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Nottingham Forest owner wants to move from City Ground

Nottingham Forest owner, Evangelos Marinakis has expressed his desire to move from the City Ground. The Greek shipping magnet revealed his overall plan to invest in the infrastructure of the club in an exclusive interview with Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail.

‘It’ll be hard to leave City Ground’ – Forest owner reveals plans to move away from historic venue

In the interview with Mokbel at his offices in London, Marinakis opened up about the ageing infrastructure of Forest. He declared that the stadium and training ground of the two-time European Cup winners are not up to modern standards and, as a result, are stopping the club from reaching its true potential. In an era of Premier League clubs moving to new grounds and renovating their stadiums to generate increased revenues, Forest fear that the impasse in negotiations with the Nottingham City Council concerning the expansion of the City Ground is holding the club back.

Forest owner
Forest have played at the City Ground since 1898 – Photo by Icon Sport

The Greek owner is set to hold discussions with supporters this summer about his plans for a “sports village” and his vision to hold academy and women’s games at the City Ground. Marinakis said: “It will change the history in years to come of the region and the team for our supporters,’ he said.

“It’ll be hard to leave City Ground, but in an age when revenue streams dictate success on the pitch, there’s no doubt moving to a bigger facility will set the club on the right path.”

Potential new stadium in Toton

Marinakis has already identified potential sites for a new 50,000-seater stadium, alongside Chairman Tom Cartledge. One of these sites is a piece of land in Toton, which was supposed to be used for the failed HS2 project and is owned by Nottinghamshire County Council. Cartledge told The Athletic, “That (Toton) is one of several potential spots. It’s not as easy as to say, ‘Here’s a piece of land, go and build a stadium’. There are highways, transport and connectivity issues. But it’s fair to say we are progressing due diligence on different sites.”

Cartledge frustrated with council talks

Cartledge first announced that they were looking at moving away from the City Ground in February 2024. This is because the current lease only has 33 years left on it and the council was demanding to increase the rent from £250,000 to £1 million. This is a major step away from the club’s original plans in 2019 to increase the capacity of the City Ground to nearly 40,000 through the expansion of both the Peter Taylor Stand and the Bridgford Stand.

Forest owner
Nottingham Forest chairman, Tom Cartledge has become frustrated over the stalled talks with the council concerning a new lease at the City Ground – Photo by Icon Sport

In March, Cartledge said: “The city came back this this week with some revised terms which seemingly have gone backwards, so it's making it even more difficult. I think the most important thing is that the football club is able to achieve its ambitions on and off the football field. To do that at the City Ground is challenging, given the size of the capacity and what we want to achieve.

“The city council is a blocker at the moment to that and there has been no change in the position since we spoke about it three weeks ago. I think there is still a perception in their mind that there is more rent that should be paid on this site if we bring alternative uses onto the site and they're reflecting that in their heads of terms.

“If we bring residential onto the site, they want to see further uplifts. The misunderstanding is that the residential components are simply here to fund the redevelopment of the ground rather than to make profit for the ownership or other parties.”

City council leader responds

In the latest turn of events concerning the stalemate in talks over the land-lease agreement, The Athletic reported on Monday, March 13, that the city council has offered Forest the chance to buy the City Ground freehold for £10 million. City council leader David Mellon urged the East Midlands club to complete the deal “so the destiny (of the City Ground) will be in their own hands rather than having to negotiate with us as the landlord”.


Will Murray

Freelance football journalist. Experience writing for When Saturday, Comes, Goalkeeper.com, Elite Scholars and Total Football Analysis. Recently finished an MA in Sport Journalism at the University of Brighton. Long-time season ticket holder at the two-time European Champions Nottingham Forest.

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