Date:Sunday June 24 2007
Now that the dust has settled and we have all had time to mull over the idea of moving into a shiny new home, (albeit in seven years time), opinion is obviously divided. That opinion though would seem to be mostly in favour of the move.
When the news first broke on the message boards it was greeted with disbelief and dismissed as farcical. A 40,000 seater stadium, with the intention of raising it to 50,000 for what is still a League 1 club is an ambitious plan to say the least. But the club is at pains to stress that they don't plan on being a League 1 club much longer. That surely has to be music to all our ears, as it would mean the club intends to invest in the team and move on upwards.
The more sceptical fans suggested this was just a smokescreen to deflect attentions from their inability to get anything right regarding all things football. Fair comment really in light of recent activity, or lack of it at the City Ground. But this is no smokescreen. The plans have been drawn up, the builders are in place, the Council are on board and the club want it to happen. Chief Executive Mark Arthur has said he wants it to be an iconic piece of architecture and for it to stand out from the more conventional 'flat pack' style stadia seen springing up all over the country.
Many supporters both young and old are up in arms at the thought of losing their spiritual home and thoughts of progression and better facilities won't matter a jot. A major concern would be the clubs' ability to fill such a place. The thought of 20,000 empty seats doesn't bode well for a good atmosphere and many see it as another step down the corporate road to hell. The naming of the ground has been up for debate, with everyman and his dog wanting it named after the great man Brian Clough and quite rightly too. It has to be said though, that as much as we may think this is right, the probability is that it will bare the name of some sponsor, so get used to the 'Capital One Stadium', you may be hearing it a lot.
These are all the negatives, what about the positives? There are many, not least the promise from Mr Arthur that this will not deflect from ambitions on the pitch. That's good, because for a few years now many were having doubts. Arthur told the assembled press that promotion was the goal, both this year and next and then on to Europe. A bold statement indeed, but a welcome one at that. Other benefits would be for the city as a whole. Road and rail links would lead to new jobs. The influx of new money can only be good for the local economy and last but not least, it will enable NFFC to hold both European and World Cup games at the ground.
There is much to be sceptical about, but there is more to look forward to. This is an ambitious plan by the club and they should for once be applauded. 2014 is the proposed finish date, so fans have a while to say goodbye to the City Ground, a place that holds many good memories and has served Forest well. Hopefully there are some more good ones to come.
Date:Sunday June 24 2007
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