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A golden goose (at Gamston) or a white elephant?

An artists impression of the proposed Forest-drome..

An artists impression of the proposed Forest-drome..

It had all gone quiet on the new ground front.  The ‘chairman’s message’ at the start of the season skirted around the subject whilst offering the tantalising possibility of redeveloping the City Ground.  That seems to have become redundant in the latest round of PR from the club though, who have hop-skipped-and-jumped from Clifton to Holme Pierrepont and now to Gamston in terms of relocating of Forest as part of England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

Of course, anything like this happening is subject to quite a few ifs and buts.  If Nottingham is successful in beating competition from our fellow East Midland cities, and of course if England are ultimately successful with their bid – and I have no real idea about the likelihood of either of these things.  My own regional biasedness would naturally rank us ahead of Derby and Leicester – but I’m not a FIFA or FA adjudicator and perhaps they might have less parochial selection criteria!

A lot of objections doing the rounds are the usual suspects – one I can empathise with.  For one, we don’t need a bigger ground right now.  This new ground would be a 45,000 all seater which could be reduced back down to 38,000 afterwards.  Of course, no actual designs are forthcoming, but the ulterior motive of creating a veritable ‘Wembley for Women’ is a bit of a PR faux pas in a game which is still really rather masculinised.  Whilst it doesn’t really bother me, a lot of people I have spoken to really have strong feelings about this more than anything else.

Geographically Gamston isn’t all that far from where we are currently – so it wouldn’t be that much of an upheaval in terms of prematch rituals – although it would be a bit of a trek from the many drinkeries around the City Ground.  The FIFA and FA parties are being taken around the place soon – obviously the new ground is just a small part of a bid which needs to include facilities for visiting teams as well as ‘fan parks’ around the region.

Whilst I am supportive of Nottingham hosting World Cup games in 2018 – and why wouldn’t I be? – I still find myself unconvinced by the need for a new stadium.  Emotionally I am completely opposed to it, although I do recognise even the newer stands at the City Ground are looking tired – without even getting into the mess that is the Main Stand.  Rather than being eager about the prospect I suppose I find myself more resigned to it – because whilst our pitch may be a great surface, the rest of our facilities lag significantly behind our rivals.

I’ve envisaged two scenarios that might see us get to stay – either Nottingham loses out to a rival city as a host, or England fails with the overall 2018 bid.  Or possibly Notts County – with their new found fortune and fame – could step in and move into a new purpose-built megadrome to house their multitude of ageing megastars.  Forest could stay at the City Ground and redevelop to suit our own needs rather than those of FIFA or the FA.  Hmm, maybe not!

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