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Evangelos Marinakis’ Bombshell Interview and Forest’s Future Away From The City Ground?

Nottingham Forest's owner has sent shockwaves through his fanbase after he revealed ambitions to rehouse the club at a site over six miles away, naïve to just what the City Ground means to his supporters.


The waves on our badge. Our pre-match anthem. So often our fortress. The City Ground has been forever synonymous with everything positive about Nottingham Forest. It’s the only place associated with the club and, for the majority, that’s something that we never want changing. 


However, that is all up in the air following a bombshell interview conducted by Reds’ owner Evangelos Marinakis with the Mail. In summary, the Greek indicated that his intentions were to move the club away from the site on the banks of the River Trent. The plan is to build a sports village complex that is likely to be built over six miles from the current site in Toton, something Marinakis claims will make the club more competitive.


Forest are at their ‘competitive’ best when 30,000 loyal supporters are at their vocal and raucous peak. Think of the spine-tingling atmosphere during the promotion season, last year’s survival run, or even against Chelsea last time out. 

The stadium certainly isn’t at the bottom of the pile in terms of Premier League grounds. Granted, it needs some work — in some areas quite a lot — but that’s what makes it special. It’s not perfect, but neither is Nottingham. It represents the city quite well. 


Moving away from NG2 to the suburbs of Nottingham, maybe even on the Leicestershire border, would likely do the opposite in making Forest competitive. The Reds aren’t an established Premier League side and have only started to sell out their 30,000-seater stadium recently.


Relegation at this stage is still a very minute possibility but even if Forest stay up this year, it’s not a given they’ll be so lucky next year. They are on the brink of becoming the worst-ever Premier League survivors and face strong competition from promoted sides next season. 


The glitz and glamour of the PL is slowly wearing off and the demand for tickets already seems to be on a narrow decline; imagine if the Reds were to go down. Even if tickets were available on general sale, who would want to go out of their way and travel to Toton to watch Plymouth at home on a Tuesday night?


Certainly not 50,000 people. 


Evangelos Marinakis has done so much good for the area and the club. We wouldn’t be in the Premier League without him. But should these whispers come to fruition, his tenure will be forever held with resentment and displeasure by large sections of the fanbase. 


There was a question mark as to who was behind the proposed Toton move: the owner or chairman? Recent news would suggest it’s both, was this the real reason Cartledge was promoted?

Forest fans made their feelings clear this Saturday, with the whole stadium rising and chanting “stand up for the City Ground,” in unison. Who knows whether this was before or after Marinakis’ bombshell interview released on Tuesday. One thing is for sure, it’s unlikely the supporters will stand by and let this happen. 


They acknowledge that change is needed — there was a more positive reaction to proposals released on Monday night by Nottinghamshire architect Matt Drewitt. The anger is about the location — don’t take the Forest out of Nottingham. 


Forest fans have also been angered with the Greek proclaiming that he “drove Forest back to the Premier League after 23 years.”


This was despite clear frustration from the owner and murmurs of him intending to sell the club, before Steve Cooper drove Forest up the table and into the promised land. Marinakis struck gold with Cooper and has him to thank for the position the club finds itself in.


Owners, managers and players come and go, but supporters stick through thick and thin. A move away from their cherished home would thoroughly test those ties to the limit. 


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