Nottingham Forest moved to The City Ground on 3 September 1898. Situated only a few hundred yards from the old Town Ground at the opposite end of Trent Bridge, it was named in celebration of Nottingham’s newly-awarded city status.
£3,000 was required to finance the move, £2,000 of which came from supporters, members and businessmen who bought ‘New Ground Scheme’ bearer bonds at £5 each.
The company of JW Bardill, a committee member and nurseryman whose family firm still exists in the city, was handed the difficult task of preparing a pitch which was heavily exposed on three sides. Despite this, The City Ground surface developed a reputation as one of the best in the country.
In 1935, the club decided not to proceed with an opportunity to buy the ground from Nottingham Corporation for £7,000.
In 1957, a £40,000 stand with room for 2,500 seated spectators was built at the East end of the ground. At its official opening on October 12, Manchester United’s ‘Busby Babes’ helped attract a record crowd of 47,804 and ran out 2-1 winners. The match ball, signed by both teams, is on display in the Trophy Room.
On August 24 1968, the Main Stand – which had been largely rebuilt in 1965 – was destroyed by fire which broke out during a First Division match against Leeds United. Despite a crowd of 31,126 there were no casualties. The fire, which is believed to have started near the dressing rooms, rapidly tore through the stand’s wooden construction, destroying it and much of the club’s records, trophies and memorabilia. As a result, Forest played six 'home' matches at nearby Meadow Lane, where they failed to win once.
In 1980, during a period of unforgettable European and domestic successes for the club, funds were in place to build the 10,000 capacity Brian Clough Stand. Incorporating 36 executive boxes and a large dining area, it added a new dimension to the club’s corporate hospitality arrangements.
In April 1992, work began on the redevelopment of the Bridgford Stand to increase its capacity to 7,710. The lower tier, which holds 5,131, was allocated to away supporters. Its unusually-shaped roof was a planning requirement to allow sunlight to reach houses in nearby Colwick Road. The stand can accommodate 70 wheelchair supporters and houses a Management Suite, from which the public address systems, scoreboard controls and matchday police all operate.
The City Ground was chosen as one of the venues to host the European Championships in 1996. In mind of this, the Trent End, a prominent landmark by the River Trent, was rebuilt that year. It holds 7,500 fans and takes the ground’s overall capacity to 30,602.
Centenary Celebrations in 1998
The Centenary of The City Ground was marked in November 1998 when Forest hosted East Midlands rivals Derby County in a televised Premier League fixture. A typically competitive 2-2 draw was complimented by a variety of celebrations.
One of the highlights came at half-time as some of the biggest names in the club's history were paraded in front of the crowd. The eternally-popular Joe Baker was in attendance, as was Len Beaumont, who, at the age of 83, was believed to be one of club's oldest living ex-players. There was also a parade of Forest strips from down the years and special entertainment was organised before the game and at half-time to mark a memorable occasion.
Previous Nottingham Forest stadia
1865-1878 - The Forest
1879-1881 - Castle Ground, The Meadows
1873-1882 - Trent Bridge
1882-1885 - Parkside Ground
1885-1890 - Gregory Ground
1890-1898 - Town Ground