THE OPPO – Nottingham Forest
DATE – Saturday 9th August
KO TIME – 5.35pm (to facilitate Sky TV coverage)
THE GROUND – The City Ground, Nottingham, NG2 5FJ, click here for a map – the arrow in the centre points to where the City Ground is.
The City Ground is just south of Nottingham city centre, just off the A60 London Road and opposite the famous Trent Bridge Cricket Ground.
Visitors’ turnstiles are accessible through the Brian Clough Stand carpark via Scarrington Road off Lady Bay Bridge. Away supporters are allocated seats in the lower Bridgeford End, disabled visitors have spaces at the front of lower Bridgeford.
GOING BY CAR?
Follow the signs to the ground along the A6011 approach road – both Forest’s AND County’s grounds are signposted. As you might expect, parking restrictions operate on matchdays and you’ll need to get there early to find on-street parking (but don’t block anybody’s driveway and upset the locals!!) Or you could try crossing the Trent Bridge and parking on the other side of the river, which is apparently relatively quiet on Forest (as opposed to County) matchdays.
GOING BY TRAIN?
You can get a direct train to Nottingham from London St Pancras, Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. Travelling from Sunderland you’ll have to change at Newcastle, then from Newcastle you’ll then have to change at Grantham, Derby or Chesterfield depending on which train you get from Newcastle (go to the National Rail website to see what trains are available for that day.
Nottingham Midland station is in the city centre, and less than a mile from the City Ground. Leave by the main entrance/exit and turn left. At the corner of the station turn left again, then go along till you reach the T-junction with London Road. If you turn right here and follow the road along, you’ll see the City Ground across the river to your left. The away end is furthest from the river.
SCRAN AND BOOZE
Nottingham Forest’s official website says that the Larwood and Voce pub – adjoining Trent Bridge cricket ground – is the ‘unofficial’ pub for visiting supporters. You need to avoid the Trent Bridge Inn, though – they don’t allow opposition supporters in. But there are loads of pubs, clubs and restaurants in Nottingham city centre if you’re peckish and/or thirsty either side of the match.
LEND US A FIVER……
There’s an HSBC cash machine actually AT the ground itself. Failing that, the next nearest one is within the Trent Bridge Inn on Radcliffe Road, a quarter of a mile away, the Co-Op Store on Bridgeford Road, and there’s a Bank of Scotland machine in the service station on London Road.
IN THE NEWS
They’ve recently signed Michael Stewart on a season-long loan from Man Utd – a player Sunderland were linked with fairly recently.
There was speculation recently that Forest would try to hijack Walsall’s signing of Paul Merson – but it never happened.
Former Forest player Pierre Van Hooijdonk is suing them, claiming he is owed money from his transfer to Vitesse Arnhem in 1999.
Final league position – 6th
P 46 W20 D14 L12 F82 A50 Pts 74
HEAD TO HEAD
Forest and Sunderland have met 82 times in league matches and we’ve just got the edge, having won 33 to Forest’s 27, with 22 draws.
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
04/03/98: Forest 0, Lads 3 (Rae, Johnston, Phillips)
08/11/97: Lads 1, Forest 1 (Phillips)
22/03/97: Lads 1, Forest 1 (Ball)
21/08/96: Forest 1, Lads 4 (Gray, Quinn (2), Ord)
08/05/94: Forest 2, Lads 2 (Goodman, Russell)
– Best league win: 12-0 vs Leicester back in April 1909
– Worst league defeat: 1-9 vs Blackburn Rovers in April 1937.
– Record transfer fee paid: £4.5m to Celtic for Pierre Van Hooijdonk (March 97)
– Record transfer fee received: £8.5m from Liverpool, for Stan Collymore (June 95)
– The derby match against local oppo Notts County is the oldest derby match in the world.
– Forest made the first million pound transfer deal between British clubs
– They were in the first league game ever to be shown live on British telly
– James Dean Bradfield, frontman of the Manic Street Preachers is a lifelong Forest supporter.
And it seems almost an insult to put this in with ‘trivia’ but there’s the very obvious Cloughie Connection – the Brian Howard Clough left his local club Boro for Sunderland in 1961 for the princely transfer sum of £45,000, staying for three years and netting 54 goals in 61 games for the Lads. After management spells at Hartlepool, Derby, Brighton and 44 days in charge of Leeds, he took over at the helm of Forest in January 1975 where he stayed for 18 years, cementing his status as one of football’s true legends.
Credits: Nottingham Forest official website, Rough Guide to English Football, Soccerbase, brianclough.com, streetmap.co.uk, National Rail.