'It brings a buzz' - traders and neighbours ready for City fans return
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Traders and people living near Carrow Road say they are looking forward to the buzz Norwich City fans will bring when they are allowed to return.
With all legal limits on social contact set to end on June 21, if the government's roadmap goes ahead as planned, it is hoped the Canaries will be playing in front of a packed stadium as they return to the Premier League next season.
Supporters have had to watch their team from home due to coronavirus, with a maximum of 2,000 fans inside Carrow Road in December 2020 during tier two restrictions.
Pubs which are located near the stadium have missed the fans enjoying a drink with friends before and after home games.
Harry Brown, manager of the Coach and Horses pub on Thorpe Road, said: "It's almost our bread and butter trade on matchdays.
"It's difficult to know the exact numbers on a normal Saturday but we would be almost out of standing room. It's not the main source of income but it is definitely a bonus which supplements trade."
Andy Coe, landlord of the Compleat Angler, on Prince of Wales Road, said the pub would on average have 450 people inside during the two-and-a-half-hours before kick-off and a further 450 between 5pm and 8pm for a 3pm fixture.
Mr Coe said: "It has a knock-on effect for businesses in the city when Norwich City are playing at home.
"I am gutted for every single business, which could be potentially millions of pounds lost.
"Coming back to the Premier League will be massive for the city and a welcome boost to the economy. The matchday atmosphere is massively missed as well.
"The last time we were promoted I walked down near Mercy and I could still hear the fans chanting. Norwich City fans have been amazing supporting this pub and the matchdays are some of the best memories in my life."
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Megan Roberts, of the Smokey Barn Coffee Roasters on King Street, said the return of fans will not have much of an impact in terms of trade, but she has missed the atmosphere during Covid.
She said: "I love seeing the fans come down the road. There is a really nice vibe. They have such a good love for their team and it creates a nice atmosphere."
Opposite the coffee shop is the Butterfly Café, which Steve Kittle took on eight months ago with the view to making it a fan hub on matchdays.
He is still considering this for the return of fans, which would include yellow and green napkins and flags, but he wants to "strike a balance" to maintain his regular customers.
Mr Kittle said: "If we can get fans in, that can only be good for the business moving forward. If we get decent Saturday trade we are made for the rest of the week."
David Craske of JD's Hotdogs, who can see Carrow Road from his stand, said he has earned enough to pay his bills without the fans.
He added: "I think everyone has missed them which includes all the shops as well, but it's not just the football fans, it's the shoppers as well. The football would be a bonus so fingers crossed."
Unit7c designer John Adam, who lives and works at a converted warehouse on the Wharf, said: "I enjoy seeing the fans walking along the river. I like to hear people having fun."
Maltesers Yard residents Joseph Alexander and Simon Harlow both said they enjoy the uplifting atmosphere on matchdays with hundreds of fans normally walking past their homes on the way to Carrow Road.
Mr Harlow said: "I am not a football fan but when you sit outside in the summer and hear the roar, it really is something. This place does fill up but there is rarely any trouble. It definitely brings a buzz."
Chris Speed, head of operations at First Eastern Counties said they will be working closely with the football club to ensure there is a sufficient provision for the return of fans by September.