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City Ground
Nottingham Forest v Portsmouth
Championship League
Saturday 28 April 2012, 12.30pm
 
Dominic Bickerton
(Portsmouth fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It's always good to meet up with my mate and add a new ground to our list. I'm also a big fan of Nottingham itself and I thoroughly enjoy what the city has to offer. We were also excited to actually be watching a game; Stoke were playing Arsenal later on the day, so we planned watch this match, then view the Stoke game in a pub later on.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We caught the train from Sheffield and arrived at Nottingham about two hours before kick off. Having been to Nottingham several times, I know my way around quite well and finding the ground is no problem at all. Should you need them, directions provided on the Football Ground Guide are accurate and easy to follow.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

After leaving the station we stopped at Hooters, which is usually very busy due to its proximity to the ground. We spent a good 90 minutes there having a few drinks. If you're in need of a bite to eat, the food is good and reasonably priced. It also has a few cash machines, which was useful because the ones at the train station were out of order, however, they do charge a small fee for withdrawals.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

I have seen the ground many times from the outside and I have always been impressed with its location on the river and its general look. After finding our seats on the back row of the Trent End, we took in the rest of the ground and were fairly impressed. The Brian Clough stand is very impressive and the Bridgford Stand is a rather unique looking and adds a certain charm to the ground. I did think that the Main Stand looked quite worse for wear and could do with a lick of paint and a bit of renovation. Overall, the City Ground is easily one of the better grounds in the Championship. It has a lot of character and is in a great location, both of which are rare to find in a lot of grounds these days.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game itself was never going to be a real spectacle; Forest were safe from relegation and Pompey were already condemned to League One football next season. Neither team had much to play for and the players were already wearing their flip flops. The first half consisted of some of the worst football I have seen this year, and it was evident as to why both teams have struggled this season. At half time we went down onto the concourse, which was very crowded and clearly inadequate to cope with the number of fans. Both the food bars and toilets had long queues, and by the time we had both done the half time necessities the second half had already kicked off.

The second 45 minutes were much like the first, and both of us had started to question why we had paid 27 each for a ticket (We both agreed that 27 quid was extremely steep, especially when you consider that a fair few Premier League clubs have cheaper ticket prices). However, we were not to be denied some entertainment when on 70 minutes Dexter Blackstock turned in a Gareth McCleary cross from a yard out. 19 minutes later Blackstock claimed his second of the match when he headed in from an Andy Reid corner. The game finally ran out as a rather uneventful 2-0 win for Forest.

The atmosphere largely reflected the game and was disappointingly flat for long periods. It can be hard be create a good aura around an end of season match, especially when it has no real consequence for either team, but there was almost no noise from the home fans whatsoever. Despite the poor effort from the home fans, the large Pompey following were noisy and were in full relegation party mood. We were amused by the large amount of away fans in various fancy dress outfits, the highlight being a group of fifty or so men dressed as Robin Hood!

Me and my mate were on the back row of the Trend End, so we stood for the entire match. The stewards didn't have a problem with it and kept a very low profile, which can only be a good thing.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

After full time we left the ground quickly with no problems and were back in Hooters within 15 minutes

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The overall day out was a great laugh. We added a new ground to our lists, got to watch some live nogger (Stokie slang for football!) and had a good day out drinking. The match and atmosphere may not have been the best advert for Championship football, but it was a still a good experience and was worth the trip out.


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