Evangelos Marinakis wants Nottingham Forest to move from City Ground

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis says he wants the club to move from the City Ground, their current home stadium.

Forest are considering relocating to a new 50,000-seat stadium in Toton, situated on the Nottinghamshire-Derbyshire border, approximately six miles away from Nottingham city centre.

But Forest, whose Premier League status was all but assured at the weekend, are also being urged to abandon any idea of moving. The Athletic revealed on Monday they are being offered the chance to buy the land where their stadium sits for a figure in the region of £10million.

Marinakis, however, believes changing stadiums could elevate Forest to further success in the future.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, he said: “It will change the history in years to come of the region and the team for our supporters.

“It will be hard to leave the 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.

“Over the last 10 years, the city of Nottingham has lacked the confidence and ambition of the other big regional cities of Manchester and Birmingham. Nottingham needed a new leader to be brave, ambitious, to invest and be honest.”

Forest’s chairman, Tom Cartledge, has blamed the club’s landlords, Nottingham City Council, because of a dispute over extending the City Ground lease.

Talks regarding a new lease for the City Ground have stalled due to disagreements over the terms, with Forest seeking a longer agreement to support stadium expansion plans.

Forest are putting together a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to announce a partnership on sporting projects with Nottinghamshire County Council, which owns the land at Toton that is interesting the club.

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(MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The freehold for the City Ground has been independently valued at £8m-£10m and its current owner, Nottingham City Council, says it would be “very happy” to try to negotiate a sale.

Alternative land options have been considered, but logistical and financial challenges make them less viable.

Speaking to The Athletic, the city council leader, David Mellen, confirmed there was an option available to Forest to buy the freehold “so the destiny (of the City Ground) will be in their own hands rather than having to negotiate with us as the landlord”.

The terms of the deal would involve additional considerations if significant development were to occur on the site. Forest had previously proposed £4m, but this offer was not pursued in the current negotiations.

“There was an offer put in a few years ago that didn’t meet the valuation,” said Mellen. “We hold public money and can’t just choose to say, ‘This is our valuation, independently given to us’, then ignore it. That would not only be against our best-consideration guidelines, but it wouldn’t be fair on the people of Nottingham.”

Forest currently pay £250,000 annually for the land hosting their 30,000-seat City Ground, with the lease expiring in 33 years. To expand it into a 40,000-seat stadium, they are seeking a longer agreement in order to progress with their “masterplan”.

Talks broke down due to proposed steep increases, prompting frustration from Forest. The council disputes being blamed and claim they are open to negotiations.

On Saturday, during Forest’s 3-2 loss to Chelsea at home, thousands of fans vocally expressed their opposition to the Toton relocation, chanting and singing against it to emphasise their desire to stay at the City Ground.



A timely reminder of why the City Ground is one of English football’s finest venues

(PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

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