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Sky Sports apologise to Nottingham Forest after comedian mocks Steve Cooper’s appearance

Sky Sports apologise to Nottingham Forest after a comedian mocks Steve Cooper’s appearance on the new Fantasy Football show.

A ‘comedy’ sketch took viewers inside the Forest dressing room for the signing of Serge Aurier, with presenter Elis James significantly changing the look of his face, with one eye almost closed, in an attempt to get laughs.

Nottingham Forest, and the senior executives at the broadcaster are said to have been appalled at the attempt at humour with the Daily Mail reporting insiders disclosing that those who work within Sky’s football department – which maintains healthy relationships with clubs – were incredibly unimpressed with what they saw.

Elis James pretended to be Cooper in a misguided skit

‘How on earth could anyone consider this a good idea?’ said one.

‘For one thing it’s crass, not funny and cruel. But setting that aside, Sky Sports deal with these clubs on a regular basis and rely on having a good relationship with them. It’s not gone down well at all.’

Fantasy Football is a revival of the on we saw Frank Skinner and David Baddiel do back in the 1990s, making a return following an 18-year break this year and can be watched on Sky Max but it took just a few few episodes for it to cause anger.

Presenter Elis James plays the part of Steve Cooper, poking fun at Forest’s extensive summer business, giving Aurier a shirt with the number 4,345 in a packed out dressing room and jokes about repeating his speech to the overflow next door, after Forest made 23 summer signings.

He then invites owner – Evangelos Marinakis – to say a few words.

The camera then pans onto Matt Lucas who appears as Luciano Pavarotti, in a not-so-subtle dig at the Forest owner.

Sky Sports confirmed an apology had been made.

Lucas impersonated Evangelos Marinakis as Luciano Pavarotti

Cooper has struggled to get his promoted side playing at their best this season, sitting 19th in the Premier League standings, but time is needed to try and get his completely new squad to gel, how long he needs however is the question.

The side have just five points – one ahead of rivals Leicester, from nine games played so far.

But despite being among the favourites to be the next manager sacked, Cooper signed a new three-year contract last week, a deal until 2025.

There were doubts over his role after a 4-0 loss against Leicester on Monday but it was decided he would remain in charge.

Colin Fray, BBC Radio Nottingham said of the new deal: The news from the City Ground comes as a surprise, but a welcome surprise. It is rare for a football club to offer an under-pressure manager real backing and support.

Certainly, it will come as a welcome surprise to the vast majority of Nottingham Forest fans, who have backed the head coach in any way they can over the past few days – from singing his name loudly when 3-0 down at Leicester, to inundating social media with messages of support.

Whether fan power has helped to sway this decision is hard to gauge, but it has undoubtedly been difficult for the club to ignore this week.

The feeling from a significant number of those fans has been that, even if the worst happens this season and Forest return to the Championship, Cooper is the best man to lead them back up. And like Burnley and Norwich did with Sean Dyche and Daniel Farke respectively, perhaps this is an indication feelings at the City Ground are now similar towards their head coach.

The statement from the club suggests they are together as a group and determined to move up the table.

Monday’s game at home to Aston Villa always felt like it would be ‘Steve Cooper appreciation night’. This news won’t change that.

However difficult the current spell is, perhaps now fans can look forward to more of those famous celebratory Cooper fist pumps in the future.

Nottingham Forest have also chosen to sack two of the staff that were heavily involved in the summer recruitment that saw 22 players join the club.

Head of recruitment George Syrianos and Andy Scott, the head scout, have both departed the City Ground, following Filippo Giraldi’s arrival as sporting director last week – though it’s understood owner Evangelos Marinakis was part of the decisions.

Forest spent £145m after ending a 23-year absence from the Premier League, seeing out-of-contract and loan players leaving – in addition to the increase in quality needed for the top flight – but Forest required a significant influx of players following their promotion as Championship playoff winners.

Their next opponents, Wolves, have scored fewer than their seven goals and only Leicester have conceded more than their 22. It’s a big game down the bottom half of the table.

Steve Cooper praised Nottingham Forest supporters for showing faith in him and his players after claiming a point against Aston Villa at The City Ground on Monday evening.

“I’m so grateful for the support that was shown and they helped us because we needed them. I said to the players before the game that the fans are with us and we’ve got to give them something to keep it that way. 

“They pulled us up, you could tell as soon as the players walked out and during Mull of Kintyre that the support was going to be fantastic and they were excellent throughout the game. I’ll forever be grateful.”

“We’ve got to really hone in on the positives from the game, we’ve gained a point and obviously we’re not where we want to be in the league table but it’s a small step in the right direction.

“We were harder to beat and the attitude of the players was excellent. We had some good moments in the game, it’s not necessarily the style that I want to adopt long-term but it was the right way of playing for where we’re at and we’ve made some progress.

“Villa had a lot of the ball but Dean’s goal wasn’t really troubled apart from a really good strike because we were in good positions to defend, which is something we haven’t been good enough at.

“We were a threat on the counter-attack, particularly in the second half and we could have done better in certain moments because we have players that can make a difference in those areas.”

Fans gave their reaction as Sky Sports apologise to Nottingham Forest after a comedian mocks Steve Cooper’s appearance…

@CeremonyPete: I actually thought the sketch in principle had the potential to be funny but the way Cooper was mimicked for his physical appearance was way out of order

@Nathanielhodgk1: Don’t agree with this. The sketch wasn’t really funny but it was a joke. They’ll be no point in comedy soon as every joke offends someone.

@CRColville: Taking the piss out of someone because of the way they look to try and get people to laugh at it isn’t comedy. It’s bullying.

@chrisbraith85: And this is why in this day and age fantasy football will never work.

@nffc_316: Was like something from the mid 90s tbf, crap and cheap

@inghamjj55: Meanwhile, Jason Lee still waiting on his personal apology from David Baddiel

@PaddyODonoghue1: Maybe all those on sky should be educated.

@stusfootyflash: Oh, for God’s sake. 🤦🏻‍♂️

@LonglandNick: Would never have lasted in baddiel and skinner generation

@davo261088: I must admit, I’m surprised @elisjames agreed to this. This would have been shown without question on the original FF (and I did raise a chuckle myself) but it’s a different world now.

@psb_nffc: As if Steve Cooper’s not had enough to deal with recently. Horrible bastards #NFFC

@mike13cowan: Get a fucking grip

@lampett_1988: 😫 fuck sake, the sketch was pretty shit but this is the best we’re gunna get if we worry about offending people 🤦‍♂️

@GeorgeWalsh45: Apologising hahahaha

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