Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

Training Grounds: Wilford Lane, Nottingham Forest

A play-off final victory over Huddersfield last May sealed Nottingham Forest’s return to the Premier League after a 23-year absence that proved painfully long for the City Ground faithful. It was a huge moment for Forest, and since then, a substantial amount of upheaval has taken place.

The Reds made headlines during the summer of 2022 for their recruitment of over 20 new players, with significant investments made to boost the team’s chances of survival. Star arrivals have included Morgan Gibbs-White, Taiwo Awoniyi, and Keylor Navas. However, it’s not just flashy players that Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis has invested in. The Greek businessman has also heavily invested in the club’s infrastructure, particularly the Nottingham Forest training ground.

In this article, we will explore the name and location of the training ground, its key features and facilities, the improvements that have been made, and the future plans devised by the club.

Name and Location: Wilford Lane

Nottingham Forest play their home football at the City Ground, a historic 30,000-capacity stadium a stone’s throw from the city center. And each day, the club’s players travel just a mile away to the Wilford Lane training center. The proximity of the training ground to the City Ground is convenient for the players, making it easily accessible and allowing for seamless integration between training and match preparation.

Wilford Lane has been used as Nottingham Forest’s training ground for over 20 years. The previous site, Holme Road, is now the training base for local rivals Notts County. Throughout the past two decades, numerous improvements have been made to Wilford Lane.

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Recent Improvements

Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis, known for his significant investments in Greek club Olympiacos, has prioritized the improvement of the club’s infrastructure. In March 2022, redevelopment plans were unveiled, showcasing the ambition of the club. The focus of these plans is the Nigel Doughty Academy, which will soon include a new two-story building with 14 changing rooms, three classrooms, a physio room, a gymnasium, a guest lounge for academy players’ parents, canteen facilities, and additional on-site car parking.

According to manager Steve Cooper, the continuous improvement of the training ground demonstrates the club’s commitment to progress. In addition to the ongoing redevelopment plans, various changes have been made to benefit the work of the first-team players. These include overhauling the meeting room, building a private suite for owner Evangelos Marinakis, and enhancing the show pitch with new playing surfaces, goals, LED floodlights, a perimeter fence, and dugouts to meet Category One Academy license obligations.

Facilities, Size, and Dimensions

While the Wilford Lane training ground measures just 24 acres, smaller than some Premier League sites, it provides ample space for players to complete their daily drills and exercises. The main building, named the Nigel Doughty Academy, underwent key enhancements to strengthen the connection between the senior and youth teams. It features 14 changing rooms, three classrooms, a physiotherapy room, coaches’ rooms, an analysis suite, an office for the Academy Director, and more. The players also have access to a meeting area, a canteen, and a snack bar for relaxation and socializing after training sessions. The training ground consists of six grass pitches, two 3G artificial pitches, and an indoor facility with a large steel portal frame, designed to allow training in any weather conditions.

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Comparison to Other Training Centers

The recent renovations at the Nottingham Forest training ground demonstrate the club’s recognition of the need for improvement. While it may not match the size of larger training complexes like Chelsea’s Cobham Training Centre, the facilities at Wilford Lane are continuously being upgraded to meet the standards required by world-class players. The enhancements to the main building have increased capacity for top-quality analytical, scouting, and pre-match preparation work.

Future Plans

Nottingham Forest’s focus on improvement does not end with the recent redevelopment work. The club plans to develop a new stand at the City Ground, demonstrating their commitment to laying the groundwork for the future. Chairman Nicholas Randall emphasizes the club’s dedication to continually improving standards and providing the best possible environment for progress.

As they solidify their status in the Premier League, Nottingham Forest is invested in developing both their day-to-day training facilities and matchday infrastructure. They are joined by other recently promoted clubs, such as Brentford FC, in their commitment to creating a strong foundation for sustained success in the top flight.

In summary, Nottingham Forest’s Wilford Lane training ground has seen significant improvements in recent years. With its convenient location, upgraded facilities, and continuous redevelopment plans, the club is determined to provide an optimal environment for the growth and success of its players. As Nottingham Forest continues to establish themselves in the Premier League, their commitment to progress sets a promising tone for the future.

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Q: What is the name of the Nottingham Forest training ground?

A: The Nottingham Forest training ground is named Wilford Lane.

Q: How does the Nottingham Forest Training Ground compare to other training centers at a similar level?

A: While the Nottingham Forest training ground may not match the size of larger training complexes, the recent renovations and enhancements have brought it closer to the standards expected by world-class players.

Q: What are the plans for the future?

A: Nottingham Forest is committed to continuous improvement and has plans for a new stand at the City Ground. These future developments aim to further integrate the first team and academy operations, fostering a strong culture and philosophy within the club.


Nottingham Forest’s journey back to the Premier League brought about significant changes, not only in player recruitment but also in the club’s infrastructure. The Wilford Lane training ground has undergone extensive improvements, with more planned for the future. The facilities at Wilford Lane, though not the largest, are designed to meet the needs of modern football and support the development of both senior and youth teams. Nottingham Forest’s commitment to progress and creating a strong foundation sets them on a promising path in the Premier League.

To learn more about Nottingham Forest’s training ground, visit