Norwich City Football Club
112 years of history
On Thursday 14th August, 5 days after the start of the Football League season, supporters from all over the country will demonstrate in London against increasing ticket prices, marching on the headquarters of the Premier League and the Football League. Led by the Football Supporters’ Federation, the protest will bring further focus to the ever increasing issue of affordable football which affects supporters from every club in the country.
This issue is of particular concern for Norwich City supporters, who pay the highest season ticket prices in the Football League. Based on the cheapest price of renewing an adult season ticket outside of the family area, season ticket prices in the Barclay End, at £499.50, are almost £160 more expensive than the Championship average of £340.58, as the table below illustrates.
|Club||Season Ticket Price||Price per game|
|Brighton and Hove Albion||£465||£20.22|
Ticket prices have a massive part to play in how many matches supporters are able to attend, and prices at Carrow Road now risk excluding many supporters based on nothing more than economic circumstances. This is particularly true for younger supporters who also face other economic pressures away from the stadium, such as student fees, lower wages and rapidly increasing house prices. Football should be a sport which is accessible to everyone, with ticket prices starting at affordable prices, but many loyal supporters will now feel ever more disillusioned and isolated from the club.
With no external debt hanging over the club, parachute payments from the Premier League and one of the highest number of season ticket holders in the division, there seems little to justify why Norwich supporters should be paying more to watch live football than any of their rivals in the division. Given the loyalty shown by supporters during the disastrous years a few seasons ago, it’s unacceptable that those same supporters should be taken advantage of for a few seasons of success.
The Football Supporter’s Federation march on Thursday 14th August will start from Regents’ Park in London, with fans meeting at 1pm.
A further reminder that Norwich City Supporters Trust are hosting an open meeting for all supporters on the issue of safe standing on Wednesday 19th March. The meeting will be held in the Norfolk Lounge at Carrow Road and begins at 8pm. The panel will include the Barclay End Projekt and Jon Darch from the Safe Standing Roadshow and will give supporters a chance to express their views and opinions on the issue and ask any questions.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Following the release of our safe standing survey results earlier this week, here’s a round up of the press coverage it received.
Football Supporters’ Federation – http://fsf.org.uk/latest-news/view/norwich-city-fans-say-yes-to-safe-standing
Following the safe standing survey which we carried out in January, we can reveal that a massive 89.21% of Norwich fans who completed our survey said they want to see a safe standing area trialled at a top flight ground, with 87.92% voting for a safe standing area at Carrow Road.
The survey was completed by 853 supporters and the results are conclusive proof of the demand amongst Norwich City fans for a choice to stand or sit at matches. The survey was completed by supporters of both genders, all ages, all member types and from supporters from every area of the stadium, giving it a credible representation of the fan base as a whole.
It came as no surprise that the biggest response rate to the survey came from supporters situated in the Barclay End lower tier, with over 400 supporters in this area providing us with their thoughts and opinions on the issue. And of the 493 supporters from the Barclay End lower tier and Snakepit who completed the survey, over 93% voted in favour of having a safe standing area at Carrow Road.
But our results also showed that the demand for such an area isn’t confined specifically to these areas of the stadium. Supporters from every section of the stadium said that given the choice they would prefer to always stand at matches. Of the 137 supporters from the Jarrold/South Stand who completed the survey, over 40% said given the choice they would always stand. This was also the case in the Barclay End upper tier, where from the 90 supporters who completed the survey, over 55% said they’d always stand if the choice was available.
The survey also showed the impact that a designated safe standing area would have for non season ticket holders and younger supporters. Of the 317 members and non-members who completed the survey, 63.09% said they’d attend more matches if a safe standing area was introduced, with a further 31.23% saying they’d attend the same number of games. This was also the case for younger supporters, where from the 149 responses we got from supporters aged 21 and under, 57.72% said they’d attend more matches if there was a safe standing area, with 38.26% saying they’d attend the same number.
The full survey review is below -
Safe Standing – An Overview
The campaign for safe standing, led by the Football Supporters’ Federation and fully supported by the Barclay End Projekt, is calling for clubs in the top two divisions to be able to introduce designated areas of safe standing in their stadiums. The campaign is backed by safety officers, architects, politicians, fans groups and many clubs themselves, including six in the Premier League.
