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Official Review by Anluan Hennigan, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Soaking in tradition, history and success, Nottingham Forest are one of the sleeping giants of English football. Under the legendary leadership of Brian Clough - who now has a stand named after him - the club won 11 trophies between 1978 and 1991. Since those halcyon days, the club's fortunes have dwindled, remaining outside of the Premier League for the last decade or so.
The first official football match was played by the club in 1866 and they settled at the City Ground in 1898 after a nomadic period in which the club hopped between various grounds in the city.
The refurbishment of the Trent End represents the most recent development of the ground, raising its capacity to the current level in preparation for being a host ground as part of England's hosting of the 1996 European Championships. Plans were mooted for a re-development of the ground in light of England's bid for the 2018 World Cup. However, the bid's failure has put paid to this for the near future.
In recent years the ground has come to prominence for hosting the Women's FA Cup Final and massive musical concerts such as when R.E.M. visited in 2005.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There isn't a great deal to be excited about with the normal cheap (at least by football's standards) and cheerful fare on offer.
A portion of chips can be purchased in the perimeter of the ground for £2. Once inside, a combo of hot dog, crisps and a drink is on offer for £5.40 while a pint of lager is £3.40. Luckily, there are much better options available to you in the nearby city centre.
Bear in mind that, as with Premier League grounds, you cannot take alcohol into the arena.
Nottingham Forest appears to be one of a phalanx of clubs that has fallen victim to creating a manufactured atmosphere by blaring out a flurry of music through the loudspeakers. The fans were treated to an eclectic blend of U2, Underworld and the theme tune of the British version of The Apprentice.
Luckily, this is a ground that still retains an intimately authentic hue and this created a fine atmosphere as the game progressed and the music died. Before the game, the ground - situated on the South Bank of the River Trent - made things relatively idyllic. A rip-roaring victory for Forest didn't do any harm either.
On route to the ground, you should discover a diverse range of eating and drinking options. If you want something more upmarket, the Riverbank restaurant offers three courses for £17 with the City Ground only a 10 minute stroll away.
In the city centre, I picked up a delightful Ostrich burger at The Ostrich Grill for £3.50 which is no more than you will pay for a burger at the ground. Moreover, you can have certainty that it is actually made of meat.
In the immediate vicinity of the ground, the Southbank bar on the corner was predictably brimming with activity. It was naturally the place to go for those looking for a quick pre-match refreshment. Do remember that all pubs near the ground should be assumed to be for home fans only.
Away fans generally recommend a visit to the Olde Trip to Jerusalem 12th century pub for a charming and enlightening drink before the game.
The fans were in fine voice, buoyed by Forest's elevated position in the Championship table and the eventfulness of the game.
Furthermore, the visitors on this occasion were Leicester City meaning it was a local derby. Thus the travelling support was healthy which always contributes to the fervour during the game.
The public transport links are frequent and consummate. Nottingham rail station is just a 20 minute walk from the ground. Once outside the station, signs for the City Ground will be almost immediately visible.
If travelling by air, East Midlands Airport will be your nearest destination. Do note that parking is not available at the ground itself on matchdays. Finding a space nearby shouldn't be a problem however provided that you arrive early.
The official club website offers a detailed guide to all the available options.
Adult tickets vary between £20 and £30 with prices separated into various categories depending on the quality of opposition Forest are playing - this is a common procedure at English clubs. Under 18 tickets are £12 while Under 12s can enter for £6.
Forest's prices are not terribly out of sync with their contemporaries. For a visit to the home of one of English football's most historic clubs set against the backdrop of one the country's most vibrant cities, you will certainly get a return on your investment.
There is not a great deal to speak of here, at least during the game. An LCD display gives you information relating to the match as the game progresses as well as displaying birthday messages. Official programmes, which are always an excellent souvenir, are available for £3. Stadium tours are offered on the last Friday of every month, costing £6 for adults and £2 for children, offering a fine opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history of the club.
Member Review by pryce11 on Mar 24, 2014
went as a Leeds fan with my friend who is a Forest fan ....Forest scored very late on safe to say i was the only one not celebrating!
good old fashioned stadium though, very similar to Elland Road and has a good atmosphere ...fantastic location as well
Nottingham, England NG2 2GS
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