Nottingham Forest's campaign back in the Premiership got off to a fairly good start in the first three games in the season, losing narrowly 2-1 at Arsenal and winning the other two against Coventry City and at Southampton; however, it would be 19 games until their next victory and they went on a very poor run of only one win in 25 league games - in addition to two wins in 32 games - and winning their final three games did not matter as they were already relegated. Pierre Van Hooijdonk, top scorer in Forest's promotion-winning 1997-98 campaign, went AWOL before the start of the season following the sale of strike partner Kevin Campbell and it appeared that he would never play for the club again. He returned in October, but Forest were already deep in relegation trouble and it was too late to save manager Dave Bassett's job. Ron Atkinson made what appeared to be his final return to management, but was unable to save Forest from relegation in bottom place - the third time in seven years that they had endured this fate. With just 7 wins and 30 points all season, they had never really looked like beating the drop, due to embarrassing results like the 1-8 beating at home to Manchester United. A win at Goodison Park was the highlight of Atkinson's ill-fated tenure.
When Atkinson's contract was not renewed, Brian Little, Glenn Hoddle and Roy Evans were just some of the many high profile names linked with the manager's job, but in the end it was 33-year-old former England captain David Platt who took on the role as player-manager.