|City Ground, West Bridgford NG2 5FJ Tel: 0115 9824444|
|49,946 v Manchester United - League Division One - October 1967|
|Who are ya?||The Reds|
|What Division are you in?||Football League Championship|
|www.nottinghamforest.premiumtv.co.uk (official site);|
|www.worldeasy.com/forest (Irish Supporters Club)|
|www.nflfc.co.uk (Forest ladies)|
You must have come in a taxi
From North - M1 to junction 26 and pick
up the A610 Nuthall Road into Nottingham. Continue onto the A6514 Ring
Road at Western Boulevard and turn right signposted Ring Road South,
Continue on the Ring Road following signs for A52 Grantham for 3.8 miles,
passing Queens Medical Centre, *over Clifton Bridge, to the Nottingham
Knight Island, then take the first exit onto the A60 Loughborough Road.
continue on the this road for 2.4 miles. The Ground is on your RHS just
after Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. There is a large car park at the
ground, and on matchdays on the north side of the Trent, next to the Casa
pub. Otherwise, there is some street parking to be had.
From East - Take the A52 Radcliffe Road into Nottingham following signs for Trent Bridge. Approaching Trent Bridge is a major intersection, bear left remaining on Radcliffe Road and take the next right into Colwick Road. Parking as North.
From South - M1 jnc.24. Take the A453 towards Nottingham. At the dual carridgeway, exit A453 for B679 Wilford Road. Follow this road for 1.5 miles to 'T' junction. Turn left onto A60 (Nottingham). The Ground is 0.5 miles on your RHS, just after Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. Parking as North, however, bear in mind that as the one end of the ground backs onto the River Trent, you cannot drive around it, so it is probably best to park at first available opportunity, or you may find yourself crossing the River Trent and having to comeback on yourself again.
Alternative from South - M1 jnc.21a - As there are
often major roadworks on the A453 in Nottingham, you might want to consider this alternative
route. Follow the A46 dual carriageway towards Newark.
After 20 miles take the A606 towards Nottingham for 5.4 miles. At the
first roundabout, take the 4th exit onto the A52( Grantham) for 2.4 miles.
At the next roundabout turn left onto the A6011 towards Nottingham (A
short way down the A6011, you will need to get into the right hand lane to
got straight on). The Ground is 1.4 miles on your RHS, opposite the
Trent Bridge Cricket Ground. Parking as from South.
Nottingham City Transport no.s 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11 from Nottm City Centre; Centrebus X6 (Grantham Bus Station - Nottm Friar Lne); Trent Barton Keyworth connection (Nottm Broadmarsh Bus Station - Keyworth) & Ruddington Connection (Nottm Broadmarsh - Ruddington) all go over Trent Bridge.
Nottingham Midland Station - 1 mile. As you come out of the main station entrance, turn left and then left again onto Queens Road. Follow the road down to the dual carriageway and then turn right onto London Road. The ground is about 3/4's of a mile down the dual carriageway on the left, just over Trent Bridge.
For a map of the location, Click here.
My garden shed is bigger than this
The name of Nottingham Forest is recognised throughout the sporting world. The success generated at the City Ground pushed the club to the forefront of the game not only nationally, but also around the globe. Whilst the Club is largely known for its domination of world football between 1977 - 1980, it should not go unrecognised just what a huge contribution it made towards the development of the game we now know and love as football over a century earlier.
In the 1860's Shinney, a hockey like game originated in the highlands of Scotland, was becoming less popular due to the introduction of football in Sheffield. The invention of football excited a group of shinney players so much, that they downed their sticks to convene a special meeting in the Clinton Arms on Sherwood Street (now called The Orange Tree). Despite some resistance from traditionalists, the Nottingham Forest Football Club was born in 1865, the third oldest remaining football league side in the world.
In those early days, headwear distinguished one side from another, not clothing. A dozen red caps and tassels were purchased thus establishing the club colours of Garibaldi Red, taken from the Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi and his red-shirted freedom fighters, who were popular in England during the period.
