|Full name||Carrow Road|
|Expanded||1979, 1984, 1992, 2004, 2005, 2010|
|Record attendance||43,984 (overall)
|Field dimensions||114 x 74 yards|
|Norwich City F.C.|
Carrow Road is a football stadium located in Norwich, England, and is the home of Premier League club Norwich City F.C.. The stadium is located toward the easterly end of the city, not far from Norwich railway station and the River Wensum.
Carrow Road, named after the road on which it is located, was purpose-built by Norwich City in 1935; construction took just 82 days. Previously, the club played at Newmarket Road and the appropriately named The Nest (Norwich City's nickname is "The Canaries").
The stadium has been extensively worked on several times during its history, notably following a devastating fire that destroyed the old City (now "Geoffrey Watling City") Stand in 1984. Having once accommodated standing supporters, since 1992 the ground has been all-seater. The ground's modern capacity is 27,244, the most recent works being the addition of approximately 1,000 new seats in the summer of 2010. The stadium's all-seater record attendance is 26,876 which occurred in the Premier League match versus Swansea on 15 December 2013, but in the days of standing terraces, it saw crowds as large as 43,984 when they played Leicester City in an FA Cup match in 1963. The Carrow Road site also includes a club superstore which sells club merchandise, catering facilities and a Holiday Inn hotel.
- 1 History
- 2 Stands
- 3 Other facilities and services
- 4 Plans for construction
- 5 Other uses
- 6 Statistics
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Norwich City F.C. played at Newmarket Road from 1902 to 1908, with a record attendance of 10,366 in a match against Sheffield Wednesday in a second round FA Cup match in 1908. Following a dispute over the conditions of renting Newmarket Road, the club moved to a new home in 1908, a converted disused chalk pit in Rosary Road, Norwich. The new ground became known as "The Nest". By the 1930s, the ground capacity was proving insufficient for the growing crowds: The Nest's largest crowd was 25,037 in the 1934–35 FA Cup. The physical limitations of the site of The Nest meant that expansion was not possible, and there were safety problems with the existing structures. The club began looking for alternative accommodation in 1926, but the final straw was "the collapse of part of the pitch [which] ... sank up to 30 feet in one corner when the old chalk workings gave way". An attempt to patch up the problem with railway sleepers and soil failed to impress The Football Association, who wrote to the club on 15 May 1935, "saying The Nest was no longer suitable for large crowds and measures must be taken".
The club's dilemma was acute: the FA no longer approved of large crowds at The Nest, but the new season was just weeks away. About half a mile south of The Nest, they found a new site, the home of the Boulton Paul Sports Ground in Carrow Road, which, on 1 June 1935, the club purchased on a 20-year lease, from its owners J & J Colman.
The new stadium took its name from the street, which encloses the ground on three sides, the fourth being the River Wensum. However, the name "Carrow" originally refers to the former Carrow Abbey that once stood on the riverside. Construction began swiftly: tenders were issued on the day the site was purchased and just ten days later, on 11 June, work began.
Initial materials were sourced by demolishing the former "Chicken Run" section of The Nest, with the rubble dumped as a bank at the river end of the new ground. Thereafter, work proceeded extremely quickly and by "17 August most of the stands and terraces had been completed". Finally, after just 82 days, "on 31 August Carrow Road football ground was opened for the Second Division match v West Ham United."
The original stadium was described as:
the largest construction job in the city since the building of Norwich Castle... "miraculously" built in just 82 days... it was referred to [by club officials] as 'The eighth wonder of the world'
An aerial photograph from August 1935 shows three sides of open terracing and a covered stand, with a Colman's Mustard advertisement painted on its roof, visible only from the air. The club's association with Colman's has continued into the modern era; in 1997 the club signed a shirt sponsorship deal with the company. The mustard manufacturer's original factory was located adjacent to the stadium in Carrow Road, and the ground was opened by Russell Colman, the President of the club. Inglis describes the early Carrow Road as comprising "a Main Stand, a covered end terrace and two large open banks". The covered terrace was paid for by Captain Evelyn Barclay, the vice-president of Norwich City; it was constructed in time for the opening of the 1937–38 season, and while the original construction is long-gone, the end retains the name of its benefactor.
