Early days of Norwich City Football Club captured in old postcards

An action picture taken at The Nest in 1913. Norwich were playing Watford and won 3-1.

An action picture taken at The Nest in 1913. Norwich were playing Watford and won 3-1. Note the advert for Wincarnis, our tonic which sold worldwide. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

This section of the paper is called Through the Decades… so let’s do just that and travel back to the turn of the century now the Canaries are back in the BIG time.

We return to the very early days of Norwich City Football Club thanks to a glimpse at the wonderful collection of postcards collected over the years by Paul Standley, now of German Canaries fame, who included them in his book published almost 30 years ago.

Greetings from Norwich. The Canaries in 1910/11.

Greetings from Norwich. The Canaries in 1910/11. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

The book, written with Dick Middleton, is called Norwich City: A Portrait in Old Picture Postcards and it is a rare beauty nowadays with a foreword written by former manager Dave Stringer.

He points out that without a history there is no present, and this book was a tribute to every player, official and member of staff.

City v West Ham in 1905 at Newmarket Road. City won 1-0.

City v West Ham in 1905 at Newmarket Road. City won 1-0. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

The Norwich City team in 1920/21

A century ago. The Norwich City team in 1920/21 - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

This was a labour of love for Dick and Paul, whose father was Philip Standley, the postcard collector, author and Wymondham shopkeeper.

For several years the leading soccer club in Norwich had been the Church of England side, C.E.Y.M.S. so when two of its former members, schoolmasters Bob Webster and Joe Nutchey, called a meeting in 1902 to propose the formation of a rival Norwich City club, a few eyebrows were raised.


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The result was a new club which joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League at a council-owned Newmarket Road ground. They didn’t do too badly apart from being given a 5-0 hiding by Lowestoft in their first-ever F.A. Cup-tie.

They turned professional, moved to The Nest, the ground built on the site of old chalk workings on Rosary Road, changed club colours from blue and white to yellow and green and became the Canaries.

The first match at The Nest in 1908. City entertained Fulham in front of 3,300 fans and won 2-1.

The first match at The Nest in 1908. City entertained Fulham in front of 3,300 fans and won 2-1. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

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The book follows the fortunes of the club with a collection of photographs and information which tells us a little about these players. The research by Dick and Paul is certainly premier division.

As the crowds grew the club moved from The Nest to Carrow Road in the summer of 1935 which the opening ceremony being performed by club president Russell Colman on August 31.

The spectators at Newmarket Road in 1906.

Raise your hats (and caps). A great picture of the spectators at Newmarket Road in 1906. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

The team in 1920/21 featured individually

The team in 1920/21 featured individually. - Credit: Paul Standley Collection

A crowd of 29,779 watched a thrilling match with West Ham and roared City on to a 4-3 victory.

As for the future? Time will tell, but one thing never changes. The love and the passion for OUR team - so join me in a chorus of On the Ball City!

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