulkner
The only chief executive appointed by Hasawi was Paul Faulkner, who arrived in September 2014 after a spell in the same role at Aston Villa.
He left the following February and told BBC Radio Nottingham he had been disillusioned by Hasawi’s running of the club.
“I didn’t feel that there was the opportunity to implement the structures I thought were needed to give the club some stability and set it on the right path. It was a frustrating period,” he said.
“That’s why I decided to leave. I didn’t want to be there if I wasn’t able to do the job properly.
“But it’s any owner’s prerogative to run their business in the way that they want to, and that’s exactly what Fawaz did. Sadly, it was just to the detriment of the club and himself.
“It’s very early days but things seem to be have been very well handled.
“He got out in front of the media, made a number of appointments with a chairman and a CEO, and extending Frank McParland’s contract as well. In terms of work done, I’d give it two thumbs up.”
More reaction to the takeover
Former Nottingham Forest defender, and BBC Radio Nottingham co-commentator, Brian Laws
It’s been a long time coming. Fawaz tried so hard to achieve what he wanted to do, but it’s been such a disaster.
This takeover is brilliant news for everybody, especially the manager. It was interesting to hear that he [Marinakis] played a significant part in appointing Mark Warburton.
The most important thing is the club has a new owner and a new direction.
It can’t be any worse than what’s happened in the last 12 months, it’s impossible. Expectations have been so low. I’m not asking to be promoted, just for some consistency and transparency. I’d like to see progress, and then eventually you will get there.
Thanos Sarris, Greek journalist and Nottingham Forest fan
The club will be functioning in a totally different level of organisational structure.
Under Fawaz’s regime there were a series of mistakes in terms of transfers and managers, mostly because the decision makers did not have the knowledge and experience to perform in a highly competitive environment. I think this won’t be the case anymore.
There are already executives with experience and contacts, they know how to do things in football. If there weren’t any restrictions with Financial Fair Play I think there would be a lot more transfer funds in the summer.