At this time, the ground's capacity was 38,000, with 10,000 of "the more vociferous of the home and away supporters", in the new Barclay end. The new ground received a royal seal of approval: on 29 October 1938, King George VI watched the home game versus Millwall, the first time a ruling monarch had watched a Second Division match.
Floodlights were erected at the ground in 1956 and the £9,000 cost nearly sent the club into bankruptcy. However, Norwich's success in the 1959 FA Cup secured the financial status of the club and provided sufficient funds for a cover to be built over the South Stand. In 1963, the record was set for attendance for Carrow Road: a crowd of 43,984 watched a sixth round FA Cup match against Leicester City, and the South Stand (now the Jarrold) was covered "soon after".
In the wake of the Ibrox stadium disaster in 1971, safety licences were required by clubs which resulted in the capacity being drastically reduced to around 20,000.
A two-tier terrace was built at the River End and soon after seats began to replace the terraces. By 1979 the stadium had a capacity of 28,392 with seats for 12,675. A fire in 1984 partially destroyed one of the stands which eventually led to its complete demolition and replacement by 1987 of a new City Stand, which chairman Robert Chase described as "Coming to a football match within the City Stand is very much like going to the theatre – the only difference being that our stage is covered with grass".
Conversion to all-seater
After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the subsequent outcome of the Taylor Report in 1990, the stadium was converted to all-seater with three of the corners being filled, the corner between the Barclay and the Jarrold stands being a hotel. Today, Carrow Road is an all-seater stadium, with a capacity of 27,000,.
The South Stand was replaced in 2003 when a new 8,000 seat South stand, subsequently renamed the Jarrold Stand was built in its place. The club installed new electronic screen/scoreboards at either end of the stadium during the off-season, 2007. Located behind the goals, they are full colour, with scope for still and moving images and were first utilised in the 5–2 League Cup victory over Barnet in August 2007.
In the summer of 2010, work was undertaken to increase the ground's capacity from 26,018 to 27,000. This was achieved by adding a new back row to the Barclay Stand, new front rows to the other three stands, as well as rearranging exit aisles in the Norwich & Peterborough Stand upper tier to make room for new seats.
Electronic advertising hoardings were added to the perimeter of the pitch in time for the 2011-12 Premier League.
The current stadium consists of four stands; the Barclay (the north-eastern stand), the Norwich and Peterborough Stand (the south-western stand), the Geoffrey Watling City Stand (the north-western stand) and the most recent addition, the Jarrold Stand (the south-eastern stand).
Norwich & Peterborough Stand
Still known as the "River End" among fans, this part of the ground is the closest to the River Wensum. An old stand was demolished in April 1979 and a two-tiered replacement, costing £1.7m, was completed in December 1979.
The stand was renamed the Norwich & Peterborough Stand in the 1990s, due to a sponsorship deal with the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. The stand had an extra 160 seats installed in the summer of 2010.
The Barclay is named after Captain Evelyn Barclay, a former vice-president of the club, who donated the cost of roofing the original stand. This was built in 1937, but demolished in 1992, when a new two-tier structure, modelled on the River End (now the Norwich & Peterborough Stand) was built at a cost of £2.8m (offset by a £2m grant from the Football Trust). The purpose of the rebuilding was "to allow for the implementation of an all-seater stadium as per Lord Chief Justice Taylor's report". Floodlights are supported on both corners of The Barclay and the Norwich & Peterborough stands, which are the ends behind the goals.
Geoffrey Watling City Stand
The single-tiered Geoffrey Watling City Stand was built following a severe fire in its ageing predecessor on 25 October 1984, and to meet the required safety standards demanded of English football following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. The fire was apparently caused by an employee of the club leaving a three-bar electric fire switched on overnight. The City Stand (as it was named at the time) cost £1.7 million to build and was used for the first time on 30 August 1986 when City hosted Southampton. It was formally opened by the Duchess of Kent on 14 February 1987. The stand was renamed in honour of Norwich City president Geoffrey Watling, who died in 2004. The stand is the smallest of the four in terms of capacity, but includes the Directors' Box, Press Area, and various other hospitality suites.
