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Nottingham Forest Awaydaze
Wednesday, 5th Feb 2020 13:29 by Tim Whelan

Our visit to Nottingham Forest is at 5.30pm on Saturday, and once again this fixture is live on Sky Sports. We are most definitely not famous any more!

You'll find the City Ground beside the river Trent about a mile and a half to the south of the city centre, and it's actually in West Bridgeford rather than Nottingham. If you're driving down from Leeds you need to come off the M1 at 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, passing Queens Medical Centre.

This road becomes the A52, and you can stay on it till you cross the Trent, and then take the A60 (Loughborough Road) towards the city centre. After just over a mile you need to turn right into Radcliffe Road (the A6520) and then left into Colwick Road for the ground.

There is a large car park at the ground, though it isn't cheap. The council operate a car park on match days on the Victoria Embankment. They charge £5 but it is only a two minute walk to the ground. The car park is right on the banks of the River Trent, on the ground side of the river, but on the other side of the dual carriageway from the ground. Otherwise there is plenty of street parking available near to the ground, and the best bet is in one of the side streets off Loughborough Road.

Another option is to park and ride, by going to the ‘Toton Lane’ stop at the end of one of the new Tram Lines, and then getting the tram into the city centre. You’ll find ‘Toton Lane’ by coming off the M1 at junction 25, then heading towards Nottingham on the A52 and turning right at the next roundabout. The tram stop is a short way down the next road on the left, with a big car park.

If you're coming from the south you can head for the Clifton Park and ride instead (M1 junction 24 then the A453 and it's signposted from there). On this line the nearest tram stop to the City Ground is 'Queens Walk', and from there it's a 20 minute walk through the delightful ‘Meadows’ housing area. Or you could park at East Midlands Parkway railway station, where a ‘park and ride’ ticket is available for £5.10, including a return ticket to Nottingham.

And two more options are to use the large multi-storey by the main railway station, at a cost of £5, or. the council car park at their Eastcroft depot (NG2 3AH) at £4 a car. This depot is a ten minute walk from the City Ground, located just off London Road (A60), opposite Hooters.

The ground is 20mins walk from Nottingham railway station. As you come out of the main station entrance, turn left and then left again. Follow the road down to the dual carriageway and then turn right. At this point you will be able to see two sets of floodlights, but The City Ground is the more distant of the two, as you will pass Meadow Lane, home of Notts County, on the way. The ground is about 3/4 of a mile down the dual carriageway on the left, just over Trent Bridge.

Most of the pubs by the stadium are for home fans only, but in the past the Nottingham Rowing Club has admitted away fans though it remains to be seen whether they do so for our visit. Another option is the ‘Meadow Club’ at Notts County’s ground. There is also the Waterfront complex of bars (including a Wetherspoons outlet) which is a short walk from the train station. If you turn right outside the station you can see the complex from the bridge over the canal.

In the city centre there are plenty of pubs around the market square, and there is also the ‘Olde Trip To Jerusalem’ beneath the castle, which dates back to the 12th. century and claims to be England’s oldest pub.

Food-wise, there are plenty of takeaways along Radcliffe Road, which is the main road between the football and cricket grounds, though if you arrive by train you can also find a couple of fast food places if you turn right outside the main exit from the station. That is of course, if you don’t get rounded up for an escort straight to the ground.

The current capacity of the City Ground is 30,576, and the appearance of the ground was much improved when new stands were built at both ends in the early 1990s to comply with the Taylor Report. To the right of the away end is the Brian Clough Stand, which was built with the proceeds of Forest's European successes in the late 70s and early 80s, while the Main Stand to our left was built in 1968, after the previous stand burnt down during a game when the mighty Leeds were the visitors!

Away fans get part of the Bridgford Stand, which replaced the former open terracing at this end (in which away fans used to get a couple of pens in the corner) and was opened at the start of the 1992/93 season. If you're wondering why the roof of this stand slopes down in a funny way at the end, it's because the road behind runs at an angle to the stand, so there wasn't room to continue the upper tier all the way into the corner.

When this stand was first built season Forest gave the whole of the lower tier to away fans, making for a reasonable allocation of 4,750, but in the last few years this has been reduced to a only part of this section and only got 2,000 tickets. So it’s no surprise that tickets for this game were sold via the ‘attendance tracker’ loyalty scheme, but there are a few left on the official site.

Our advance ticket prices for this game are £28 for adults, with senior citizens at £22, students and under 18s £14 and under 12s £6, though the price goes up by £1 or £2 if you’re lucky enough to be able to get one on the day. Home tickets are usually only on sale to fans with an “existing purchase history”. But despite this and the limited away allocation, the official Forest site says that they have now sold out.

The facilities and refreshments are pretty good in this end because the stand is relatively new and beer and lager are available on the concourse, but the queue gets very big very quickly at half time. The burgers are pretty stodgy, and the tea is the same colour as the river Trent, but the pies are quite good. All this does of course come at the normal extortionate football ground prices.

Forest have submitted plans to rebuild the main stand, which would increase the capacity to 36,000, and they may also add a further 2,000 new seats at the Bridgeford End as part of the same scheme. All of this will cost around £100m, and they hope to be able to start work in the summer. So hopefully we will be back to having a decent ticket allocation, if we’re in the same division as Forest in a few years time.

Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .


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