They played their first game in the Forest Racecourse amphitheatre, which also hosted shinney, cricket and, of course, horse racing. It was from this venue, and not, as is commonly perceived, Sherwood Forest, that the Club took its name. Forest played their first match here against Notts County on March 22, 2020, contested between an unequal balance of 17 Forest players and 11 County players. Some reports suggest it as a 1-0 win for Forest by virtue of a touchdown 'rouge' from W H Revis. A rouge was what is known today as a converted try, which would later be adapted to the term 'goal'. The Racecourse Ground was the first in the world to witness a referee using a whistle, replacing a white flag. Additionally, shinpads were worn by Forest legend Sam Widdowson for the first time. Whilst Widdowson was initially mocked, they would soon catch on across the globe.
Forest first entered the F.A. Cup in 1878, beating Notts County 3-1 at Beeston Cricket Ground in front of 500 spectators. It is of interest that Forest would go on to be the only Club to have played F.A. Cup opponents from all four home countries: Notts County - England (1878); Queens Park - Scotland (1885); Linfield - Northern Ireland (1888) & Cardiff City - Wales (1922).
As Forest's popularity grew, they started attracting regular crowds of around 6,000. The problem that Forest had was that the Racecourse was a public ground, and thus the Club could not charge for entry. In order to progress, the decision was taken to move to a purpose built ground where they could raise increased revenue from ticket sales. In 1879 they initially moved to the Meadows Ground where entrances fees could be charged, although this proved far too small a venue for the Club to make any serious money. Forest were soon playing all their big matches at the Trent Bridge Cricket Ground, where they could cater for crowds of over 5,000. Here they made their first ever three figure sum when they played the Scottish Canadians, a team of Scots who were going to tour Canada. A crowd of 5,500 turned up and receipts totalled £108 15s 7d. Generously, the Scots were given half of the proceeds towards their tour expenses.
The Club stopped using the Meadows altogether by 1880 and played all their matches at Trent Bridge, but still longed their own ground. It was at Trent Bridge where Forest player Sam Widdowson invented the classical formation of a goalkeeper, two fullbacks, a three man half-back line and five forwards, which became the standard formation across the world football until the 1960's. Prior to this invention, all the players had just tended to run towards the ball. Forest also recorded their biggest ever home victory here, with a 13-0 win over Wednesbury Strollers in 1882, with Wednesbury having to borrow four locals after they arrived without four of their players. In the side that day for Forest was a certain William Gunn, who would go on to form the famous Gunn & Moore sports firm.
By the end of 1882, Notts County moved in to Trent Bridge, prompting Forest to build their own ground, Parkside, at a cost of £300 in the Lenton district of Nottingham. The facilities at Parkside were deemed to be so poor that in 1885 the Club built a new ground in the neighbouring field, The Gregory Ground. The venue cost £500 to build and had proper stands for supporters. However, as the Club were now so far away from Nottingham town centre, they struggled to attract spectators to fill them. In 1886 Forest managed to find spare funds to present two ex-Forest players with a red and white kit to help them form the Woolwich Arsenal Football Club in London, which Arsenal still sport today.
In 1888, the Football League was formed, but Forest were refused permission to join due to their apparent reluctance to welcome professionalism into the game. Despite this, Forest set another first a year later, when fourteen wells lamps were lit for a game between Forest and Notts Rangers at the Gregory Ground, the first football venue to host a game under electric lights.
In 1890 Forest finally got the venue they wanted. At the cost of £1,000, they moved to the Town Ground in Bathley Street, the Meadows, where Nottingham City Transport repair works now stands. Considerable controversy surrounded the opening match, as an arranged friendly with Wolves clashed with a Notts County League match at nearby Trent Bridge. The Football League ordered Forest to alter the date, or all Football League sides would cancel fixtures against Forest. Forest stubbornly arranged an alternative tie against Scottish outfit Queen's Park. The gamble didn't pay off, with 4000 watching a 4-1 win for Forest, 2000 less than watched Notts across the Trent. It was at the Town Ground that goal nets and a crossbar, replacing a piece of tape, were officially used for the first time in a representative North v South match in 1891. The Town Ground could accommodate 1000 seated spectators and a had large amount of standing room. In 1892 Forest won the Football Alliance with 9,000 fans attending the crucial victory over Newton Heath, now Manchester United. The following year Forest were allowed entry to the Football League and attendances continued to rise, with 15,000 watching an F.A.Cup tie against Notts County. In 1898, Forest lifted their first F.A.Cup, defeating bitter rivals Derby County 3-1 at Crystal Palace, a particularly impressive achievement, given the fact that Forest had lost at Derby 5-0 on the previous Monday in a League tie.
