The Warmdown: Nottingham Forest are Premier League
Brennan Johnson, Ryan Yates, Alex Mighten, Jordan Smith, and Joe Worrall of Nottingham Forest celebrates promotion to the Premier League during the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final between Huddersfield Town and Nottingham Forest at Wembley Stadium, London on Sunday 29th May 2022. (Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A look at the main aspects of the game in question would be suitable for an article like this, but the outcome is far more important than the performances in question.

From League One thoughts to Premier League reality

Nottingham Forest have been out of the Premier League for 23 years. A sizable portion of the 36,000 Wembley fans have yet to see their beloved team kick a Premier League ball. A fine majority have seen the Reds in League One before even thinking about the top flight.

There was a sense that this would be Nottingham Forest's year, but after the heartbreak, the time spent out of the Premier League, and the worst start to a season in 108 years, nobody expected it to end like this at the start of the campaign.

The thought of League One began to seep back into Forest fans' heads on that chilly, wet night at the City Ground, where Forest lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough. Chris Hughton had taken just one point from seven games. After such a poor start, no team in the Championship has ever finished higher than 14th.

Chris Hughton, who had previously guided two teams to the Premier League, looked like he would relegate this team to League One. The only three managers who came close to making dreams come true were Billy Davies, Airor Karanka, and Sabri Lamouchi. Nobody seemed to be able to pull it off, and Nottingham's prospects began to dwindle at the start of the season. Prior to the arrival of Steve Cooper.

The Forest manager has taken this team from the bottom of the Championship to the Premier League with a 60 percent win rate.

How Forest sealed promotion

Forest rode their luck in the final against Huddersfield Town, but they've had a lot of terrible luck this season and in previous seasons. Nottingham Forest's time had come.

Huddersfield may have had penalty appeals, but they had no shots on target in the end. Forest dominated the game for the most part and defended admirably when it was necessary. This final was not a six-goal thriller; it always seemed like the opening goal would win it, and it did.

Forest played a patient game throughout, but still struggled to find that final ball. However, just as half time was approaching, James Garner, like he has many times this season, put an exceptionally dangerous ball into the box that led to a goal. It came off Levi Colwill in the end and went past Lee Nicholls into the Huddersfield net as the west end of Wembley erupted.

A whole half of football came after that, and Nottingham Forest fans kept looking at the clock. Thirty minutes from the Premier League. Fifteen minutes from the Premier League. Six minutes from the Premier League. And then, it finally happened.

The red half of Wembley erupted in pleasure and pride, but also relief and disbelief. A 25-year-old man who has only seen Forest play in the Championship or League One could have stood next to a 65-year-old woman who has seen it all and felt the exact same emotion. It had all come to a head after 23 years of heartbreak and desperation.

Not only have Steve Cooper, Evangelos Marinakis, Dane Murphy, the team, and the backroom staff brought Premier League football back to Nottingham, but they have also rewritten history. A day Nottingham Forest football club will never forget. 

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