Norwich City heroes will get a parade
Peter WalshNorwich City's title-winning heroes will be honoured with a civic reception and an open top bus parade, the Evening News can reveal today.Peter Walsh
Norwich City's title-winning heroes will be honoured with a civic reception and an open top bus parade.
The celebration of the Canaries' triumphant season, which saw them return to the Championship at the first attempt, will take place next Thursday.
The club and Norwich City Council are understood to have reached an agreement over the event, which fans had demanded, and precise details of timings and locations were due to be released later today.
Both the club and the council were staying tight-lipped ahead of an official announcement planned for today, but it appears the construction work on the memorial gardens means City Hall might not be the venue for the civic reception.
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After Norwich City clinched promotion with a 1-0 win away at Charlton Athletic, the Evening News was inundated with emails and letters from supporters who wanted the chance to honour their heroes as they did when the club went up to the Premiership in 2004 - and they have got their wish.
The news comes as football club bosses offered an amnesty to supporters facing a ban after they ran onto the pitch after the 2-0 victory over Gillingham on April 24.
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The club announced that if all supporters keep off the pitch at this Saturday's final League One match at home to Carlisle United the fans facing bans would get a reprieve.
But for the rest of the green and yellow army, the news that they will get the parade they demanded was greeted with delight as it means they can properly celebrate winning the League One title - only the seventh trophy in the club's 108 year history.
Young Canary fan Ben Willgress, who was pictured with his head in his hands when Norwich City were relegated to League One at Charlton a year ago, is one fan who is delighted there will be a parade.
Ben, 16, who lives in Acle, and was not even a teenager the last time City celebrated a promotion, said: 'I'm pleased. There's people who say it's only League One but you can only win what's in front of you.
'Things didn't start off too well and people didn't think we were going to get out of the league after the first month. We could have been sucked in, but to get to where we have after the first month I think we should celebrate it. We don't get to celebrate every year - we're not like Manchester United or Chelsea - and so might as well do it while we can. We might not get a chance for another five years. It will be good and brings some good times back to the club.'
Roy Blower, city councillor, Carrow Road season ticket holder, and president of the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association (NCISA), said: 'I think it's very appropriate we should have a parade. The majority of people feel it's important to celebrate and when there's not too many things to celebrate today. It will bring the streets to life.'
Kathy Blake, secretary of the NCISA said opinion about whether to have a parade was split at a recent meeting of the supporters' organisation - although she, personally, was delighted there would be one.
She said: 'My view is if Paul Lambert wants a civic reception then we should have one. We don't get too many chances to celebrate things as City fans, they are few and far between, so I think we should go for it.
'It's not easy getting out of this division as Leeds have found out as have others before them. It's no mean achievement and I think we should celebrate.'
But Norwich fans are not the only ones celebrating the news. Landlords across the city too are celebrating the fact there will be a civic reception and parade which will bring thousands of people into the city - and get the tills ringing.
Phil Cutter, landlord of the Murderers pub on Timberhill, Norwich, said: 'It's great. From a business point of view anything that brings people into the city during the week is fantastic.
'When Norwich do well, wherever it is or whatever time it is, it's good to do something to celebrate the fact and hopefully this is just a stepping stone to getting back into the Premiership.'
Mr Cutter said if the last civic reception and parade, when City were promoted to the Premiership in 2004, was anything to go by then there could be upwards of 50, 000 people on the streets next Thursday.
He said: 'It's a fantastic following for a club the size of Norwich and hopefully they will all come out and cheer them on when they come past.'
When Norwich won promotion to the Premiership more than 50,000 supporters headed onto the city's sun-soaked streets to watch the Championship trophy presented on the balcony of City Hall.
The parade route
The League One champions Norwich City will parade in an open topped bus with the trophy through the city from St Stephens' Street (roundabout) to Castle Meadow between 6pm and 6.45pm on Thursday, May 13.
St Stephens Street will be opened up as soon as the parade passes through and Castle Meadow at approximately 8pm.
Roads will be closed from 4pm so barriers can be put in place and to allow for the build up of people in the area.
Road closures between 4pm and 9pm are as follows:
St. Stephens Street
Surrey Street ( between St. Stephens Street and All Saints Green )
Rampant Horse Street
Red Lion Street
White Lion Street
St. Andrews Hill
Bedford Street ( between Little London Street and London Street )