Norwich City to research atmosphere problems at Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 08:34 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:22 24 November 2017

Norwich City fans at Carrow Road.  Picture: James Bass

Norwich City fans at Carrow Road. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2008

Eight out of 10 Norwich City Football Club fans want to see safe standing introduced at Carrow Road, according to a new survey of more than 1,800 Canaries followers.

Norwich City fans at Carrow Road.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.Norwich City fans at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.

The Norwich Evening News and Pink’un poll revealed 80pc were in favour of safe standing, with 72pc feeling the atmosphere at the stadium would benefit as a result.

Now Norwich City Football Club has announced it will be researching how to improve the atmosphere at home games, with the results also revealing 85pc of fans thought the stadium’s atmosphere had worsened over the past five years.

Following increasing concerns about the lack of atmosphere at home games, the online questionnaire asked fans for their views on what could be done to improve the situation.

Of the 1,830 respondents, fewer than 2pc felt the atmosphere had improved over the past five years, with 72pc feeling the atmosphere was largely dependent on the team winning its games.

Norwich City fans at Carrow Road.  Picture: James BassNorwich City fans at Carrow Road. Picture: James Bass

Norwich City Football Club has said it plans to involve fans in finding a solution to the problem.

The club said: “We have been meeting with supporter representatives for several months to discuss a range of topics with them, including the atmosphere at Carrow Road during games.

“We of course acknowledge that one factor in generating a positive atmosphere is results and performances and everybody at Carrow Road and Colney is united in working ceaselessly to fully support the team in every game they play.

“At our most recent meeting last week with supporters, we offered to conduct full and extensive market research of all of our supporters who attend games to get their views on atmosphere and some of the short, medium and long-term ideas out there for improving it.

“We will be conducting that research soon and would urge all fans who have a view on atmosphere to share their opinions with us.”

The online survey also revealed that fans were divided over whose responsibility it is to get the players going.

Asked if it was the job of supporters, 42pc were in agreement, while 44pc disagreed.

Jon Punt of online fan site Along Come Norwich said winning games was important, but fans had a role to play in helping the players.

He said: “85pc of people saying the atmosphere had worsened is a representation of what’s happening at Carrow Road at the moment.

“But I don’t think fans should sit on their hands as they can give the players an extra edge by creating a good atmosphere. Sometimes the players need us and we have to get behind them.”

Fans in favour of safe standing

Of the 1,800 plus respondents to complete our survey, 80pc were in favour of introducing safe standing at Carrow Road, with 72pc feeling the atmosphere at the stadium would benefit as a result.

The results mirror a recent survey conducted at Liverpool Football Club, which found that 88pc of 18,000 respondents were behind safe standing.

Standing areas were banned in the top two flights of English football in 1990 following the publication of the Taylor Report, which looked into causes of the Hillsborough disaster. However, safe standing has since been implemented in stadiums across Europe.

The seats in safe standing areas are fixed in an upright position, with safety railings separating each row. In 2016, Celtic became the first British club to trial safe standing and now League One Shrewsbury Town look set to follow suit, after fans raised £65,000 to pay for a railed standing area at the Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium.

What fans want

The poll has also suggested that fans attribute a lack of atmosphere to an increasingly corporate focus and a lack of young fans.

A recent survey into the cost of football suggested younger people are finding it more difficult to finance the life of a football fan.

Asked in our questionnaire if staging pre-match activity at home games would help improve the atmosphere, 52pc of respondents felt it would while the introduction of a designated ‘singing area’ at Carrow Road was supported by 45pc of respondents, with 41pc saying no to the idea.

The majority of fans were in favour of implementing a ‘seat swap’ system, with 56pc supporting the idea of enabling mid-season seat relocations.

Asked what else could be done to improve the atmosphere, answers included playing better football, more flags and banners, improving half time entertainment and the reintroduction of On The Ball City at the start of games.

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