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Carrow Road
  Norwich City v Leeds United
Championship League
Saturday November 20th, 2010,3pm
Craig Stevens
(Leeds United fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be): 

Living and domestic arrangements, plus being an expat Aussie whose mates support big London clubs (or dismiss football altogether) mean that I’m not able to get to as many games as I would like to, which means that for away games I have to rely on a little bit of luck to get a ticket from the small allocations of tickets for non-season ticket holders.  This was to be one of my few matches for the year and I’d never been to Norwich, so thought I’d take in the city as well as the match.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

As I was going to check out Norwich, I arrived some 4 hours before kick-off.  I found the County Hall car park easily (and was only charged £3 instead of the advertised £4)

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

I just wandered aimlessly around for a few hours.  Being on my own, and driving, heading to the pub wasn’t a good idea.  The city itself had some very vibrant areas, there were lots of people out and about shopping etc.  There was, as is usual, a large police presence especially around the pubs near the train station, including a few members of West Yorkshire’s finest.  I overhead a local constable remark to a West Yorkshire counterpart that he was trying to listen to the accents.  He may have been a bit confused if I’d opened my mouth!

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The away section of the ground was very good, much better than some of the horrors that were endured during the stint in League One.  The viewing was excellent, although it may have helped that I was in row E, and Rows C & D were netted off to create a buffer for the disabled fans at the front.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

3 kiosks open for food, a special match pie (steak and a local ale) was on, so minimal queuing whilst the other earlyish arrivals watched the lunchtime Premiership match.  They could though invest in some larger, flat screen TVs.

The Norwich fans were quite loud, usually the Leeds fans dominate but I’d probably score it a draw on the day.

The stewards were effective, but in no way overbearing.  A young bloke happened to step over the fence to go see his mates before kick off.  He was taken out, but let back in after a short talking to.

It’s a cliché, but it really was a game of two halves.  We were all over them in the first half, could have got more than the solitary goal, but the second half they came back.  Whilst the goal they did score should never have stood after our goalie got a smack in the mouth in the lead up and as such was lying on the ground when it went in, on balance they deserved a goal. 1-1 was a fair result

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

This was (apart from the way their goal was scored) the only sour note of the day.  We were let out of the stadium to be confronted by a wall of the Norfolk Constabulary, not letting us go anywhere.  There were no announcements that we would be held back until we got out, and then they were from an ineffective megaphone from a mounted officer.  There was no real tension during the match, unless you include the vitriol directed at the match officials, but penning us in raised the temperature of a few, especially those that had advance tickets booked on the train and looked like they would miss it.

The walk back to the car was uneventful, and having a spot close to the front of the car park meant I was quickly on the road home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a record all-seater crowd at Carrow Road, so of course the “You’re only here, to watch the Leeds” and “We filled your ground for you” chants got a good run, but in reality it would have been a decent crowd had any other club been the visitors.

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