Nottingham Forest may have outgrown the City Ground - if so they need to admit it

Nottingham Forest fans have made their feelings clear to owner Evangelos Marinakis about the future of the City Ground - now it's time for all relevant parties to put their cards on the table.

Reds fans deserve - and should demand - transparency as the club seemingly starts to consider life after the City Ground. As we reported at the weekend, supporters have been vocal about their feelings on a potential move away from their historic ground on the banks of the River Trent.

Nottingham City Council have seemingly thrown the ball back to Forest's side of the court with suggestions that the leasehold of the venerable old ground has always been on the table - for the right price.

That would make the ground and the land Forest's to do with what they please - if indeed they do want to do anything with it?Evangelos Marinakis was vocal in the press last week with his big vision for the club. And to make that dream a reality, it seems it could involve a move away from the ground that is such a huge part of the club's identity.

So far, a rather daft game of cat and mouse has been played out - a potentially dangerous game for the future of the club. Those who love and care about Forest do not want to see it, they don't want the whispers and tit for tat mud-slinging and riddles that have accompanied it. They just want clarity.

The council's rent demands are never going to be met by the club, but there is no reason why the freehold can't be bought - if that is truly what Marinakis and his board wants?

That appears to be the key issue here - does the club feel that the City Ground could, and should, be their home for more years to come? The answer seems to be no.

You can't blame an owner for potentially looking at ways to move the club forward, and we have seen several taking this route of moving to purpose-built complexes in urban areas away from housing and city centres. The traditional location of football stadia in these areas does leave clubs hindered and having to work with constraints that can harm their potential.

Nottingham Forest's City Ground
Nottingham Forest's City Ground -Credit:Getty

But the emotions involved mean that whilst this may look like a tidy business plan in a boardroom, it can never truly be that straightforward. For all of the Marinakis millions that have gone into the club, he will never truly own Nottingham Forest Football Club - that will always be the fans. Chairmans and owners are never more than custodians.

Football grounds are the lifeblood of a community, plus they hold more nostalgia than any book or video could ever offer up. Are the council truly prepared for that eventuality and the loss it would mean to the city? Can they actually do anything to prevent it? After all, it's a big boost for the local economy in the current location.

Nottingham Forest fans at the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest fans at the City Ground. -Credit:Alex Livesey

The time has come for total transparency over what is going to happen, and if that is what would seem an unthinkable City Ground exit, then fans need to be told that.

The ball is very much in the club's court, they can afford to walk away, own their own land, and build their own dream for the club's future. People need to pick the phone up. They need to get into meeting rooms, they need to all start acting like grown-ups.

The City Ground is not a tactical bargaining chip - for thousands of fans, it's their church, it's their Saturday, it's their home. Whatever this process is that we are in - it needs handling a lot better than it has been so far.

Stay or go? Tell us your views on the future of the City Ground in the comments section HERE