Premier League player buys 11th division football club to take it to the next level

Steve Cook, who played a key role in Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League, has invested in non-League side Westfield FC and has big plans for their future

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Steve Cook really enjoyed the summer.

Last month the Nottingham Forest defender helped his side seal a return to the Premier League after beating Huddersfield in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Cook was the focus of the Reds’ defense as they scored a shut-out under the famous archway in a tense but deserved 1-0 win. That helped end Forest’s absence from the top flight after a painful 23 years.

Now the 31-year-old has realized one of his ambitions – by taking over his local non-league side. Cook has confirmed that he supports Westfield FC financially. Cook began his career in nearby Brighton and despite playing for Bournemouth and now Forest for a decade he has retained a strong interest in Westfield.

The club finished mid-table in the 11th division Mid-Sussex Premier League last season and are based north of Hastings. A statement from the club said: “This is an important step for the Westies to secure the club’s long-term future, with a new horizon on the horizon, the club’s ambition, family ethos and inclusion to match Steve’s vision , and the partnership was formed .”

Forest defender Cook wrote on Twitter: “Glad to have gotten this across the line. The opportunity arose because I am close to my family. The idea suited my current ambitions and want to help advance local football. I look forward to growing this amazing club and helping to take it to the next level.”

Steve Cook helped Nottingham Forest seal promotion to the Premier League

Westfield chairman Jack Stapley said: “I’ve known Steve for a long time and it’s been a couple of months of conversations that has brought us to this point.

“It’s a fantastic time to be involved with the club who now have six adult teams and eight youth teams, are breaking new ground and have a chance to take the club to bigger things. Steve matches the club’s ambitions and he can’t wait to get started.

“The club are sure there will be many questions about this change but we feel there are so many benefits to bringing Steve to the club. and his experience of football and how it is run is endless.

“This is a real catalyst for the club to grow organically with the ambitions we have set to return to senior football at adult level and grow youth teams accordingly. We currently have 51% of our adult division of 120 players who previously played for a Westfield youth team and would like to improve that over time and as facilities expand.”

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