Following reports that Nottingham Forest fans were ‘furious’ over seating changes at the City Ground, the club has announced that away fans will not be moving to the upper section of the Bridgford Stand.
A statement on the club’s website said: “After careful consultation with supporters and the local authorities, during which time several options were, and are continuing to be, considered, the club will not be relocating away fans to the upper section of the Bridgford Stand.
“The decision means all current season ticket-holders in that area of the stadium can keep their seat for the 2013-14 campaign, while part of the lower section of the stand will still be reclaimed by Forest fans.”
The consultation process of finding a suitable location for the away fans remains “ongoing” and further developments will be communicated in “due course”.
Alan Bexon, the club’s safety officer, explained why the Bridgford Stand was favoured for away fans in an interview with Vital Forest in 2009.
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He said: “A large part of any ‘match day risk assessment` focuses on the visiting support. Unfortunately segregation of the two sets of supporters is still necessary at football matches and is one of the main aims of the police and club stewards in the build up, during and after the game.
“The Bridgford Stand gives us this control far better than any other area of the ground: visitors` coaches can drop off supporters close to the turnstiles; visiting supporters accessing the stand can be monitored and controlled far easier and without interference from the home supporters; using this stand gives us greater flexibility when allowing supporters of both teams to exit this stand.
“Segregation within the lower tier also allows more flexibility without compromising safety. Allocations of 1,500, 2,500, 3,200, or 4,600 can be considered depending on the number of visiting fans attending and the demand for tickets from home supporters.
“We have, and can, use ‘T` block in the lower Brian Clough stand if the number of visiting fans is expected to be low, although this is not ideal. If the visiting fans were to be given all of the lower tier of Brian Clough stand it would create far more problems for us with opposing fans mixing both on entry and when leaving this area.”