Nottingham Forest are one of the most famous clubs in England but they haven’t been in the Premier League for a long time.

Two-time Champions of Europe, they’ve won the FA Cup twice and were once mainstays of the top-flight.

For todays generation, Forest winning the Champions League feels like an impossible dream

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For todays generation, Forest winning the Champions League feels like an impossible dream

But under Brian Clough, the club won back-to-back European Cups

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But under Brian Clough, the club won back-to-back European Cups

However, they have been starved of time in the Premier League, but things could change this year.

Forest book their place in the Championship play-off final by beating Sheffield United on penalties and will now face Huddersfield for the chance to go up.

With that in mind, talkSPORT.com has looked at when Nottingham Forest were last in the English top flight and why manager Steve Cooper could be the man to get them back.

Once upon a time in the Premier League…

The Tricky Trees were part of the inaugural Premier League season but they finished rock bottom with 40 points.

They won promotion the following year and the 1994/95 campaign was a thrilling spectacle for those at the City Ground as Forest finished third on 77 points.

Stan Collymore was the star, scoring 22 goals and Forest secured their biggest ever Premier League win that season when they thumped Sheffield Wednesday 7-1 at Hillsborough.

Manager Cooper has transformed Forest from relegation candidates into a promotion-chasing side

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Manager Cooper has transformed Forest from relegation candidates into a promotion-chasing side

This result meant they became the first Premier League side to score seven goals away from home.

The following year, Forest finished ninth before they were relegated in the 1996/97 season, winning just six games but managing 16 draws.

They returned as champions, but the 1998/99 season proved to be their final in the top flight as they ended the season with 30 points and finished bottom for the third time in their Premier League history.

However, there was to be no quick return and they have been out of the top flight since and even slipped into League One in 2005, spending three seasons in the third tier.

This means it is now 23 years since Forest last played in the Premier League, so there will be a lot of supporters – and players – who either can’t remember the club in the Premier League or weren’t even born.

Defender Djed Spence, for example, was born in 2000.

Spence is only 21 but been a key player in his loan from Boro

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Spence is only 21 but been a key player in his loan from Boro

Super Cooper

The former Swansea manager’s first game in charge of Forest was at the end of September against Millwall.

At that point, the club had collected four points and were sat in 23rd place.

They drew 1-1, and since then, they haven’t looked back.

In that time, they have only lost six league matches and drawn another ten.

Cooper has found a way to win, and he has put his faith into the likes of Brennan Johnson, Djed Spence and James Garner.

This a young, talented squad who have invested themselves in Cooper’s ideas and look unstoppable at the moment.

Johnson has been a star performer this year for Forest

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Johnson has been a star performer this year for Forest

It’s a good time to be a Forest fan right now

Getty

It’s a good time to be a Forest fan right now

But Forest haven’t just been performing in the league and held their own against top Premier League opponents in the FA Cup this term, beating Arsenal and thrashing Leicester, while only narrowly losing to Liverpool.

When he took over Forest, the play-offs seemed a distant dream, but that’s where they have ended up and are now planning for their Wembley trip.

“Am I enjoying the journey? Yes, I have enjoyed it from day one,” Cooper said.

“How could you not? Every day it is brilliant to be here. I love coming into work.

“When we win I feel on top of the world. When we lose, it hurts. When it hurts, you know that something matters to you.

“That is really important.

“If we do it, I will tell you what it means to me…”

The future looks very bright and it’s all thanks to the man from Pontypridd.

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