Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Carrow Road

First visited: 4th November 1996
Stadium: Carrow Road
Location: Norwich, Norfolk

Carrow Road sits half a mile from Norwich railway station on the outskirts of the city centre. It has been home to Norwich City since it was built in 1935 after the club departed their former ground The Nest.

I have been to Carrow Road on four occasions, the first of which was on 4th November 1996 to see Norwich City lose 3-0 to Manchester United in a Bryan Gunn Testimonial match. Less than a year later, on 9th August 1997, I saw Norwich City lose 2-0 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in a Football League Division One match. My two subsequent visits came while I was living in Norwich during my time studying at the University of East Anglia. The first of these was on 1st October 2006 when Norwich City lost 4-1 to Burnley with my most recent visit to the venue coming on 2nd August 2008 seeing Norwich City draw 2-2 with Colchester United in a pre-season friendly. The photographs in this post are from this game.

The stadium has four main stands, with single-tiered structures running alongside the pitch and two-tiered structures behind each of the goals. The Jarrold Stand, on the south-east side of the ground, is the most recent major development to the stadium and is a smart looking cantilever stand with a capacity of just under 8,500. Opposite this is the 25-year-old Geoffrey Watling City Stand which is the smallest in the ground.

The two other main stands in the ground are the Barclay End, behind the goal on the north-east side of the venue, and the Norwich & Peterborough Stand, behind the goal on the south-west side of the venue. In addition to the four main stands there is the Aviva Community Stand, a quadrant section in the corner in between the Jarrold Stand and the Norwich & Peterborough Stand. This stand has a capacity of just over 1,700.

Upon promotion to the Premier League in 2011 the club added extra rows of seating to increase capacity to 27,000. However, with the club operating at near-capacity even while they were playing in the third-tier of English football during the 2009/10 season the club definitely has a large enough fanbase to warrant expansion. The option mooted by Norwich City is to rebuild the smallest stand in the ground, the Geoffrey Watling Stand in an attempt to raise stadium capacity to 35,000. If the club remains in the Premier League this seems a likely outcome.

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