Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says he will take the 'memory' of Brian Clough to Wembley

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Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says his side will take the ‘legacy and memory’ of manager Brian Clough with them to Wembley as they look to secure their long-awaited return to the Premier League

  • Steve Cooper says he side will take the ‘memory’ of Brian Clough to Wembley 
  • Nottingham Forest take on Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final 
  • Cooper reinforced the importance of Clough’s legacy that remains at Forest 
  • Clough led Forest to two European Cup titles during his time as manager 

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper says his side will take the memory of manager Brian Clough with them to Wembley as they look to secure their long-awaited return to the Premier League.

Forest have not played at Wembley since Clough led them to four successive domestic cup finals between 1989 and 1992 — and have not played in the top flight in 23 years.

Cooper’s men return this afternoon where they face Huddersfield Town in the Championship play-off final for a place in the Premier League, and he insists Clough will be with them.

Steve Cooper says his side will take the 'memory' of Brian Clough with them to Wembley

Steve Cooper says his side will take the ‘memory’ of Brian Clough with them to Wembley

‘His legacy and memory and history won’t just be with us on Sunday — it’s here every day,’ said Cooper on the eve of the biggest day in the club’s recent history. ‘When you come to the training ground, the first person you see is Brian Clough. And rightly so. It always should be.

‘We will take all of that with us down to Wembley and be as united and unified as possible, together with our history, to give us the best chance to win a really important football game.’

In his eight months at the club, Cooper has embraced the rich history of Forest and lifted them from bottom of the Championship to one game away from promotion.

He invited a host of former Forest stars, including double European Cup-winners such as John Robertson, to enjoy a barbecue with the current players and their families last Saturday.

Brian Clough led Nottingham Forest to two European Cup titles during his time as manager

Brian Clough led Nottingham Forest to two European Cup titles during his time as manager

‘It’s a real respect for their contribution to what the club stands for,’ says Cooper.

‘The club is what it is because of eras like that. Those guys played a massive part in creating that so I want to tap into it, I want to feel it, I want to understand it.

‘To do that, you have to try and bring them to be as visible as they can. It is something we want to embrace and not be fearful of.’

Forest want to embrace their history but they are also desperate to create their own. Midfielder Ryan Yates was just 18 months old when the club last played in the Premier League.

Ryan Yates came through the Forest academy and will now play in a play-off final for the club

Ryan Yates came through the Forest academy and will now play in a play-off final for the club

Yates has supported the club all his life and he came through the Forest academy. Now aged 24, Yates has been one of Forest’s key men this season. He knows how much today means.

‘They have played in European Cup finals,’ said Yates of the club’s legends. ‘They know that they’ve been there and done it.

‘So it’s great to embrace that. We’re looking forward to creating our own history now.’

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