During Norwich City’s last exploration into the Premier League, the Under 23’s enjoyed some healthy attendances with crowds at the Carra reaching up to 4,000 when some of the ‘big’ six clubs rolled into the county to play the City youngsters. The last couple of seasons have seen attendances more commonly around the 400-500 mark at NR1 1JE.
With 22,000 season ticket holders, a lengthy membership and the offer of free admission, its worth considering why only a comparatively few fans invest time in following the fledgeling Canaries, especially in light of the refreshing emergence of youngsters into the City first team lineup in Cantrell, Lewis, Godfrey and Aarons.
With the first team were writing history in arguably creating Norwich’s best ever and unexpected promotion season whilst our struggling neighbours returned to the third tier for the first time since 1957, the Academy sides, from a league and cup results perspective failed dismally and were unable to be competitive on the pitch throughout the season.
The Under 23s finished 11th from 12th in the Premiership League Two with just 19 points from a possible 66 and the Under 18s finished bottom of the pile with only 11 points and a goals aggregate of minus 46.
There is already keen interest amongst the City forums awaiting the draw for next season’s EFL Trophy as Norwich 21s are amongst 16 Premiership clubs with category one status to be invited to join the 48 League One and Two clubs in the competition, most wanting City to be drawn against the first team of Ipswich Town, I’m sure plenty of fans would want to see that contest!
There appears to be no pattern between the success of first teams and clubs Academy sides, Everton winning the 23s Premiership League One and Wolves just pipping Southampton to the League Two title. Last season Norwich appeared to sparingly add senior players to teams, field too many underage players at all levels and weaken the squad further by loaning out players to the lower leagues and abroad, plenty of which never having the potential of making it into the first team.
I hope Norwich City are able to compete at all levels next season, more fans turn up the support the youngsters and wait with bated breath for the next emerging talent to appear in the first team.