England: Forest fans demand a stadium - will club grant their wish?

source: StadiumDB.conm; author: Paulina Skóra

England: Forest fans demand a stadium - will club grant their wish? Talks regarding the extension of the City Ground lease have reached a deadlock. This has prompted Nottingham Forest authorities to consider the option of building an entirely new facility elsewhere. Fans support this possibility, stating that the club needs a better stadium.


Lease or a new stadium?

The City Ground is situated on leased land from the city council, and the current agreement has 33 years remaining. Nottingham Forest has been playing at this venue since 1898. Discussions about the extension have hit a standstill due to the council's demands to raise the rent from the current £250,000 to around £1 million.

The council remains committed to further negotiations to find the best solution, a spokesperson quoted by the BBC announced. Future stadium options include maintaining the current lease, negotiating a new one, or a permanent sale of ownership rights. In 2019, there was close to an agreement on this matter, but it ultimately fell through after the council stated it had not fulfilled its obligation to achieve the greatest value for taxpayers, as it had currently employed specialized agents who advise on the matter.

City Ground (Trentside)© Harry Edmo

New chairman to expedite modernization…

Talks have again stalled, raising concerns about whether the planned redevelopment of the City Ground will proceed. Elliot Stanley from the Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust Foundation claims that there have been rumors circulating for some time that the suspension of talks could jeopardize the planned redevelopment. This sentiment is somewhat confirmed by the club's chairman, Tom Cartledge, who stated that if there is no significant progress, they might have to look elsewhere. Current chairman Tom Cartledge took over from Nicholas Randall at the end of last year in connection with plans to expedite the redevelopment.

Initially, work was set to begin in the summer of 2020, with completion estimated to take 15 months. The Nottingham Forest stadium modernization plan includes increasing capacity to 35,000 seats. However, there are still issues regarding the fact that the Britannia boat hangar next to the stadium will need to be completely rebuilt before work can begin on the Peter Taylor Stand. The reconstruction is estimated to cost over £94 million. There are also plans to enhance and extend the other three sides of the stadium in the case of the Bridgford Stand.

City Ground (Trentside)© Harry Edmo

Fans demand a new facility

Evangelos Marinakis [club owner, ed.] is willing to spend money on this stadium, so we need to find a way to make it happen. Right now, the problem is that the local government is financially struggling, but moving Forest out of the city won't help, Elliot Stanley stated, as quoted by the Nottingham Post.

Nottingham fans almost immediately voiced their opinions on the matter. I have a feeling that nothing will happen. Personally, my matchday experiences at the City Ground are very disappointing; the toilets and catering points are barely usable, let's be honest, every stand needs modernization, one fan wrote.

Among the community, there are also questions about the future of the club itself, which is currently in the Premier League relegation zone. Fans fear that a potential relegation will not only block potential plans for building a new stadium but also lead to the sale of the club by Evangelos Marinakis.

The City Ground was opened in 1898, and although it has undergone several renovations since then, the latest one took place in 1993.

City Ground (Trentside)© Stephan Hoogerwaard