|Full name||Carrow Road|
|Record attendance||43,984 (overall)
|Field size||114 × 74 yards|
|Expanded||1979, 1984, 1992, 2004, 2005, 2010|
|Norwich City F.C.|
Carrow Road is a football stadium located in Norwich, England, and is the home of Norwich City F.C. The stadium is located toward the east of the city, not far from Norwich railway station and the River Wensum.
The club originally played at Newmarket Road before moving to The Nest. When The Nest was deemed inappropriate for the size of crowds it was attracting, Carrow Road, named after the road on which it is located, was purpose-built by Norwich City in just 82 days, with the ground opening on 31 August 1935.
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 current capacity is 27,244, the most recent works being the addition of approximately 1,000 seats in the summer of 2010. The stadium's record attendance since becoming an all-seater ground is 27,005, set during a Football League Championship match versus Ipswich Town on 1 March 2015. In the days when fans could stand on terraces, Carrow Road saw a crowd of 43,984 when hosting Leicester City for an FA Cup match in 1963.
Carrow Road has also hosted Under-21 international football and a number of concerts, including performances by Elton John and George Michael. The Carrow Road site includes catering facilities and a Holiday Inn hotel offering rooms with views of the pitch, as well as a club superstore, which sells club merchandise.
- 1 History
- 2 Stands
- 3 Other facilities and services
- 4 Future plans for construction
- 5 Other uses
- 6 Summary of ground records
- 7 References
Norwich City F.C. played at Newmarket Road from 1902 to 1908, with a record attendance of 10,366 in a match against the cup holders, Sheffield Wednesday in a first round proper 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", named for Norwich City's nickname, "The Canaries".
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.
Stadium's name and initial construction history
The new stadium took its name from the street which encloses the ground on three sides, the fourth being the River Wensum. In 1800, John Ridges, owner of the Carrow Abbey Estate and the land opposite on the banks of the Wensum in Thorpe Hamlet, "granted permission for a proposed road access across his grounds to Carrow". By 1811, surgeon Philip M. Martineau owned the Carrow Abbey Estate and the adjacent Thorpe land. Carrow Hill Road was created on his Carrow Abbey Estate, to provide some work for the poor in the community. The road linked Martineau's Bracondale Estate to Carrow Toll Bridge, installed in 1810. The name "Carrow" originally refers to the former Carrow Abbey that once stood on the riverside, its name in turn having possible Norse origins. Norwich Railway Co. had acquired the land in Thorpe around Carrow Road by the 1840s and by 1850, the future site of the stadium belonged to the firm of J.J. Colman. In 1935, Colman's offered the 20 year leasehold to Norwich City and construction on the new stadium began swiftly on the site: 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". A practice match was held on 26 August with work "still in progress", but finally, after just 82 days, "on 31 August Carrow Road football ground was opened for the Second Division match v West Ham United." The stadium had an initial capacity of 35,000, including 5,000 seats under cover. Norwich won the game 4–3; the attendance was 29,779, which set a new record crowd for a home game, and the first competitive goal at the ground was scored by the Canaries' Duggie Lochhead.
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 twenty minutes of 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 (where as a Third Division club they reached the semi-final, losing to First Division Luton Town after a replay) 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. When it opened, then chairman Robert Chase compared the experience of visiting the new stand to "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 a current capacity of 27,000. The South Stand was replaced in 2003 when a new 8,000 seat stand, subsequently renamed the Jarrold Stand was built in its place. In the summer of 2010, work was undertaken to increase the ground's capacity from 26,018 to 27,000. This was achieved by finding additional capacity for seats within the existing stands.
In 2004, £700,000 was invested in improving the pitch. The former all-grass surface was replaced with a sand-based Desso GrassMaster one, the mix of artificial and real grass intended to "guarantee that the pitch would be looking good enough for every match to be broadcast on TV". The under-soil heating system "can clear snow and ice within eight hours of being turned on".
The ground will celebrate its 80th anniversary on 31 August 2015. To mark the occasion, a rematch of the original fixture versus West Ham, will take place in July. As part of the celebrations, the club offered season ticket holders the opportunity to mark their seats with their name or a message. Fans can also book to attend a celebratory dinner, designed by the club's joint majority shareholder Delia Smith, with the first-team squad.
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 and 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 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. 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. 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, aged 91. 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".
The Jarrold Stand is on the former site of the South Stand, which was named in honour of Sir Arthur South. It was partially opened for the game against Sheffield United on 31 January 2004, and fully opened for the next home match against West Ham on 21 February 2004.
The Jarrold Stand is sponsored by Jarrolds, a local department store. 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.
The corner infill between the Jarrold and Norwich & Peterborough stands is called the Aviva Community Stand. It was originally built in 2005 and named after sponsors Aviva. It seats up to 1,708 fans and also provides extensive facilities for disabled supporters.
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."
Other facilities and services
Holiday Inn Hotel
The corner between The Barclay and the Jarrold Stand contains a hotel. A contract was signed with the Holiday Inn hotel chain in 2005, and construction commenced in 2006. The hotel, with six floors and 180 beds opened in 2008; it allows customers with pitch-facing rooms to watch matches. The club had a 30% stake in the hotel business at its launch, and granted a 150 year lease.
Catering at Carrow Road is provided by Delia's Canary Catering, which is part of Norwich City Football Club PLC. Celebrity chef Smith took control of the catering at the club in 1999. Smith "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 food is all based on Smith's long-held passion for using fresh, quality ingredients and cooking simple, home-style food, as opposed to elaborate restaurant-orientated cuisine. Most of the dishes are taken from recipes that have been published in her cookery books."
Catering facilities include: Yellows American Bar & Grill, 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, as well as a number of other conference facilities, mostly named after former players and officials, like Darren Huckerby and Sir Arthur South, as well as former club sponsors Lotus Cars.
Future plans for construction
Norwich City have a capped season ticket allocation of 22,000, with a waiting list for more. The club regularly sells out its 'home' allocation of tickets and, in 2013–14, the ground "boasted one of the highest occupancy rates of any stadium in the Barclays Premier League, reaching 99.95%". The club has therefore periodically stated that it has plans to significantly increase the capacity of the stadium.
Specifically, these plans included 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 could be removed and replaced after a second tier is added.
In January 2011, with the team in fourth place 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.
In 2012, chief executive David McNally quoted a study, commissioned by the club, and written by the University of East Anglia. The report cited a cost of £20 million to expand the ground by 7,000 seats. Consequently, the club "will consider expanding their stadium, but only after they have become an established Premier League side."
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 five 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. 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. In 2010, 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. Most recently, in October 2012, the England U21s defeated their Serbian counterparts 1–0 at Carrow Road.
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 then 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. 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): 27,005, Norwich City 2–0 Ipswich Town, Football League Championship, 1 March 2015.
- 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.
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