The model we would like to see implemented is rail-seating, a system which allows an area to be easily inter-changed between standing and seated accommodation, and which is already in use in many stadiums in Austria and Germany, including Borussia Dortmund, Hanover 96 and Werder Bremen.
The structure of rail seating sees barriers running laterally on every second row, with seats placed within these barriers. The close proximity of the barriers eliminates any risk of crushing or a crowd surge, while seats can either be locked shut to form a safe standing area, or unlocked to form a seated area. In addition to this, the rail seats are unbreakable and are constructed using a material which doesn’t fade, meaning they never have to be replaced.
The implementation of rail seating would have numerous benefits for all supporters, with the principal one being that every supporter would be able to make a conscious choice between standing or sitting, without having to compromise on safety. It would mean that supporters who wished to stand could do so in an area which has been specifically designed to accommodate standing supporters, eradicating standing in seated areas which weren’t designed with standing in mind, and reducing the risk of confrontation between supporters and stewards/police, who are currently trying to enforce a regulation which many supporters don’t want and don’t agree with.
Designated safe standing areas would also benefit those supporters who wish to sit at matches. With supporters wishing to stand having a designated area, those who wished to sit could attend matches knowing they’ll be surrounded by like-minded supporters and won’t have their view blocked by someone standing in front of them, or be forced to stand against their will. This is particularly important for young, elderly and disabled supporters who not only wish to sit, but also rely on others around them sitting to enjoy the game.
With the advances in stadium design and technology enabling clubs to incorporate safe standing areas, and the clear demand of supporters to stand highlighted by this survey, we believe it’s right for the club to back the supporters campaign and explore the possibility of bringing safe standing to Carrow Road.
Opinions – Architects, Safety Officers and Fans Representatives
‘I think they’ve [the FSF] got an irrefutable case to allow clubs and fans the choice of having rail seating. I have spent the whole of my professional life working to make grounds safer places for football fans to enjoy their sport, and I would never associate myself with anything that would be to the detriment of the safety and welfare of football supporters.’ – Professor Steve Frosdick, founder member of the Football Safety Officers’ Association
‘We as designers have no problems with standing at all…in terms of safety it can be done without and problems at all in small areas. It is great to have standing areas. If the legislation is there to all top clubs to have standing areas again, it could help the clubs who are looking to expand capacity and allow more young people in.’ – Wembley and Soccer City architect John Barrow of Populous
‘The design and control measures already exist for the provision of safe standing. All that is necessary to give fans what they want is a bold leap of faith by government responding positively to the call for a return of safe standing.’ – Jim Chalmers, president of the Football Safety Officers’ Association
‘In Hannover all the supporters accept this [rail seating], they like it and we have no problems with this. There’s much more security than other seats because there’s something to hold. In this area we have no accidents, nothing.’ – Frank Waterman, Supporter Liaison Officer, Hanover 96
‘In Dortmund you pay €16 for the cheapest ticket on the Sudtribune [standing area]. It’s good for young people, but not only for young people. We have so many normal aged people also in this stand who couldn’t afford the big, high prices of the main stand. So it’s good for a club to have all these kinds of people here in the stadium, not only the rich ones, not only the poor ones, so it’s a place for everyone. I think it’s one of the social targets of a club, to bring all these people together.’ – Jens Volke, Supporter Liaison Officer, Borussia Dortmund
Safe Standing Survey – How we gathered results
Our aim for the survey was to gather the opinions of as many supporters as possible, and that these opinions should come from a diverse range of supporters to represent the fan base as a whole. The survey was conducted online via the website Survey Monkey and ran until the end of January 2014, by which time 853 supporters had completed it.
The survey was launched on 28th December 2013, the day of the home match with Manchester United. From this day we publicised the survey on our website and also via social media on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. We also used fan message boards on the Pink Un and Wrath of the Barclay websites to encourage fans to complete the survey. We continued to use these methods throughout the duration of the survey as a way of contacting fans who didn’t attend matches regularly.
In addition to this we also handed out leaflets before the home matches with Manchester United and Hull City. To ensure we captured a wide range of fans, and to avoid targeting a specific type of supporter or stand, we positioned ourselves on the approaches to the stadium along Carrow Road, behind the River End and by the traffic junction behind the Barclay End which leads to the railway station.
