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Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty found dead


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Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty found dead

Nottingham Forest owner Nigel Doughty has been found dead in the gym at his home in Skillington, Lincolnshire.

In October, Doughty, 54, announced he would be stepping down as Forest chairman at the end of the season .

He bought the club in 1999 for £11m, saving them from administration, and took over as chairman from Eric Barnes three years later.

The life-long Forest fan is estimated to have invested more than £100m of his personal fortune into the club.

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Sad news. There has been no word of any illness although he did stand down rather suddenly so who knows. Given the circumstances I guess a heart attack is quite possible.

I really fear for the club now but for the moment those fears can wait, RIP Nigel Doughty.

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Nigel Doughty leaves strong legacy at Nottingham Forest

Nigel Doughty was a man who loved Nottingham Forest and always had their best interests at heart.

He was the first to admit he made mistakes during his reign as chairman. But perhaps that just goes to show the humility of someone almost universally described in glowing terms following his untimely death on Saturday.

Whether Forest fans agreed with his footballing decisions or not, the tributes all fondly remember a "gentle giant" who was kind, generous, unassuming and humble in equal measure.

He loved everything to do with the club. He would come into the changing rooms and mingle and you wouldn't know he was the chairman. I have never known anybody ever say anything bad about Nigel Doughty

Dexter Blackstock

Forest striker

Dexter Blackstock leads Forest players' tribute

His ever-smiling presence has certainly been missed at the City Ground over the past few months.

The tall and amiable figure had been, to coin a footballing term, a virtual ever-present for Reds matches throughout not only his time in charge of the club, but prior to that as a fan.

Doughty's association with Forest goes back to his days as a schoolboy in Newark. By the time he had taken on responsibility for financially supporting it and running it, he had been a season-ticket holder for 40 years.

What many perhaps do not know, is that on the rare occasions when he was forced to be away from a game, he would watch it live via an internet connection, listen to it on the radio, or both.

When neither of those have been possible, when he has been in some far-flung corner of the globe, I have known him go to extraordinary lengths to rig up some kind of phone connection next to a radio, just to ensure he could keep across his beloved Reds.

How sad it is, then, that he died feeling that after the events of last October, when he stood down as chairman, he was no longer able to show his face at the City Ground. The last time he saw them in the flesh was in that dismal defeat by Birmingham City that day.

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Nigel Doughty "will be missed by many people" said Ken Clarke MP

Nigel Doughty was a private person. He shunned the media spotlight, and so it was several years after he took over that pictures of him even emerged.

Radio and television interviews were something he tolerated on an occasional basis. He preferred to let his manager do the talking and his players do the playing, but when he spoke, people listened.

Knowing this, I will never forget the pleasant surprise on a cold winter's day at Oldham, when standing chatting to him near the tunnel before the players had arrived, he turned to me and said: "Do you want to interview me, then?"

It was by no means our first or last chat across a microphone, but in terms of unexpectedness, it was certainly the most surprising.

An £11million investment back in 1999 ensured Nigel Doughty's place in Forest history. That money kept Forest afloat. It staved off the very real and imminent threat of administration, but it was far from the end of his financial commitment.

In addition to that first tranche of money, £64million had been loaned, without a penny in repayment, up to the last published set of club accounts. After his withdrawal from the chairman's post in October, his promise to honour all his liabilities adds an estimated further £25million to the total.

And if one part of his legacy is the very existence of the club, another is the vastly improved academy for young players. Always close to his heart, coaches at the club acknowledge that his money has turned the Reds' academy into a place much admired within football.

What he gave to the club from his own personal wealth and his time can never be forgotten. Only good things will ever come from when Nigel Doughty is in the conversation

Luke Chambers

Forest captain

Critics have pointed to a failure to achieve his stated objective: to return the club to the Premier League. It hurts supporters that he was unsuccessful in that aim.

As a supporter, and as a man who has done more financially for the club than anyone on the planet, imagine, then, how much it hurt him - not only to see them still in the Championship, but languishing at the foot of it?

Nigel Doughty was a man I found to be friendly and full of smiles. I will miss his cheery wave from the directors' box.

