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Waterfront Festival

The New City Ground

15 November 19 words: Gareth Watts
photos: Nottingham Forest FC

Nottingham Forest began a PR offensive as part of their public consultation around the major redevelopment of the City Ground this week.

The demolition and rebuilding of the Peter Taylor stand is the focal point for the work, which local architects Benoy predict will take a mere 15 months to complete. Increasing the overall attendance of the stadium to 38,000, including 2000 'premium' seats and improved facilities; it promises to be a far cry from the current 1960s stand which nowadays would look more at home in League Two than at a club with Premier League pretensions.  

Chairman Nicholas Randall spoke eloquently of the rich history of the club and how the development was designed to reward fans for their loyalty and unrivalled enthusiasm - reduced ticket prices and increased community engagement mean that it's not unusual these days for Forest games to sell out, despite the fact they've been out of the top flight for twenty years. Manager Sabri Lamouchi and first-team academy graduates Matty Cash, Joe Worrall and Ryan Yates were on hand to support captain Michael Dawson in ushering-in the latest phase of the plan.

As a supporter it's incredibly difficult to find any problems with this, especially as the ambitions for the infrastructure of the club are being matched by the team on the pitch, looking increasingly comfortable this season in the upper echelons of the Championship. The owner and Chairman are at pains to stress that the see themselves as 'mere custodians' of the football club, perhaps going some way to allaying our fears that this is the mega-rich version of Lego. Indeed, more attention was given at the launch to community work: a new video for inspiring local children, collaborations with homelessness charity Framework and the Hope foodbanks, schemes to tackle knife crime in the city and even school breakfast clubs, than was given to the new luxury seating positions and corporate hospitality. It's bold, exciting and community-focused... so what's the catch?

Well, it's very difficult to find one. And I'd like to think somewhere Old Big Head will smile, seeing his on-off best mate Peter's stand getting a gleaming Hollywood makeover.

Check out The Reds' website for more details.

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