Opponents: Nottingham Forest
Date: Monday 2 April | Kick-off: 3pm
Capacity: 30,445 | Post code for sat-nav: NG2 5FJ
Built in the picturesque location on the banks of the River Trent, the City Ground has been the seventh permanent home of Nottingham Forest Football Club since 1898.
Previously tenants at the nearby Town Ground – reportedly the first stadium to host a football match using crossbars and goal nets – the club financed the £3,000 construction of their new home through members of the public and businessmen raising two-thirds of the required amount by purchasing £5 bonds in a 'New Ground Scheme’.
Boasting one of the finest pitches in the game in the early years of the stadium’s existence, a redevelopment plan began in the late-1950s and marked the opening of new East and Main Stands, though a devastating fire ripped through the latter in the summer of 1968, destroying large quantities of irreplaceable memorabilia.
The gargantuan success that saw Brian Clough guide Forest to successive European Cup triumphs in 1979 and 1980 generated increased revenue for a £2m Executive Stand that was later named after the man himself, before further construction work in the 90s prepared the stadium for England’s hosting of the Euro 96 international tournament.
A safety review prior to the 2016/17 season saw the ground hit the headlines after its capacity was reduced to zero following a failure to meet regulations required by a Nottingham County Council audit. Nonetheless, its fully-seated 30,445 capacity was reinstated the following month just days before their season opener against Burton Albion, which they won 4-3.
Tuesday’s game will be just the 14th time the two sides have faced one another since 1954, with Brentford having won five of the last seven, including their three most recent trips to the City Ground.
Nottingham Forest have made 1,019 tickets available to Bees fans for the fixture, with an incredibly affordable pricing strategy. Adult tickets in the Bridgford Stand cost just £20, seniors are £15, 18-23s £10, 16-17s and students £5 and juniors from 4-15 pay just £1.
Did you know?
Just 300 yards from Notts County’s Meadow Lane home, the two grounds are the closest football stadiums in England and the second-closest in the UK after Dundee and Dundee United.
How to get there:
It’s approximately 128 miles from Griffin Park to the City Ground by road. From the south leave at Junction 24 and take the A453. When you meet the Nottingham Ring Road go straight over and follow the Wilford Road B679 for two miles before turning on to the A60. Follow the A60 past Trent Bridge and the ground will be on your left. Alternatively, you can follow the Ring Road South before turning left onto the Radcliffe Road and the ground will be on your left after 1.5 miles. Once supporters arrive, it is worth noting that the residential streets around West Bridgford are best avoided due to residents parking schemes in operation on matchdays, however there are a wide variety of club-approved car parks available.
The car park at Meadow Lane costs £3 per car, while County Hall costs £4 per car, £12 per minibus and £20 per coach. The Cattlemarket pay-and-display car park will set you back around £3 per car. There is also the Lady Bay Sports Ground, the home of Notts Rugby Club, which costs £5 per car and Victoria Embankment for £4 per car, though the latter has very limited availability.
For those wishing to travel by train, prices for the two to two-and-a-half-hour journey are expensive to say the least, with an off-peak return costing £102 for adults and £51 for children. That said, the last train leaves Nottingham for St Pancras at 9.32pm so, unless supporters plan on staying in the city overnight, alternative travel might be advisable.
Where to eat/drink:
Many pubs close to the ground are, understandably, largely designated for Forest fans, though if you a dig under the surface a little, you’ll find Nottingham has a raft of welcoming pubs and bars for both pre and post-match refreshments.
There’s the bar at Meadow Lane on the opposite side of the River Trent, Nottingham Rowing Club, or perhaps the Waterfront complex, which includes a Wetherspoons. Stratford Haven on Stratford Road boasts a good reputation for food and offers street parking, too.
There are also two niche, eye-catching pubs called Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem and the Canal House. The first – a five-minute walk from the train station - sits beside Nottingham Castle on Castle Street and dates back to the 12th century, with cave-like rooms carved out from the rock it’s built upon. The latter boasts a quirk of its own in the form of a canal inlet that runs through the inside of the pub!