If Forest want to find a fitting tribute to the man to whom they owe so much, staying in the Championship would be a very good place to start.

Blackstock leads tributes

Dexter Blackstock leads tributes to Nigel Doughty

Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock says his abiding memory of Nigel Doughty is of a man who remained humble despite his wealth and success.

The Reds owner, whose personal fortune was estimated at around £130m, died at his Lincolnshire home on Saturday.

Blackstock said: "Before you meet these people, maybe you think they will be ruthless and a bit arrogant.

"But Nigel was such a nice, nice man. I have never known anybody ever say anything bad about Nigel Doughty."

Doughty, 54, ploughed upwards of £70m into the club he supported from childhood.

But Blackstock said Doughty's financial backing only told part of the story.

He looked like he didn't have a bad bone in his body. To be so successful in a cut-throat business and to keep his personality and be so kind to people was a credit to him

Dexter Blackstock

"Nigel Doughty gave so much for the club and had so much passion for it," the former England Under-21 striker said.

"He loved everything to do with the football club. He would come into the changing rooms and he would just mingle in and you wouldn't know he was the chairman of the club.

"I will remember him as a great man. Put aside all the money he put into the club - that is one thing - but his love for the club was even more than the money and that is what will always stick with me.

"He looked like he didn't have a bad bone in his body. To be so successful in a cut-throat business and to keep his personality and be so kind to people was a credit to him."

Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp said: "It was terrible to hear. He was larger than life, with his position in society and the the size of him.

"He was a Nottinghamshire boy, he was self-made. He will go down in Nottingham Forest's history and the football club should always be indebted to his commitment.

"Nigel was a friendly, warm and humble man. He was a gentleman, he always took his time to speak to you and always made you feel welcome.

"From the day I walked into the football club he was great to me."

Captain Luke Chambers was another player devastated by Doughty's death .

"I feel utter shock," he said.

"I have known Nigel pretty well over the last five years. My wishes go out to his family and friends. He signed me and every time I met him he only had good things to say. My relationship with him was first class. I could not speak more highly of the man, and what he did for the club.

"He came in when the club was in a bit of turmoil and steadied the ship. We can look back on his time as a successful time.

"He can only be remembered in a positive light. What he gave to the club from his own personal wealth and his time can never be forgotten. Only good things will ever come from when Nigel Doughty is in the conversation."

Garry Birtles former Forest striker and tv pundit told BBC Radio Nottingham: "I'm overwhelmed and stunned. It's tragic.

"He'll be remembered with a great deal of fondness. He's a Forest fan and when he came the club was in need of massive help financially. He is not a consortium. He put about £70m or £80m of his own money in. He backed the football club and tried to get it into the Premier League.

"He has been a fantastic benefactor to the club. I just hope everybody remembers that and realises what position the club would be in if he hadn't taken over when he had.

"This puts football into perspective. Who cares about about football when you hear this tragic news about Nigel Doughty?

"He never courted publicity or limelight, he let other people do that. He was a softly spoken man, very family orientated and loved the football club. He was a very successful businessman but never bragged about it.

"He never came across as anything other than genuine."

Seems from the outside as a genuine fan who tried his best to take Forest to the promised land, and failed.

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That about covers it Paulo, he was by all accounts a nice bloke and one who really stuck his hands deep in his pockets for his club. The Forest fans never much liked the guy, they all seem to blame him for them not reaching the PL, for not backing Billy Davies more when they came so close for a couple of seasons. Echo's of Randy and Villa perhaps only he didn't have a tattoo and was a genuine fan and self made man.

As for leaving a strong legacy I'm really not so sure, he was personally bank rolling the club to the tune of £1m a month and without him the future is pretty bleak. They are more than likely heading down this season and without someone like him to put a personal fortune into them I don't know how they will get back to the Championship let alone the PL.

There are some very dark days ahead for Forest as far as I can see following the loss of their biggest supporter.

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It is a very sad story, you would be hard pushed in these parts to find anyone who knew him (and I know a few in that category) that have anything bad to say about him and that pre-dates his sad passing.

I've always been fond of Forest even more so since living so close to their ground its a really nice club with decent fans and I feel for them I hate to think what the future has in store for them.

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