Full Name: Steve Cooper
Age: 43
Date Of Birth: December 10, 1979
Height: 5 ft 11
Place Of Birth: Pontypridd
Nationality: Welsh
Nottingham Forest v Manchester United - Premier League
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Nottingham Forest appointed Steve Cooper as their latest manager in September 2021. City Ground chiefs sought to appoint the Welshman as they bid replace Chris Hughton in charge.

The Reds initially awarded Cooper a two-year contract running to June 2023 after striking an agreement with Swansea City. Nottingham Forest owed the Welsh side compensation as the coach remained under contract with the Jacks, despite him leaving the club during July 2021.

Nottingham Forest sought to name Cooper as their latest manager after taking one win from eight games to start the Championship campaign under Hughton. But his plans led the Reds back into the Premier League via the play-offs and saw Cooper land a new deal to June 2025.

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper’s past coaching career

England v Spain - FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 Final
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Cooper accepted Nottingham Forest’s offer to replace Hughton having remained out of work since resigning as the manager of Swansea in July 2021. The coach still had one year left on a three-year contract with the Jacks. But he had developed fears over the direction of the side.

Swansea had ended the 2019/20 and 2020/21 Championship campaigns in the play-offs with Cooper at the helm. He had also won 41 and drawn in 27 of the tactician’s 92 regular-season second-tier fixtures in charge. But the Jacks lost in the play-off semi-finals and then the final.

Brentford beat Swansea 2-0 in the 2020/21 Championship play-off final as the Jacks built on their semi-final heartache from a year earlier. But Cooper no longer believed the Welsh side could improve on their record. While Swansea would end the 2021/22 season in 15th place.

Cooper had never managed a senior team before taking charge of Swansea in July 2019. The Jacks convinced the coach to return to club management after working as England’s Under-16s boss from 2014 to 2015. He was also the Young Lions’ U17s manager from 2015 to 2019.

Each of his previous roles had been in youth football with Cooper starting out as an academy coach at Liverpool in 2008. He rose through the ranks on Merseyside to be an academy boss and their U18s coach. But a 2-1 win against Hull City with Swansea was his first senior game.

Steve Cooper’s coaching career

Nottingham Forest (September 2021 – June 2025 expected)

Swansea City (July 2019 – July 2021)

Under-17s, England (July 2015 – June 2019)

Under-16s, England (October 2014 – June 2015)

Under-18s, Liverpool (August 2012 – June 2013)

Academy, Liverpool (May 2011 – July 2012)

Youth, Liverpool (September 2008 – April 2011)

Steve Cooper’s playing career

Wrexham signed Cooper in 1998 to mark the start of the now-Nottingham Forest manager’s playing career. But the Pontypridd native never featured for the club before moving to Total Network Solutions and extending his career in Wales at Rhyl, Bangor City and Porthmadog.

Cooper joined Wrexham at 16 years old and impressed Brian Flynn with his application and dedication. But the competition to feature in the Red Dragons’ defence proved too much of a challenge. While Flynn later recommend to Cooper that he explored a career in coaching.

“I think when he was about 20, he came to me and said: ‘Things are not going great but I want to stay in football’,” Flynn told BBC Sport in July 2020. “I said: ‘Coaching is the next course and you need to take your badges’. He was young but that’s the best time to start.”

Liverpool later caught wind of Cooper’s efforts behind the scenes at Wrexham and offered him a job. From there, he went on to forge a career that has featured guiding England to a U17 World Cup title in 2017. His team also included Jadon Sancho and Morgan Gibbs-White.

Steve Cooper at Nottingham Forest

Huddersfield Town v Nottingham Forest - Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final
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Nottingham Forest appointed Cooper as the club’s latest manager to replace Hughton as the Reds sat bottom of the Championship. One win from eight games to start the season left the club 14 points off early leaders AFC Bournemouth. The play-off spots were nine points away.

Yet Cooper’s plans saw Nottingham Forest claim more points than any other second-tier side over the remainder of the campaign. The Reds secured 76 points from 38 games to finish the term in fourth. They were only eight points shy of Bournemouth and automatic promotion.

A 3-2 win on penalties over Sheffield United then secured Nottingham Forest a place in the play-off final. The two teams had drawn 3-3 on aggregate after extra time with both winning a leg 2-1. While Levi Colwill’s own goal saw the Reds beat Huddersfield Town to seal promotion.

Along with securing Nottingham Forest a place in the Premier League for the first time since 1998/99, Cooper’s work as their manager saw the Reds advance to the FA Cup quarter-finals in 2021/22. The club had not progressed as far in the competition since the 1995/96 season.

Their path to the quarter-finals included beating Arsenal and Leicester City before losing 1-0 to Liverpool. While Cooper continued his cup magic as the manager of Nottingham Forest to lead the Reds to the English Football League Cup (EFL Cup) semi-finals in the 2022/23 term.