Forest owner could abandon City Ground



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Forest owner prefers a new stadium Image: Nottingham Forest

The Greek owner of Nottingham Forest is promoting the idea of moving away from the City Ground and building a new stadium elsewhere.

In an interview with Daily Mail, Evangelos Marinakis mooted the possibility of building a new ground somewhere else in Nottingham for the English Premier League club. A site in Toton, several miles from Nottingham city centre, has been identified as a potential option.

Marinakis sees building a new 50,000-seater stadium and a new training ground on the same complex as a way to “elevate the club to the next level”. He has said relocating to a bigger facility would “set the club on the right path”.

He has opened up on the future at the historic ground with the admission that the club needs to move to a bigger facility to push forward and match his ambitions for the Reds.

The City Ground is a football stadium in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, England (UK), on the banks of the River Trent. It has been home to the Nottingham Forest F.C. since 1898 and has a capacity of 30,455.

Maranikis said in an interview with the Daily Mail, “The stadium and training ground are not befitting the status and ambitions of the club. It (a move) will change the history in years to come of the region and the team for our supporters.

“It’ll be hard to leave City Ground, but in an age when revenue streams dictate success on the pitch, there’s no doubt moving to a bigger facility will set the club on the right path.

“Over the last 10 years, the city of Nottingham has lacked the confidence and ambition of the other big regional cities of Manchester and Birmingham.”

The club is currently at loggerheads with the council over the rent and lease situation at the City Ground.

When Forest put forward plans to redevelop the City Ground, the city council, as the owner of that land, reportedly wanted to increase rent from £250,000 a year to more than £1 million.

Now a new option has been put forward with Forest being offered the option to buy the freehold of the City Ground for £10 million. This would cost significantly less than paying rent in the long-term.

If Forest do stay at the City Ground, they could set in motion plans to increase the capacity of the venue to 40,000. That would come from extending the Bridgford Stand to incorporate an additional 5,000 seats to go with the 10,000 planned for the Peter Taylor Stand.

Knocking down and rebuilding the Peter Taylor Stand was a central part of ‘The Reds’ plans when they first announced a multimillion project to overhaul their stadium almost five years ago.

That transformation is yet to start, amid various challenges and obstacles to overcome.

When the project was originally unveiled in 2019, the designs involved increasing the capacity to roughly 38,000. The redevelopment of the Peter Taylor Stand was seen as Phase One of the scheme, with an extension for the Bridgford Stand also planned.

In the meantime, various improvements have been made to both the stadium and the training ground. And recently, a crane and contractors were seen at the ground as the club started doing the necessary groundwork in the hope that planning permission may soon be granted to erect hospitality pods.

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