Despite the success at the Town Ground, Forest had ambitions to move to an even larger venue. The 1898 F.A. Cup winning campaign had raised much of the funding needed, but the club were still £3,000 short of what they required. The Club commenced the 'New Ground Scheme', raising the remaining money from supporters and local businessmen through £5 bearer bonds. Many of the investments were never redeemed, and one is still kept in the archives at Nottingham Public Library.
By the start of the new season, the cup holders had moved to their new stadium, situated on the south bank of the River Trent in West Bridgford. Although it was outside of the city limits, it was called the City Ground in honour of Nottingham being granted City status in 1898 by Queen Victoria. Having lost their first match at the new venue to Blackburn Rovers, and failing to win their following seven games, not even the most optimistic of Forest supporters could have dreamt of the many momentous occasions their home for the next hundred years would prove to host.
Within a year of its existence, the Club was setting further historical achievements at their new City Ground home. In 1899 Frank & Fred Forman became the first brothers from the same professional club to represent England at the same time, a record that stood until Manchester United's Neville brother's repeated the feet nearly a century later. In 1909, Forest, still not clear of relegation, faced Leicester Fosse (now Leicester City), who were bottom of the table. Forest thumped their local rivals 12-0 at the City Ground, their biggest ever league victory. The League were rather suspicious that the match had been thrown and set up a Commission of Inquiry. The Inquiry concluded that the result should stand as the heavy defeat was more likely to have been connected to most of the Leicester players having attended a wedding reception the night before the match, than to any foul play. It seems the fondness for footballers over doing the partying is not such a new phenomena after all.
For the next 40 years very little significant development of the City Ground or the team occurred. Crowds had increased to 20,000-plus, as the sport increased in popularity, but Forest seemed to drift from one crisis to the next. The lowest point being the 1947 flood, which completely immersed the pitch almost up to the crossbars of the goals and many of the Club's documents were lost. Despite this depressing period, the Club were still able to set yet another footballing first with the use of oval section goalposts at the City Ground in 1921. In 1933, in an effort to raise much needed revenue, the Club considered staging the increasingly popular sport of greyhound racing at the City Ground, but the Football Association vetoed the idea, and thus possibility of players slipping in dog mess was thankfully reserved for the likes of Wembley.
In the 1950's things really began to take off again. In 1951 the City Ground hosted its first foreign opposition for a friendly with RC Malines of Belgium. Two years later the famous Trent End terrace was built. In the years that followed, fans would have to queue for hours to get into the popular middle sections, with the younger supporters taking along milk crates for a better view down at the front. In 1956, a significant event took place at the City Ground. There was nothing particularly interesting about the game itself, Forest lost 4-0 to Middlesborough, but the interest surrounds the personnel on the Boro side that day, with a certain Peter Taylor keeping a clean sheet for Boro, and a certain Brian Clough scoring a hat-trick. If only the shell-shocked Forest supporters had an inkling of what these two characters would provide for them twenty-odd years later, perhaps they'd have not felt so demoralised.
In 1957, the Club opened the new East Stand, holding 2500 on bench seats and costing £40,000. A then record 47,804 attended it's grand opening, witnessing a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United. The fortunes of the Club were on the up, and by the end of the decade they had won the F.A.Cup again, beating Luton Town 2-1 at Wembley. Crowds were now exceeding 40,000 for the bigger matches.
