A weekend away in Norfolk and Suffolk gave me the opportunity to see Norwich v Sheffield United (20th Jan 2018) and visit a ground I had seen but never been to a match there.
This is a friendly club whose facilities are good, very clean and offer quick friendly service. The walk from the city to the ground via The Riverside shopping complex was busy with a mix of fans and what appeared a low key police presence.
The week previous I had read an article about football programs where fans were lamenting that their collections were not wanted by anyone. I mused whether the program was going to go digital like other parts of the game. The printed fanzine seems to have been mainly replaced by the blog and now the podcast, my ticket was printed at home and all I needed was the bar code to get in ( I could have used my phone for the bar code) and just paying on the gate is not possible. I have now registered on line with 4 Championship a 1 Premiership club as a fan to get tickets inflating their fan base and proving that there is no strict control over who sits where. I suppose they know who is sitting in each seat so they can get back to you if there is any trouble in your area of the ground.
I watched one of the program sellers outside the ground for a while and noticed he wasn’t making that many sales and those he did were to an older audience.
The program was a revelation to me, 108 pages of articles and stats on all of their teams and reviews of the Sheffield United team and previous encounters as well as articles about previous teams, managers and players. There was an article by a fan and a review of Norwich’s community involvement plus much more. Certainly more than I expected but in a few years this I’m sure will be replaced by the Norwich City Program App.
One of the first football songs to be sung at a football ground was reputably at Norwich ‘On the Ball City’, which is still sung today. It is said that as early as 1902 while the fans were waiting for the half time scores, then displayed against letters corresponding to each game as printed in the program, they sang the song to amuse themselves. Now scores are updated instantly on your phone.
Before the game I found this book in a second hand bookshop:
Nothing as exciting in 2018.
The game was exciting but Norwich always seemed to be second best. United’s inter-passing was crisper and created more opportunities. Norwich could have been reacting to their midweek FA Cup extravaganza at Chelsea. Maybe it was just that Sheffield’s league position showed why they are currently superior.
James Wilson recently signed loanee from Manchester United put the Blades 1 nil up after only 6 minutes and they continued to dominate play in the first half.
Norwich started the second half more brightly and against the run of play Clayton Donaldson made it 2-0 in the 68th minute. Norwich continued to push forward and were rewarded only 2 minutes later through a headed goal by Ferreira Mendonca Pinto.
Although Norwich searched for an equaliser they created few chances and the game petered out giving the Blades their first win since Boxing Day. Next up for them a home game against Aston Villa and a real test of their promotion hopes.