My name is Abdulaziz Al-Hasawi – one of the new owners of this great club with my brother Fawaz and cousin Omar. We’re all very excited to have you here and offer our warm welcome to you all.
We would like to start by offering thanks to the Doughty family and their legal team for the smooth transition. To our own advisors for their role in this. And finally to the Football League for its gracious acceptance of our family’s ownership.
We are here because we felt that the club, with its rich history in this wonderful city, was an ideal place for us to use our years of footballing experience and passion for the English game.
This club is one of the best in the world, and we intend on working hard to improve its global standing. It is important to remember that running a football club is a marathon, not a sprint.
Earlier this week, the club parted company with Steve Cotterill. He was a good steward for Nottingham Forest in difficult times. But we felt that fresh ownership required a fresh start.
What is of foremost importance to us is the security of the club and development of its excellent players and staff. One of our main hopes is therefore to raise investment in the newly named Nigel Doughty Academy. We look forward to producing top quality players who will lead The Reds to many future victories.
We know that for most football clubs, success does not happen overnight. That’s why we are here for the long haul.
We believe in this club and are great fans of it. And so we want to conclude with this message. We are here to make a difference. We want a fun and exciting football team that we can all be proud of. And to ensure that on matchdays, there’s nowhere our fans would rather be than here. In the City Ground. Watching Nottingham Forest play.
Can you tell us what your ultimate ambitions are with Forest – however long that may take?
Well, we’ve come to this club and we’re really proud to be here. We’ve come to the club, putting down a three to five-year business plan to develop the club and bring it back where it should be. So we’re very much looking forward to that.
That would, presumably, be the Premier League?
Well, we’re hoping for that. We’re going to work very hard for that. It’s going to require a great deal of hard word – sacrifice – but this is very much our target, our ambition.
How soon do you think you might be able to replace Steve Cotterill as manager?
We are now in discussion with four to five well-known figures in the football world that have a perfect understanding of this league. And we hope within a week all matters should be finalised and it will all be revealed to everyone.
Have you had applications or have you actively gone out and searched for a manager?
We’ve selected the best in the business. That’s what we’re looking for.
Who are you calling upon to help you?
We have our own judgement and our own consultants, we have our people who can advise us on who’s available.
Have you met with people already?
We’re starting to meet within a day from now. We have to secure this issue within the next three to four days because we have to get started.
Are you going to be a Manchester City?
We’d like to be. But we’re in a different league. We do have ambitions, we do have hopes, but we will start and someday, yes, we will probably play with Manchester City or Manchester United.
Is there oodles of money here? People don’t quite know how to judge this takeover…
It’s not all about money, it’s more about passion isn’t it? Football is really in our blood, we’ve been following football since we’ve been very young. My brother Fawaz has been involved in football for almost 15 years so he has a big input in this. Certainly this isn’t easy, we fully understand what’s up ahead and we accept the challenges.
This is about passion and not profit?
Not really, it’s purely passion.
What’s your involvement in football Fawaz?
Fawaz: I was president of Qadsia club in Kuwait and I was member of the board for 15 years, one of the biggest clubs in Kuwait, and I worked seven years as a manager for the team. We did well in competitions in Kuwait and also Asia and the Gulf. It’s a bit different but it’s a challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.
Will there be money available for the new manager? And, if so, how much?
This is something that cannot be disclosed, we are discussing this matter with each one of them and we respect very much each one of them.
What’s your plan to take this club back to the Premier League?
This is a long-term business plan which we are working on and obviously when the new manager comes in we are going to be sitting with him and discussing this whole plan. Within maybe a few years from now we should have something positive.
Do you have any plans to bring any Arabic players here?
Talent is all over the world. We are looking for talent – the best we can find – for our dear club. The number one say here is the manager. We will look everywhere and the manager will assist and evaluate and decide what’s best for the club.
There are reports that a couple of Qadsia players will be joining or coming for trials. Can you confirm if any Kuwaiti players are coming?
Fawaz: We are bringing players to London within a couple of days and they will be on trial for a month here… We are not the ones who are going to choose them, this will be in the coach’s hand. He will decide if he’s going to sign them or not, because this is going to be a trial for them.
You’re very much going down the route of a traditional English club with the manager making decisions, rather than a director of football set-up?
We will follow tradition, it will never change. It’s the same thing back home, nobody interferes with the manager’s decision. In order for you to have a successful team you have to allow the manager full authority to do his job.
Have you spoken to Glenn Hoddle?
No we have not.
Have you spoken to Harry Redknapp or his advisor?
I cannot reveal that. We have just been talking to many people.
Why, in particular, Nottingham Forest?
We have been approached by many clubs to acquire in the past. We are quite picky in what we choose. We find that Nottingham is a very important club. Although it’s in the second division, it’s still a great club. The achievements are there, the history’s there. We hoped it would be the right club for us to take on and bring back.
We’ve seen other clubs in this area invest a lot of money, particularly Leicester City, and they haven’t got where they wanted to go. If that happens to you will you continue to stay loyal to the club?
Of course. Again, we are expressing our passion not our financial interest in this establishment. We are staying and we are going to make sure that this club gets back to where it should be. So look out everyone.
Can you see the potential – away from the football, off the field – to develop the club rather than the football team here as well?
Well yes, of course. We just came in to Forest, we have the honour of being here now. Our main focus is to develop the backbone of this whole establishment, which is the football team. So this is really our main focus and our main concern. But certainly we are looking in the other direction of other developments.
Because of Financial Fair Play coming into the English game, it’s more important, if you can, to generate more revenue off the field?
Revenue is good, everyone would want to generate revenue. But our main concern is to develop the team, this is really what we are focusing on at the moment. We want to bring the morale back to the team, we want to bring victory back to the team, we want our fans to come back again.
And speaking of the fans, have you been pleased by the reaction you’ve had so far?
Very much so, it was a very nice experience shaking everybody’s hands and we’re really very happy.
Who will be doing what, will you be the chairman?
The way we work, there is no chairman, we work as a team, this is how we do business everywhere we go. We work as a team but we are going to be a part of this establishment all the time and we will not leave it alone.
How well known is Brian Clough in Kuwait?
Very well, he’s an iconic name, he’s a very well-known name. We are just sad not having him with us, it would be a great honour to be working with someone like Brian Clough.
Obviously, at the moment, Frank Clark is chairman of the club, there are people like Mark Arthur, John Pelling here on the board. How will the club hierarchy work out?
Mark Arthur is a very active person, he’s with us as well, he will remain with us. He’s a very important figure in our club. Mr Clark will remain with us and he will be the ambassador to Nottingham Forest football club and he will be close by us all the time. We really admire this man and we respect him quite highly.
What were your achievements with Qadsia in Kuwait?
Fawaz: When I was a member of the board from 1997 till 2012, we won around 27 competitions – the league, Emir Cup, Prime Minister Cup, two times we won the Gulf Cup, also we played in the semi-final for Asia.