Norwich City v Chelsea
Saturday, January 21st 2012
Premier League, 12.45pm
By Harry Williamson
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
There was always something about Carrow Road which made me want to visit. What it was I am not sure but seeing that Sky tv had changed the fixture to a 12:45 kick off was not enough to put me off visiting the lovely city of Norwich. (Although it did mean getting up at 6:30 on a Saturday and I am not a morning person!)
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
After what seemed like an eternity on a train passing endless East Anglian fields, me and my Canaries supporting friend finally arrived in Norwich. We had travelled on a National Express East Anglia train from London Liverpool Street which still had slam doors and probably should have been scrapped about 10 years ago. As you pull into Norwich station the floodlights and the back of the Jarrold Stand are easily visible on your left. From the station we simply followed the crowds on a 5 minute walk to the ground.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
At Norwich railway station me and my friend met up with some more Norwich City supporters and walked to the ground, discussing Chelsea's poor recent form and Norwich's surge up the Premier League table. All of the Norwich fans seemed very, very friendly. With some time to waste before kick off, the Norwich fans showed me the WAGS and players car park, which is located opposite the Jarrold Stand. When walking back towards the stadium, Les Ferdinand kindly stopped his Range Rover to let me cross the road.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
My first sight of the stadium came as the train was arriving into Norwich. The steel grey, cantilevered Jarrold Stand was an impressive sight from the train, as were the four large floodlight pylons. Behind each goal are two virtually identical two-tiered stands with floodlights extending from their roofs. These are called The Barclay and the River End, with The Barclay being the hub of Norwich's vocal support. Opposite the Jarrold Stand (where the away fans are situated) is the Geoffrey Watling City Stand which houses the directors box complete with Delia Smith and the players tunnel. It is quite a small, single-tiered stand.
As I mentioned, the away fans are housed in the Jarrold Stand which is a very impressive facility. The roof is translucent and there is adequate leg room between seats. The gradient of the seating is also more or less perfect. I was seated in Row I and had an excellent view of the pitch. The away area is shared with the family enclosure. The two are separated by a narrow piece of netting which covers about 4 seats. With Carrow Road having such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to it, then there were no problems with that.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
The game was very dull. It ended 0-0 and there were not too many chances. The best chance fell to Fernando Torres who as you would expect, failed to hit the target. Norwich also had their chances and Anthony Pilkington demonstrated some wonderful skill to beat Ashley Cole and John Terry early in the second half. In terms of atmosphere, it was pretty good but livened up a lot more when Norwich fans felt that they should have been awarded a penalty. All of the noise came from The Barclay and the 'snake pit' as it is called in the wrap around section of the Geoffrey Watling City stand. There was a fair bit of friendly banter between the Chelsea fans and the Norwich fans in The Barclay. The stewards were fine and did not have much to do really.
The only problem I had was forgetting a raincoat and getting a bit wet in the first half. My seat may have been in row I but it was a very windy day. Before the match I used the toilets which were quite large. The concourse was clean and modern as you would expect from a newish stand and it looked like it would be able to accommodate the half time pie rush. Half time was probably the highlight of the game. Two Norwich fans were selected to play crossbar challenge. Despite shooting from the edge of the penalty area, their attempts were miserable and it took 16 attempts before one of them at last grazed the crossbar. This resulted in a lot of taunting from the away fans. There were also half time announcements although I must say I find announcing deaths at half time rather strange.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
After the game it was a quick trip to a nearby Morrisons to stock up on food for the journey home. Then it was back on the train to London Liverpool Street. The ground was easy to get away from.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Apart from the boring game I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Carrow Road. It is a very nice stadium with a relaxed atmosphere. I have no real complaints to make about Carrow Road at all and with Norwich looking in a good position to stay in the Premier League it looks like another trip to Carrow Road could well be on the cards for 2012/13.