When the team lost, the owner left first. He threw his ticket into the bushes and ran off.
“Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis threw away his ticket and left the stadium early before the end of the game,” The Sun reported on July 7.
Mr. Marinakis is a Greek media mogul and a member of the council of the Greek city of Piraeus. He officially became the owner of Nottingham Forest in 2017. He is also the owner of Olympiakos, the Greek club where Hwang In-bum and Hwang Eui-jo once played. He first got involved in soccer in 2010 as the president of Olympiakos, a club with ties to his hometown of Piraeus.
According to global sports media outlet The Athletic, Marinakis loves Nottingham so much that when he took over, he announced plans to take the club to the UEFA club competitions within five years and to build and renovate a new training center and stadium. He has also invested heavily in the club’s future, winning promotion to the Premier League in 2022, the club’s first in 23 years.
The Athletic gave Marinakis an exclusive interview at the time of promotion, calling him the father figure of Nottingham’s promotion to the top flight.
However, a string of disappointing Nottingham performances have left the owner firmly in the firing line. “(Nottingham) Forest have won just one game in their last 11 and have slipped to 16th in the Premier League,” according to The Sun. They also suffered a “crushing defeat” at home to Fulham, 0-5.
In the end, Marinakis didn’t last long and left the field.
“Marinakis was spotted leaving Craven Cottage (Fulham’s home ground) before the end of the game,” the outlet said, “and his ticket was found somewhere in the bushes.” The ticket, which was found by a fan, had a picture of Marinakis and the title of owner. According to the fan, the ticket was discarded in the bushes of someone’s home garden.
Forest is not the only club he owns to suffer.
Olympiakos also suffered a 0-5 defeat in the fifth leg of their 2023/24 UEFA Europa League group stage match against German Bundesliga side SC Freiburg on Monday. “Surely this December is going to be a disaster for Marinakis,” one fan joked.
What’s surprising is that Nottingham head coach Steve Cooper is still getting strong support from fans despite the poor performance.
In his post-match press conference, Cooper offered a sincere apology, saying, “I’m very grateful for the support, but I’m honestly very embarrassed,” adding, “I don’t deserve that support and the fans don’t deserve to see me play so poorly.”
As Cooper, Nottingham’s manager since 2021, hangs his head in shame over the team’s disastrous run, the owner angrily throws away his ticket and sends him home early. The owner’s choice between fan support and declining performance will be closely watched.