Ambition was key to persuading Dexter Blackstock to commit to Nottingham Forest
FOR Dexter Blackstock, it is all about the personal touch.
The striker admits he could have earned more money, had he waited until the summer and moved elsewhere on a free transfer.
But, instead, during a chat over dinner, he was persuaded to commit the best days of his career to Nottingham Forest.
While the financial details were ironed out later on, it was a conversation with owner Fawaz Al Hasawi that convinced Blackstock to commit the next four-and-a-half years to the Reds.
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"It was not quite settled over dinner, but we did have discussions there," said Blackstock. "And it was important to talk face-to-face.
"It is about how the club is going to progress. It would not make sense to me to sign a long-term deal with a club, if their ambitions do not match up with mine.
"It was important that they match my ambition and, equally, that I match their ambition.
"There would have been options in the summer, there would have been interest from other clubs.
"You know how football works these days, out of contract players can generate a lot of interest.
"Everyone in life wants something for nothing, if they can get it.
"I could have waited, I could have looked to see if I could get more money.
"But, for me it was about stability – and I also believe in the Nottingham Forest project that was sold to me.
"The owners are here for the long term and I am backing the whole project they described to me.
"They offered me a long term deal to be part of it and I thought to myself 'why not?'."
Part of the owners' long term vision, very clearly, is to tie down key players to long contracts.
Chris Cohen was the first to commit, early in the campaign, he was followed by Blackstock and now Radi Majewski.
"It was not what I had asked for, it was something the club proposed," said Blackstock.
"I gave it some thought, because it is the main part of my career.
"I did weigh up whether to wait until the summer and see what my options were.
"But I thought it felt right to sign and move forward.
"It is great to sign a long term deal, I would not say it was sorted early – normally when players go into the last year of their contract it gets sorted in the summer.
"But Forest have adopted a different policy over the years and have often left it until the end of the contract before negotiating a new one.
"But it was a good time for both parties to come together and reach an agreement.
"I am only 26, so it is not as if I am 30 and it is taking me towards the end of my career.
"I am at a good age and I am happy at the club, so it made sense.
"I will be here for the main years of my career. So it was a massive decision to commit.
"But I firmly believe that, during that period of time, Forest will be a Premier League club."
Now Blackstock's own future is decided, the player hopes to see Forest ensure that this season can end on a positive note – starting at Birmingham today.
"It has been a weird season, in terms of consistency," said Blackstock. "We are sitting not far off the play-offs, but we have not had consistency all season. We can be brilliant one day and the opposite the next.
"In this league, it is so difficult to perform at the same level week in, week out.
"You are dealing with different teams, different styles, different atmospheres and different challenges every week. But, at the end of the season, the team who copes with that best; who finds that consistency will be at the top of the table.
"There is no secret to that. We can definitely still find that, but we have to start soon.
"We are going into February and it has to happen now, because the games are running out. We have to go now, it has to happen now."
But, if it does not happen for Blackstock and Forest this season, at least the striker should be around for another four attempts at winning promotion.