Forest set for £265m pay-day if they triumph in Play-Off Final

City Ground

Nottingham Forest triumphed in a dramatic penalty shoot-out last night to reach the Championship play-off final – a game often dubbed “the richest game in football”.

After drawing 3-3 on aggregate with Sheffield United after 120 minutes at a fervent City Ground, Forest held their nerve to win the lottery of the penalty shoot-out 3-2 to set up a game against Huddersfield Town which is worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

If Forest reach the Premier League they are guaranteed revenue of at least £135m over the next three seasons. That could rise to £265m over a five-year period if the club avoids relegation in their first season in the Premier League.

Add to that the huge impact on the local economy of the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and the rest of the big clubs arriving in Nottingham to play, and the Championship Play-Off Final, to be held at Wembley on Sunday May 29.

Fans were understandably jubilant. Bev Cook, owner of Simple Marketing, told last night: “I was very nearly a Notts County fan as my uncle insisted I go to both so I could make my mind up, but since becoming a Red, I’ve enjoyed the many highs and lows of being a Forest fan.

“The one thing that I care about most is the pride the city has when either team does well and the positive impact this has on local businesses.

“Tonight’s game was a thriller and my nerves were wracked, but I’m delighted we have a chance to return to the Premiership. From a relegation battle to playing at Wembley is a fantastic team effort and I hope they are rewarded for their hard work. I just hope we win against Huddersfield and gain the investment we need to expand the squad and develop the stadium ready to return to European football so I can witness another win and add another star to my shirt! ”

However, amid wild scenes at the end of the game with fans pouring onto the City Ground pitch, Sheffield United player Billy Sharp appearing to be assualted by one fan.

A statement from Forest said: “Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight’s match at The City Ground.

“The Club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest.

“The Club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club.”