Where The Barclay extends around to meet the Geoffrey Watling City Stand, is the Thorpe Corner infill, "dubbed 'The Snakepit' by supporters", a term that is even sometimes used in official club reports and by the stadium voice over.
The Jarrold Stand was partially opened for the game against Sheffield United on 31 January 2004, and fully opened for the next home match against West Ham United on 21 February 2004. This was a landmark for the stadium, as it represented the final stand of the original ground to be replaced.
The Jarrold Stand is sponsored by Jarrolds, a local department store. The original four-year sponsorship deal has now been extended through to 2013. The stand is a cantilever, single-tiered, all-seated stand, that can hold up to 8,184 supporters. The Jarrold Stand was "unusual in having not one, but three separate television gantries suspended beneath its largely perspex roof." Work prior to the 2013-14 Barclays Premier league was undertaken to join the three gantries into one larger one. There was also 30 seats added to the back of the stand.
In 2005, further work was undertaken on the stand and it reopened in 2006; the stand now extends around the Norwich and Peterborough Stand corner of the ground.
Visiting supporter accommodation
Accommodation for visiting supporters is provided in the end of the Jarrold Stand closest to The Barclay. The Essential Football Fan describes the away end as follows:
"As you would expect from a new stand, the facilities and view of the playing action are good. The normal allocation in this area is 2,500 fans although this can be increased further for cup games. If you are located at the very back of the stand then you can enjoy some fine views of the city."
Aviva Community Stand
The corner infill between the Jarrold and Norwich & Peterborough stands is called the Aviva Community Stand, which was originally built in 2005 and named after sponsors Norwich Union (now Aviva). It seats up to 1,708 fans and also provides extensive facilities for disabled supporters.
Other facilities and services
Holiday Inn Hotel
The club had two options on how to fill the corner between The Barclay and the Jarrold Stand. The obvious choice, filling it with seats (like the other corner infills) was rejected, due to possible segregation problems that might arise (such a stand would enclose the away supporters with home fans on each side).
It was therefore decided to complete the ground's corners with a hotel. It was hoped that the potentially a hotel offered greater revenue opportunities compared to ticket sales. A contract was signed with the Holiday Inn hotel chain in 2005, and construction commenced in 2006. The hotel opened in 2007 and allows customers with pitch-facing rooms to watch matches. These rooms are, however, subject to ground regulations on match days.
Catering at Carrow Road is provided by Delia's Canary Catering, which is part of Norwich City Football Club PLC. Delia Smith took control of the catering at the club in 1999. Delia "became a supporter of Norwich City in 1969 when she met her husband, writer and editor Michael Wynn Jones"; she became a director in 1996. The service is described: "All menus are made up from Delia's own published recipes (6,000 in all) and as we are situated in an agricultural area we take pride in using the finest ingredients and local seasonal produce."
Catering facilities include: Yellows, a "New York-style diner" located in the Norwich & Peterborough Stand; Delia's Restaurant and Bar, a restaurant with "sleek, contemporary lines ... [that] would not be out of place in many a top London venue." located in the Norwich & Peterborough Stand; and The Gunn Club, a catering facility behind The Barclay named after Bryan Gunn.
The 100-page matchday programme for Norwich City matches, titled "OTBC", currently costs £3.50. However on some occasions, such as cup games or pre-season friendlies, a condensed version is sold for a reduced price.
Additionally available is the Golden Goal scratchcard costing £1. If one of your times (mins:secs) matches any goal, you win a prize, with consolation prizes for being up to 4 seconds out.
Plans for construction
In the past, the club has stated that it has plans to increase the capacity of the stadium should the club win promotion back to the Premier League. The increase in funds from promotion would finance the expansion. Specifically, these plans include building a second tier on the Jarrold Stand or the Geoffrey Watling City Stand. The club has stated that the Geoffrey Watling stand has foundations designed to support a second tier, and that the roof can be removed and replaced after a second tier is added.
