Benoy Architects: The City Ground redevelopment plans

Nottingham Forest fans and former players could have trouble coming to terms with a potential move away from the famous City Ground, if a row over rent is not sorted.

Former Nottingham Forest striker Jason Lee says that although the club needs to focus on growth, to continue to survive in the Premier League, there is a lot of history tied up in the stadium on the banks of the River Trent.

The City Ground is situated on land which is owned by the Nottingham City Council. The club has been in this location since 1898.

There are currently 33 years left on the club’s lease and talks about an extension have stalled over the authority’s demand that the current £250,000 rent is increased to approximately £1m annually.

 “They could be playing on an old field, and we’d still support the reds”.

DUNCAN MANN

A spokesperson for Nottingham City Council told the BBC it had been in discussions with the club about options for the future.

“These latest talks, approved by the authority’s executive board in November last year, are ongoing and, by their nature, complex”.

Club Chairman Tom Cartledge says unless there is significant progress they may have to look elsewhere.

The City Ground sits on the banks of The River Trent (Image, Tommy Crossley)

The world famous City Ground has been home to Nottingham Forest since they moved there 126 years ago.

Named in celebration of Nottingham’s new “city” status, the ground is mere yards from their former home at the opposite end of Trent Bridge.

The City Ground, 1898

Plans to develop the ground, first announced five years ago, included increasing the Peter Taylor stand capacity, from 5000 to 10,000, and to add two new hospitality areas on either side of the Trent End.

The current stadium holds just over 30,000 fans, but since Forest’s long awaited Premier League return, some matches have seen demand for tickets reaching 50,000.

With queues for tickets longer than 30 minutes, Nottingham Forest fans regularly take to a Facebook Supporters Group with one fan saying it is “far easier buying a house” than obtaining tickets for a match.

Nottingham Forest fans struggle to obtain tickets

Arsenal Fan TV star Lee Judges says City Ground is the “Best atmosphere I have ever seen” and pundit Andy Townsend called the atmosphere “as good as anywhere”.

Nottingham Forest’s fanbase believe all of their greatest moments have all been at The City Ground with some even describing the stadium as home.

Despite this lifelong Forest fan Duncan Mann says that the club will always have a devoted following.

“We could be playing on an old field, and we’d still support The Reds,” he says.

Registering only one Premier League win on the road last season, the “12th man” at home no doubt contributed to last seasons survival, Forest picked up 30 out of 38 points at the City ground.

Supporters sing “Mull of Kintyre” at kick off (Image, Tommy Crossley)

Since his purchase of Forest in May 2017, owner Evangelos Marinakis has pumped money into the club to help establish it back into the Premier league.

As well as signing 32 players, since The Reds promotion into the top flight, Marinakis has also made a few changes around The City Ground.

  • New fan zone built, using shipping containers, outside The Brian Clough Stand
  • New badge, which illuminates, either end of The Trent End
  • VAR technology installed upon the clubs promotion to The Premier League
  • Glass removed from Legends Lounge hospitality area in the Trent End
  • Stadium externally cleaned

Negotiations between Nottingham Forest and the council continue.