Having been the first to use electric lighting in the 1888, it is ironic that Forest were the last league Club to install proper floodlights. These were finally installed in September 1961, at a cost of £20,000. Ten years later, mercury halide lamps were installed in the floodlights. Two of these pylons still dominate the West Bridgford skyline, standing proud on either side of the Main Stand. In the same year, the City Ground hosted Valencia in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, a competition only open to cities with international fairs. Forest got in on the strength of the Goose Fair, still held to this day coincidently on the site of Forest's first ground, the Forest Racecourse Ground.
In August 1968 the Main Stand, only built six years previously, was destroyed by fire during a game against Leeds United. Most of the club records were also destroyed. The next six 'home' games were played across the river at Notts County's Meadow Lane ground. Forest failed to win any of them. There were unconfirmed reports of a singular magpie encircling the ground throughout Forest's tenure.
If the floods of '47 & the fire of '68 were a low point, the fog of '77 signaled a high. With Forest losing 1-0 to Southampton in the 2nd Division, the mist rolled in from the Trent and the game was abandoned. Forest won the replayed game and it proved to be the vital win in ensuring their promotion to the 1st Division. In the three years that followed, under the guidance of messiahs Clough and Taylor, Forest would go on to dominate the world of football, winning the First Division Championship, two European Cup's, The Super Cup, The League Cup & The Charity Shield. During this extraordinary period, the City Ground set another record with the Forest going 51 home league unbeaten, a record which fell to bottom of the table side, Brighton & Hove Albion.
It was as a result of these phenomenal achievements that the City Ground was to change beyond recognition over the next twenty years, with the only stand remaining from the B.C. (before Clough) era being the Main Stand. Built in 1968, the new stand was built from the ashes of the fire which destroyed its predecessor. Despite being the the oldest part of the ground, and somewhat out of date, this curved stand still houses the dressing rooms, board room, trophy room and main offices. The front of the roof of the stand also supports a rather flimsy looking walkway to the television gantry. The stand holds 5708 seats, with 15 reserved at the rear of the stand for the press, and 28 plusher seats in the middle for the directors. The roof is held a loft by several red steel stanchions. The catering and toileting facilities are rather poor in the concourse behind the stand, yet ironically spectators pay more to sit in this part of the ground than in any other. Following the closure of the old Trent End, the Club's most vocal supporters took up residence in the A-Block of this stand, though in recent years their numbers have dwindled as a result of some over zealous stewarding enforcing the fans to remain seated in line with strict safety regulations. Despite this, the groundís safety staff were hailed as the best in the business in the late nineties, receiving numerous awards for the state-of-the-art facilities employed to monitor supporters' safety during games. Prior to reaching the entrance gates to the rear of the Main Stand car park, you pass the modern Club Shop and ticket offices. Once passing through two steel gates which spell out the Club's name, you enter the car park. Beyond are a series of unusual barrier buildings behind the Main Stand. Here you'll find the main reception, and other offices which were used to house the old club shop and ticket office.
Opposite the Main Stand is the towering mass of concrete that is the Brian Clough Stand, rightfully renamed after Clough in 2000 as an acknowledgement of his work for the city and the football club. Built in 1980, at a final cost of believed to be over £2m, it was initially called the Executive Stand and was literally paid for through the success on the pitch. Its sheer size and cantilever roof were way ahead of its time, as were the executive boxes that gave the stand its grandiose name. As success on the field became harder to come by in the early 1980's, the Club were ravaged by debt and corruption, threatening completion of the stand. In one season, star striker Peter Davenport was sold to Manchester United for £750,000 purely to finance that season's payment. Fortunately the work on the Executive Stand was completed, and it stands as testimony to those halogen days of the Clough and Taylor revolution. The capacity stands at 9788, with 5747 seats on the upper tier, 3754 on the lower tier and 288 seats in the executive boxes. Upon the roof fly six flags amongst a series of high powered lamps, which enabled the removal of two of the endearing 1960's floodlight pylons on the east side of the ground. It was the first ever stand to have the club's name spelled out with different coloured seats. In recent years, the seating has been upgraded with not only the letters' Forest' evident in white, but also the Club badge on either side.
