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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Norwich City 1 West Bromwich Albion 2

Coca-Cola Championship
Carrow Road, Norwich, Norfolk

Norwich CityPutting football rivalries aside for a moment it has to be said that Norwich is quite a pleasant city to visit and equally I’m sure quite a nice place to live. It is depicted in some quarters of the media as a geographic as well as political backwater, not helped (stifles laughter) by the exploits of the fictional Radio Norfolk presenter Alan Partridge, but it is often forgotten that Norwich was at one time England’s second city both in population and in commerce.

Today Norwich is one of the UK’s leading shopping destinations (it’s residents also lead the way as the nations most active EBay’ers) but away from the high streets it also offers many other attractions including a castle, a pretty splendid 11th century cathedral and a wealth of other architecture from the Medieval, Middle Ages, Edwardian and Victorian era’s. At one time Norwich is said to have boasted a church for every day of the week and a pub for every day!

Norwich City

While mentioning the cathedral I should also mention that my brother-in-law was at one time a member of it’s choir and it was he who invited me to today’s game as his guest for he is, it shames me to admit, a Norwich City supporter and season ticket holder. This deviant behaviour, I should point out, he hid from our family for almost two full years after his marriage to my sister.

Norwich City

I’m no stranger to Carrow Road having visited the place many times over the years to watch East Anglian Derby’s and the ground and surrounds have certainly seen some changes in that time. The ground dates from 1935 and it’s original grandstand and terracing were constructed in just eight-two days to make it City’s third home. Captain Evelyn Barclay (a club vice-president) financed the construction of a roof over the railway end terrace two years later and the Barclay Stand was born. Although completely rebuilt since it retains it originally name and houses the more vociferous of the club’s fan’s.

Norwich CityThe grandstand was badly damaged by fire a few months into the 1984-85 season and it’s subsequent rebuilding was the catalyst for the first major improvements at Carrow Road in fifty-years. Named the Geoffrey Watling City Stand it houses the players changing rooms, directors box and media areas but has since been dwarfed by the stands on the other three sides of the playing area.

Behind both of the goals are the similar but not identical Norwich & Peterborough (1979) and Barclay Stand’s (1992). These are two tiered affairs with a row of executive boxes between the two levels, the former being the home to Delia’s Restaurant and Yellow’s Bar. The newest of all the stands is the Jarrold Stand (a panoramic shot of which can be found here) which, opened in 2004, runs along the southern touchline.

Norwich City

It is a cantilever stand with a single tier and seats 8,000 supporters including visitors. The corner between it and the Norwich & Peterborough Stand has since been filled with further seating, but the construction of a Holiday Inn between it and the Barclay Stand means that corner is unlikely to be filled with seating leaving the ground not quite fully enclosed.

I hate to admit it but this really is quite a decent ground.

Norwich City

Brother-in-law’s two seats occupy a good spot in the Jarrold Stand, about a quarter of the way along the touchline and fifteen rows back (far better than the rubbish pictures taken on my new-ish mobile phone would suggest). A fairly sedate area apart from two oiks a couple of rows back who f’ed and c’ed their way through the first 71 minutes, gave us all a brief respite when Zoltan Gera scored the Baggies second of the afternoon and they appeared to have left, only to reappear a few minutes after the Canaries had pulled a goal back from the penalty spot courtesy of Ched Evans (73’).

Norwich City

They may as well have left after ninety seconds which is all it took for the Championship title contenders to take the lead through Robert Koren following some comic defending by the home side who seem determined to carry on from where they left off from last weeks 2-1 trashing at Fortress Portman Road in the East Anglian Derby.

Norwich City                Norwich City

The two thousand Baggies fan’s that shared the stand with us left quite happy with themselves and their team as manager Tony Mowbray looks to be on the verge – and a couple of games - of guiding the Midland’s club back to the Premiership.

Norwich CityWebsites:
Norwich City
West Bromwich Albion
Football League

Vital statistics: Admission gratis, programme 3 pounds, cup of tea 80 pence, delia’s match day balti pie 1 pound 80 pence, attendance 25,442.

Match Number: 1432

posted by chevblue at 9:06 pm






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extreme groundhopping

a (mainly) pictorial account of one man's obsession with football stadia, floodlight pylon's and ipswich town football club

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IFK Goteborg
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Chicago Sting
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Chicago Sting
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Chicago Sting
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Chicago Sting
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Chicago Vultures
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Milwaukee Bavarians
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Schwaben AC
(Schwaben Center)

Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Tampa Bay Stadium)