Steve Cooper Profile
|Born||Dec 10, 1979|
Steve Cooper is a Welsh football manager and former player. He is the current head coach of Nottingham Forest having previously managed Swansea City and the England under-16 and under-17 set-ups.
With a relatively unimpressive playing career, highlighted by a two-year stint at Bangor City, Cooper's prowess comes via his coaching skills which have made him a highly sought after manager.
His notable work with the England youth teams included leading the under-17s to the final of the European Championship and victory in the World Cup. This success encouraged Swansea City to offer Cooper his first managerial role at club level in 2019.
In Cooper's two seasons at the South Wales outfit, he twice took the Swans to the play-offs. In his first season they lost out in the semi-finals to Brentford, who would again beat Cooper's side the next year, this time in the final. He left Swansea by mutual consent in the summer of 2021.
In September 2021 he was appointed head coach of Nottingham Forest, taking the club from the relegation zone to the play-offs, where they beat Huddersfield at Wembley. Forest had spent 20 seasons in the second tier prior to his arrival.
Steve Cooper's early coaching career
While still playing for Wrexham, Cooper trained to earn his UEFA pro license which he attained at 27, making him one of the youngest ever coaches to do so.
He went on to take up a position at Wrexham's academy as head of youth development and later moved to Liverpool in 2008 to work as a coach.
After three years, Cooper was promoted to academy manager. He left in 2014 when the opportunity to manage England's under-17s arose.
In 2017, he coached his under-17s to the final of the UEFA European U17 Championship, losing out to Spain on penalties. Redemption came at the U17 World Cup, where again his team reached the final, this time hammering Spain 5-2.
Steve Cooper's club career
After five years managing the England youth set-up, Cooper was enticed by a job at Championship side Swansea City at the end of the 2018/19 season.
In his two seasons at the club, his knowledge of England's talented youth set-up allowed him to sign players such as Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi, both of whom have gone on to represent the England first team.
In a dramatic end to his first season at the club, Swansea reached the play-offs on the final matchday of the season. A 91st-minute goal from Wayne Routledge secured a 4-1 victory over Reading but more crucially gave his side a superior goal difference to Nottingham Forest to pip the East Midlands club to sixth place.
However despite a 1-0 win over Brentford in the first leg of the semi-finals, the Swans were defeated 3-1 at Griffin Park and missed out on the final.
In his second season, Cooper again guided his team into the play-offs with a much more comfortable fourth-placed finish.
A 2-1 aggregate win over |Barnsley saw them into the final. However, once again, Cooper couldn't get the better of Thomas Frank's Brentford as they were beaten 2-0 at Wembley.
A little over a month after the defeat, Swansea announced that Cooper would not be renewing his contract and would be leaving the club.
Transforming Nottingham Forest
In September 2021, Chris Hughton was fired from his role as Nottingham Forest manager, with the club enduring their worst start to a season in over a century.
Forest were bottom of the table having taken only one point from their opening seven games. On September 21, Steve Cooper was named as Hughton's successor.
Almost immediately, Cooper transformed Forest and they began to rise up the table.
His expertise once again came into play during the January transfer window, signing young talented forwards Sam Surridge and Keinan Davis, as well as experienced centre-half Steve Cook - additions which would ultimately propel the club to the top end of the table.
In the 35 matches following his appointment, Forest picked up a remarkable 72 points.
With two games remaining, Forest were just three points off the automatic promotion spots. However, defeat at Bournemouth meant Cooper would once again have to go down the play-off route.
Forest earned a 2-1 at Bramall Lane in the first leg of their semi-final against Sheffield United.
However, Cooper's play-off curse seemed to be in full effect as a second-half comeback from the Blades saw the tie finish 3-3. Extra-time couldn't split the sides and it went down to a penalty shootout, in which Forest keeper Brice Samba's heroics sent his side to Wembley for the first time since 1992.
Forest defeated Huddersfield Town 1-0 in the final, meaning a first Premier League this century, with Cooper achieving something Forest managers before him had failed to do.
Steve Cooper News
- Nov 10, 2022