Life was so simple as a kid. On a Friday at junior school we would discuss who is going to the game on Saturday? Were any dads providing lifts? What time would we meet in the City or at the ground? If you were short in height, it was either get there early to get to the front of the River end of South Stand terracing or maybe get dad to bring a box to stand on (Note that health and safety was yet to be invented in the early 70’s) Once you were old enough, you simply migrated into the Barclay, initially to where block A is nowadays and eventually behind the goal next to the away fans and into a real atmosphere unlike the sanitised, heartless, plastic, marketing environment we witness today? Life was so simple.
Today, when we visit the swimming pool and must navigate past a yellow a-frames explaining that the floor is wet as health and safety alongside litigation has gone mad. To my knowledge Carrow Road is yet to experience a death of injury of any note caused by fans being either crushed or bones being broken having fallen off a seat or from being subjected to a serge. The seated areas, by the nature of their design, have a vastly reduced capacity and offer minimal potential for injury so are already safe standing areas?
Today we still have a choice, a limited one which I accept from when I first went to a game at the ‘Carra’. We know where we can sit, where we must stand and where the mix of the two co-exist.
The club needs to be very careful, having benefited from demand over supply for a number of years, the tide appears to be turning with lower casual seat sales and disgruntled season ticket holders, some who do not feel like valued customers at present.
Rising ticket pricing, lack of excitement this season and an aging demographic has led the club to look at the diminishing match day atmosphere – apparently flags are on the agenda, like those used at Crystal Palace.
I love travelling in Eastern Europe and taking in a game whenever I can. The most recent one was at visit to the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland to see Slask Wroclaw who plays in the Ekstraklasa at their impressive stadium which was built for the European Championships in 2012 and holds over 42,000 fans.
The crowd that evening was just over 14,000. The partisan group behind the goal bounced and sung through the entirety of the game and well before it kicked off. Each fan had a scarf and was used to create a sea of colour. They were supported by a guy on a platform with a loudhailer who kept up the momentum and were ably supported by a team of drummers. They stood throughout the game to help create what was a truly brilliant atmosphere and experience. The £12 ticket was an absolute gift! The ground which only managed to fulfil a third of its capacity far outweighed the atmosphere produced by our Fine City club…what a shame.
By Royston Vasey