Leaflets were also handed out to supporters at the away turnstiles of the league match at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day to gather the opinions of fans who travel away from home. Further leaflets had been handed out to supporters traveling by coach to the Crystal Palace match. This is something we repeated for the Fulham cup match at Craven Cottage when leaflets were handed out to supporters travelling by train.
Throughout the month the survey continued to constantly gather results, aided by a mention in an article in the Eastern Daily Press by David Powles, encouraging supporters to have their say on the issue of safe standing by completing our survey.
The results of this is the biggest survey ever conducted on safe standing amongst Norwich City supporters, and one which has been completed by every demographic of supporter, including both genders, all age groups, each member type and supporters from every part of the stadium.
Question 1 – Gender
Male – 767 (89.92%)
Female – 86 (10.08%)
Question 2 – Age
Under 16 – 31 (3.63%)
16-21 – 118 (13.83%)
Adult (22-35) – 341 (39.98%)
Adult (36-50) – 243 (28.49%)
Adult (51-65) – 102 (11.96%)
Over 65 – 18 (2.11%)
Question 3 – Are you a member of Norwich City FC?
Season Ticket Holder – 536 (62.84%)
Member – 143 (16.76%)
Non-member – 174 (20.40%)
Question 4 – Which stand do you most frequent at home matches?
Barclay End lower – 401 (47.01%)
Barclay End upper – 90 (10.55%)
Snakepit – 92 (10.79%)
River End lower – 52 (6.10%)
River End upper – 31 (3.63%)
Jarrold/South Stand – 137 (16.06%)
Wensum Corner – 1 (0.12%)
Community Stand – 10 (1.17%)
Question 5 – Would you be in favour of a safe standing trial at a top flight English football ground?
Yes – 761 (89.21%)
No – 72 (8.44%)
Unsure – 20 (2.34%)
Question 6 – In your opinion, should a safe standing area be introduced at Carrow Road?
Yes – 750 (87.92%)
No – 74 (8.68%)
Unsure – 29 (3.40%)
Question 7 – Would you use a safe standing area if it was introduced at Carrow Road?
Yes – 568 (66.59%)
No – 159 (18.64%)
Never – 95 (11.14%)
Unsure – 31 (3.63%)
Question 8 – If Carrow Road had a safe standing area, would it affect how often you go to games?
I’d go to more games – 300 (35.17%)
I’d go to the same number of games – 512 (60.02%)
I’d go to less games – 22 (2.58%)
Unsure – 19 (2.23%)
Question 9 – What impact do you think a safe standing area would have on the atmosphere?
Improve it – 738 (86.52%)
Stay the same – 81 (9.50%)
Worsen it – 16 (1.88%)
Unsure – 18 (2.11%)
- Supporters from every area of the stadium said they would always use a safe standing area if it was introduced at Carrow Road.
- Of the 493 respondents from the Barclay End lower tier and Snakepit, 93.71% (462 supporters) are in favour of a safe standing trial and 93.10% (459) are in favour of a safe standing area at Carrow Road.
- Of the 137 respondents from the Jarrold/South Stand, 40.15% (55) said they’d always use a safe standing area and 29.20% (35) said they’d sometimes use it.
- Of the 90 respondents from the Barclay End upper tier, 55.56% (50) said they’d always use a safe standing area and 26.67% (24) said they’d sometimes use it.
- Of the 317 members and non-members, 63.09% (200) said they’d attend more matches if a safe standing area was introduced, 31.23% (99) the same number and only 2.21% (7) said they’d attend less, with 3.47% (11) unsure.
- Of the 149 supporters aged 21 and under, 57.72% (86) said they’d attend more matches if a safe standing area was introduced, with a further 38.26% (57) saying they’d attend the same number.
- Of the 86 women who completed the survey, 74.42% (64) were in favour of a safe standing area at Carrow Road, 18.60% (16) against and 6.98% (6) unsure.
- 17.44% (15) of women said they’d attend more matches if a safe standing area was introduced, compared to only 9.30% (8) who said they’d attend fewer. 69.77% (60) said they’d attend the same number of matches, with 3.49% (3) unsure.