In January 2011, with the side placed fourth in the Championship, Chairman Alan Bowkett announced an interest in expanding "capacity by up to 8,000 seats", because "the ground, which can currently hold over 26,000 spectators, is regularly close to capacity." Bowkett said:
"The trade off is between capacity and price. I've had some conversations with people saying 'it's getting a bit expensive Alan' and I know it is. I think the obvious route is the Geoffrey Watling stand, whether you put another layer on it or take it down and re-build, I don't know. Probably the sensible thing to do is bite the bullet, take it down and build a new stand, but it means 18 to 24 months without revenue and the people in that stand tend to be the people who have been the supporters for many generations."
Carrow Road has never hosted a match involving the England national football team, but the England Under-21 team has played at the stadium on four occasions. The first was in 1983 in a European Under-21 Championship qualifying match against Denmark, which England won 4–1. The team played another qualifying match in the same tournament at the stadium in 1997, beating Greece 4–2. This game saw Michael Owen's only ever appearance for the England Under-21 side, before his subsequent rise to fame in the senior national team. As part of their preparations for the 2007 finals of the European Championship tournament, the England Under-21s played Slovakia in a friendly match at the ground in June 2007. England won 5–0 in front of a crowd of 20,193 people. Most recently, the ground played host to the first leg of the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship qualification play-offs against Romania, a game the home side won 2–1 in front of a then record all-seated attendance for the stadium of 25,749.
Games involving the England Under-19 team and the full England women's team have also been played at the stadium. The women's team have played there on two occasions; the first a 1–0 defeat to Nigeria in 2002, in front of 8,000 fans, and the second a 1–0 victory over Iceland in 2006. The latter game's attendance of 9,616 was the largest crowd that had watched a friendly game involving the women's team.
The stadium has also occasionally hosted music concerts. Status Quo played a concert there in 1997. Elton John, supported by Lulu, appeared at the venue in 2005, performing what was at the time the largest concert ever to have been staged in Norwich. George Michael gave a performance there on 12 June 2007, supported by Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The John and Michael concerts both attracted crowds of over 20,000 people. Andrew Cullen, the director of sales and marketing for the Carrow Road ground, told BBC Radio Norfolk prior to the George Michael performance that he hoped such concerts would become an annual summer event for the venue, if big enough star names could be attracted.
Welsh singer Tom Jones was due to perform at Carrow Road in June 2010, but the event was cancelled due to seating expansion works at the stadium. Rod Stewart performed a concert at the stadium in June 2011.
Summary of ground records
- Highest attendance: 43,984, Norwich City 0–2 Leicester City, FA Cup Sixth Round, 30 March 1963.
- Highest attendance (all-seater): 26,876, Norwich City 1–1 Swansea City, Premier League, 15 December 2013.
- Highest attendance (first home game of season, all-seater): 26,824, Norwich City 2–2 Everton, Premier League, 17 August 2013.
- Biggest margin of victory: 8, Norwich City 8–0 Walsall, Football League Third Division South, 29 December 1951, Norwich City 8–0 Sutton United, FA Cup Fourth Round, 28 January 1989.
- Biggest margin of defeat: 6, Norwich City 1–7 Colchester United, Football League One, 8 August 2009.
- Goals in a game: 9 (several occurrences). Most recently; Norwich City 6–3 Bury, League Cup Second Round, 27 August 2013.
Average attendances since 1998
- 2012-13: 26,672 (Premier League)
- 2011-12: 26,606 (Premier League)
- 2010–11: 25,386 (Football League Championship)
- 2009–10: 24,755 (Football League One)
- 2008–09: 24,542 (Football League Championship)
- 2007–08: 24,527 (Football League Championship)
- 2006–07: 24,544 (Football League Championship)
- 2005–06: 24,833 (Football League Championship)
- 2004–05: 24,350 (Premier League)
- 2003–04: 18,866 (Football League First Division) (Jarrold Stand rebuilding for first half of the season)
- 2002–03: 20,352 (Football League First Division)
- 2001–02: 18,670 (Football League First Division)
- 2000–01: 16,525 (Football League First Division)
- 1999–2000: 15,539 (Football League First Division)
- 1998–99: 15,761 (Football League First Division)
- 1997–98: 14,445 (Football League First Division)
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