For many years, those who choose to stand on the Bridgford End terrace (also known as the Kop, Colwick Road End & Radcliffe Road End) had pleaded with the Club to give them a roof. Their wish was granted in spectacular style in 1992, when the Club not only gave them a roof, but a whole new stand. The Bridgford Stand was built at an approximate cost of £4.5 million, and has the Club 's initials of ' N.F.F.C' emblazoned in white seats across the lower tier. The catering and toilet facilities are fairly sound in the concourse behind the stand, which can house up to 4,750 away supporters in its lower tier, allowing for segregation. As the Bridgford End is acoustically sound, away supporters have often commented on the noise that can be made within. The combined capacity of both tiers is 7,710 seats, as well as catering for 70 wheelchair users. The unusual sloping cantilevered roof dictates that only two-thirds of the end are two tiered. This is a result of a resident behind the stand refusing to agree to its height, and as such planning permission had to be amended to ensure the resident's sunlight wasn't reduced. At the rear of the single tier seating area, where the stand drops down, is a state of the art management suite, which houses a viewing area for police and ground security, scoreboard control room and the public address system.
In January 1995 the final terraced area of the ground, the beloved Trent End, was replaced by a huge imaginative, double decker all-seater stand. Similar in height to the Brian Clough Stand, the whole stand is encased by a massive red steel goal frame. At a cost of £4.5m, it holds 7,500 and brought the ground capacity up to a level to enable it to be a host ground during the 1996 UEFA European Football Championships. Following suit from it's fore-running stands, the Club have spelt out the words' Trent End' on the upper deck using white seats amongst the sea of red. One unusual feature of the stand is the enclosed seating area, within a covered shaded glass screen, running between the two tiers. This area is for supporters who can choose to flirt between the T.V. screens in the Pitch Sports Diner to the rear of the stand, and the actual action itself. To the rear of the stand is an enormous glass screened area, which looks particularly impressive from outside. From the inside, this offers a wonderful view over the city skyline. Be sure to experience walking over Trent Bridge, especially if there is an evening match on. The view of the Trent End, indeed the whole ground, is nothing short of spectacular. On the rear wings of the stand hang two colossal red trees, the Club badge. The badge has a history all of its own. Prior to the 1970's, the Club had used the Nottingham Coat of Arms as it's badge. However, by the early 70's the commercial aspects of the game were beginning to surface, and the Club couldn't obtain a copyright for an existing coat of arms, so Forest decided to organise a competition to design a new club emblem in the local paper. The winning entry was chosen from over 800 other entries. The tree symbolises the Forest, the truck symbolises strength, and the wavy lines below symbolise the flowing River Trent by its side.
One noticeable feature about the City Ground is that modern architecture sits perfectly among traditional football ground buildings to create a unorthodox atmosphere. Unlike so many of the tired, bowl shaped stadia being produced on these shores, the place has character. For example, the towering mass of concrete and steel that is the Trent End looks down upon the rickety, yet homely Main Stand, and it feels right. The City Ground basically encompasses so much that is about Nottingham Forest - Tradition.
Plans to develop the
City Ground, as a
model in the ticket office depicts, have been abandoned. The Club
originally planned to replace the existing
Main Stand with a new two-tier one, taking the capacity up to 40,000.
However, with the land belonging to Nottingham County Council, the Reds
have decided to look elsewhere.
In the summer of 2007, the Reds unveiled plans for a 50,000 seater stadium to be built to in the Clifton area, to the south of the city. The project, which would have cost £100m, aimed to ensure that it played a part in a successful 2018 World Cup bid.
By the autumn of 2009, that World Cup bid materialised, though this time in the south-east suburb of Gamston. The centrepiece of the bid is a two kilometre long River Trent World Cup Park. This would spread east from Forest's present home, which would be redeveloped as housing, to the new stadium, which has been described as 'an iconic, carbon neutral 40,000 capacity venue, with excellent connections to the rest of the city, county and beyond'.
Supporters views are divided about the proposals. Given the rich history of the City Ground, it would be a pity to move. However, the potential to boost the profile of an ailing fore runner of the game by having a world-class stadium attracts others.
© Christopher Rooney - permission required for photo & text usage