Nottingham Forest
Nottingham Forest players pile on top of Jamie Paterson as he celebrates scoring a hat trick during their FA Cup third round match against West Ham United at City Ground in Nottingham earlier this yearReuters

Nottingham had a reason to celebrate this morning as Sport England named it as the first City of Football, ahead of rivals Manchester and Portsmouth.

Nottingham has now earned the right to run a two-year pilot programme to promote football at grassroots level. The city will also receive £1.6 million from Sport England for this programme.

The three cities were shorlisted from a total of 22 bids.

Sport England stated Nottingham won their bid "by mobilising an impressive group of private, public and voluntary sector partners from both inside and outside the traditional football family, to do whatever it takes to get more people - particularly those aged 14-25 years - playing all kinds of football regularly."

"Nottingham was simply the best - it was a terrific bid," pointed out Phil Smith, director of sport at Sport England.

Nigel Cooke, head of One Nottingham, announced the news in front of the Council House, and expressed his happiness in winning the bid.

"Over the next two years, we will create new football partnerships; develop new technologies; encourage more people to play, especially 14 to 25 year olds, women and girls and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds; and share our learning so that the rest of England can benefit from our insight," Cooke said.

The programme includes a plan that will feature a month-long Festival of Football, which will reach out to many players via social media. The team is aiming to get more participants between the age group 14-25 as they will provide the opportunity and resources to bring out the talent.

"We will make it as easy as possible for people to get to their game," Team Nottingham stated. "If football isn't delivered to them in their community, then public transport will take them there at an affordable price. We'll create freedom and flexibility for football players to enable them to play.

"We will spark an explosion of football participation."