Sport in Nottingham

The residents of the city of Nottingham are passionate about sport, in all of its many varieties. There are numerous sport venues and facilities hosting professional and amateur competitions for local spectators. Also, opportunities abound for every resident to get involved themselves in a sport that interests them.

Three major sports facilities lie within sight of each other along the River Trent:

One of the most popular sports in England is football (that's association football, or soccer, not to be confused with the American variety). 

The city of Nottingham is the home of teams from two different football leagues. Each game day, Meadow Lane Stadium on the outskirts of the city holds 20,000 cheering supporters of the Notts County Football Club, which competes in Football League Two (the fourth tier of the English league system).  Founded in 1862, the Notts County team is actually the oldest Football League team in the world, established a year before the Football Association itself.  The team wears black and white stripes at home, and are known as the Magpies.

Just three hundred yards to the south, across the Trent River and technically in the suburb of West Bridgford, is the City Ground, the largest football ground in England with a capacity of over 30,000 in its four stands. It is home to Notts' rivals, the red and white Nottingham Forest Football Club which is a member of Football League One (the third tier). The Reds won two European Cups at the beginning of the 1980s.  Though it's often assumed the team was named after Nottingham's famous Sherwood Forest, it actually took its name from its original home at the Forest Recreation Ground, an open field which now hosts the city's famous Goose Fair every year. 

The game of cricket is another essential part of British sporting culture, and Nottingham's people are no exception to this rule.  The Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club resides at the Trent Bridge cricket ground, which sits cheek by jowl next to the City Ground.  The Trent Bridge ground hosts many international Test matches and One-Day International matches, and numerous other large and small cricketing events. The ground has been expanded and redesigned several times over its history, and now boasts architectural awards for some of its newer stand designs.  A cricket academy, a gymnasium, a hotel, and two pubs share space with the cricket pitch and its stands and facilities.

While these three grounds get the lion's share of the attention, Nottingham also has several other notable sporting facilities.

In the centre of the city near the Lace Market is the enormous ice skating rink known as the National Ice Centre (or more commonly NIC).  After extensive redevelopment, the current building opened for business in 2000, but an ice rink has existed on the site since 1939.  The NIC is the home of the Nottingham Panthers, a competitive ice hockey team that was founded in 1946 and is now a member of the Super League.  The Ice centre hosts the yearly hockey play off championship.  It is also used as a venue for training and competition for other sports, including figure skating, ice dancing, speed skating, and sledge hockey.  Native Nottingham skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean trained at the NIC, and went on to win medals at the 1984 Winter Olympics.  There is also an active youth program for both hockey players and competitive skating.  When ice skaters of various types are not using the facilties, the Ice Centre can be converted into the Nottingham Arena, a venue for a wide variety of musical performances, including some of rock and pop's biggest names.

The Nottingham Rugby Football Club plays rugby union at Ireland Avenue in the nearby town of Beeston, while a new rugby facility called Lady Bay is under construction near the cricket ground.

The City of Nottingham Tennis Centre has professional-quality facilities and numerous classes and resources for adult and youth tennis enthusiasts.  Every summer in the week before the Wimbledon tennis tournament, the Nottingham Tennis Centre hosts the Red Letter Days Open tennis tournament (formerly the Samsung Open), attracting many of the world's top tennis players who wish to test their competitive mettle before the big tournament.

In Holme Pierrepont to the east of the city, the National Water Sports Centre is the focus of a unique complex of facilities for rowing and sailing competitions.  Alongside the River Trent and Colwick Country park, the Water Sports Centre features a two thousand metre regatta lake, and courses for canoeing, white water and slalom competitions.  Many other sailing, rowing and canoeing clubs (and the businesses which cater to them) have grown up around the centre and along the river.

The Sport Nottingham Health and Fitness Complex focuses on martial arts training and fitness resources, including a gym and two racquets and squash courts.  A small arena frequently features martial arts displays and competitions, as well as boxing and wrestling.  The complex regularly rents out its facilities for local teams in many sports for practice and competition.

Those who love personal activity and those who simply love to watch others give it their all will all find something worth pursuing among the many sporting options in the City of Nottingham.

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