The Greek tycoon seems to have the Midas touch in all his deals. He may have spent, in the last five years of owning the club, at least €100m from his personal fortune to take Nottingham Forest to the Premier League, but now, with just one year in the top tier, he will triple their revenue.
Football is one of the abiding passions of Marinakis. Growing up in Greece and England, as he did, it was inevitable that he took a keen interest in those countries’ love of the world’s game. In December 2012, Marinakis’ interest in investing in English football emerged. A year later, he was linked with buying shares in Crystal Palace. He tried to take over Nottingham Forest in 2016 when he expressed interest in buying shares, as the previous owner Fawaz Al Hasawi was accused of making poor decisions. On 18th May, 2017, this culminated in the acquisition of Nottingham Forest. This acquisition was sanctioned by the EFL after a detailed review of the strategy and plan to restore the club to its former glory.
Restoring Nottingham Forest to the top of English football was not easy but, as with all his other enterprises, Marinakis had a long-term plan allied to a professional management team. An essential component of their plan was a recognition of Nottingham Forest’s heritage and a desire to strengthen the club’s links with supporters and all aspects of the local community.
In February 2019, Marinakis, who also owns Greek club Olympiacos, announced exciting plans to redevelop the City Ground Nottingham Forest have called ground their home for the last 120 years and the iconic position of the stadium on the banks of the River Trent has become a true symbol for the City of Nottingham.
The Greek tycoon has embraced this culture by revealing exciting plans to redevelop the stadium and surrounding areas. This project will not only see the City Ground become the largest stadium in the East Midlands, but will also offer world class facilities and hospitality. Most importantly however for the supporters is the fact that they will remain at their home and not relocate to an alternative site; a move away was never considered by Marinakis.
Since acquiring the club in 2017, Marinakis has made an immediate impact on the City of Nottingham by reaching out to the wider community with aid and support. He has made substantial financial contributions to the charitable and community engagement arm of Nottingham Forest Football Club, Nottingham Forest Community Trust, the woman’s team and local homeless charity Framework. In 2018, he helped stage a sleepout event at the stadium which saw the charity raise over £50,000 in funds – a record for the charity. In addition, he also pledged his support to helping the people of the city with his involvement with the local food bank charity ‘Hope’ by hosting food bank collections on matchdays.
When football came to a halt in March 2020 due to the pandemic, Nottingham Forest took it upon themselves to actively support the NHS and the community through a series of initiatives inspired by Marinakis. Over £20,000 was raised for the Nottingham Hospital charity through bespoke t-shirts bearing the NHS and NFFC logos. A partnership was also formed by the club with local foodbank charity, Open Kitchens. During this period, Forest set themselves the task of producing 10,000 hot and healthy meals for the local NHS staff working at the Queens Medical Centre and The City Hospital.
Over 7,000 pieces of PPE were donated via club partner UK Meds and Nottingham CityCare, a local health services provider helping with Nottingham’s fight against coronavirus. The partnership with local homeless charities Framework and Hope Nottingham has gone from strength to strength and after creating designated drop-off points at the City Ground for supporters to donate food parcels for the people in the city on matchdays, the club continued their support during the pandemic. In April 2021, the famous Nottingham Forest shirts uniquely featured the Framework charity logo for a match at Bristol City, with thousands of pounds raised for the charity when the player’s shirts were auctioned to supporters.
It is not only the local community that has embraced Marinakis, supporters have also shown their appreciation by turning out in record numbers. In response to lowering prices for the 2018/19 season the club have seen all-time record season ticket numbers and record attendances. Sell-out crowds continued into the following season, as the club achieved one of the highest average attendance records in the division.
It is thought that an alliance axis between Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest will be created at the top level of the two countries, as is the case with Leipzig and Salzburg, which belong to Red Bull. Another benefit is the expansion of contacts and acquaintances in England and UEFA, along with the growth of the team’s name in world football.
Marinakis operates as the owner/financier /investor. A large slice of the credit for this season’s success also goes to his son, Miltiadis, who focused exclusively on how Nottingham Forest would be able to return to the Premier League. Also pivotal was the contribution of Vangelis Marinakis’ collaborator, Socrates Kominakis, but also of the former Olympiacos director of football, Kyriakos Dourekas.
Marinakis sealed some of the most outstanding football deals in Greek football. Among others, Daniel Podence, sold to Wolves for €25m, Panagiotis Retsos to Bayer Leverkusen for €22m, Kostas Tsimikas to Liverpool for €16m, Luka Milivojevic to Crystal Palace for €15m, Kostas Mitroglou to Fulham for €15m, Kostas Manolas to Roma for €13m, Brown Ideye to Chinese side Tianjin Teda for €11m and Andreas Samaris to Benfica for €10m.
Apart from football, in November 2019, he won the auction for the Greek TV station Mega Channel, offering €33,999,999. In The Lambrakis Press Group S.A, a Greek media company, respectively, Vangelis Marinakis won the competition, offering €22.89m.
In the field of shipping, in April, he sold two container vessels for €195m, with a profit of 35.4 per cent. The shipowner’s net profit from this move was €51m. What is most striking is that as long as he owned the ships, he made a net profit of €45.7m. Add up the profit from management and the net profit from the sale and it equals a total net profit of €96.7m.
In May, Vangelis Marinakis made a net profit of €32m with one move, simply selling the shipbuilding contracts of four ships ordered from Korean shipyards. He struck another impressive deal for Greek standards regarding the TV rights of Olympiacos, which he sold to Cosmote TV for €18m for the next three years.
Marinakis said Nottingham Forest will get the investment they need to recruit top players after they sealed their return to the Premier League. “It’s a magical night, not only for me but for the thousands and even millions of supporters within the United Kingdom and all over the world,” Marinakis said. “As I said nearly five years ago, we have to bring Nottingham Forest back where it belongs. Now we want more. Now we’re back in the Premier League, so we want to be as high as possible. We need to give all the ammunition to the team with good players.”
Already this summer they have made waves, landing goalkeeper Dean Henderson from Manchester United, defender Giulian Biancone from Troyes and striker Taiwo Awoniyi from Union Berlin, in addition locking down Brennan Johnson to a new contract. Guided by the careful hand of Marinaiks, the future looks bright at Nottingham Forest.