With Nottingham Forest stadium plans, Evangelos Marinakis is sending out a clear message: We are here to stay - in more ways than one
Plans to expand the City Ground into a world class 38,000 stadium show that the club's owner means business, as he looks to restore former glories
28 February 2019
Today Nottingham Forest are making a bold, ambitious statement of intent.
More specifically, owner Evangelos Marinakis is sending out a message – one that says two things, very loud and very clear.
Firstly, we mean business.
Secondly, we are here for the long haul – both as owners and, tellingly, at the famous, picturesque home the Reds have occupied on the banks of the river since 1898.
No ‘Lego’ construction built on the edge of some characterless industrial estate on the edge of town; no selling of the soul.
But instead a world class facility built on the site where the club forged a remarkable past - that they are fiercely and rightly proud of - can now, hopefully, build a bright future.
Nottingham Forest are staying at home. They are remaining at the world famous City Ground, where they became the Champions of Europe; where the mist has rolled in for well over a century – and will continue to do so for many years to come.
And it will finally get the care and attention that it has needed for many of those years. In fact, it will get far more than that.
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The numbers involved will be what grab most attention.
A final capacity that is expected to be in the region of 38,000 and a budget that will run into what we are told will be tens of millions of pounds.
There is no precise figure being revealed for the project, the priority is to deliver a stadium that the club, the fans and the city can all embrace and enjoy.
For many years, one of the questions I’ve been asked as often as any other, has been ‘when will the club rebuild the Main Stand?’.
It is a question that has been repeated for so long that it well pre-dates the 2015 decision to rename it in honour of Peter Taylor, the man who was Clough’s sidekick and support during the most halcyon of days.
And now we have the answer.
In the summer of 2020, Forest hope to begin work to build a two-tier replacement for that tired old stand, but also to refurbish and refine all four sides of the ground.
When additional proposed work to the Bridgford Stand is taken into account, the capacity of the stadium should be in excess of 38,000. That would make it the biggest football stadium in the East Midlands.
The pictures of the development are, for this moment, only one possible vision of how the stand might work out; a rough draft – one that could ultimately be influenced by numerous different factors, ranging from planning consent to the views of fans.
Because Forest do want fans to be at the heart of this. They believe this is their home, as much as anyone else’s.
There will be some short-term pain, for long-term gain, with capacity set to be reduced, for at least one season, fairly significantly, while the work is completed.
But the end result will be a revamp that will include state of the art dressing rooms, gym facilities, media suites, offices and corporate and match day entertaining facilities that will help the club plug into a valuable source of income better than ever before.
Forest have always been proud of the City Ground and of what they achieved there.
The walk over Trent Bridge, with the floodlights reflecting of the water below, is one of the most iconic in the game.
Now, in the not too distant future, they will have a landmark stadium, to go with their landmark position.
And, perhaps, the foundations on which to build a much brighter future, on the pitch.