Norwich City tops fans' 'premier league'

Sarah HallOf all teams in the Football League which used to be in the Premier League, Norwich City stand alone in having higher average attendances now than during their stint in the top flight.Sarah Hall

Delia Smith has long considered Norwich City fans to be 'the best in the world' and new stats have shown she could be right.

Of all teams in the Football League which used to be in the Premier League, the Canaries stand alone in having higher average attendances now than during their stint in the top flight.

That's remarkable testament to the loyalty of Norwich City supporters, given they have endured two heartbreaking relegations since the dizzy heights of the Premiership in 2004/5.

Despite plying their trade in League One, the average gate at Carrow Road this season is a close-to-capacity 24,630 - compared to the average gate of 24, 354 during the club's last spell in the Premiership.

Of the 22 former Premiership teams currently playing in the Football League, the Canaries are the only ones now attracting more supporters.

Over the border, more than 3,400 fans have turned their backs on Championship strugglers Ipswich Town since their time at the top in 2001/2. Their average attendance this season is 20, 984 compared to 24,396 when they were in the Premiership.

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Norwich's gates so far this season are also higher than their League One promotion rivals Leeds. The Yorkshire club, who were the last club to win the old Championship title before the Premier League took over, were watched by an average of 36,666 fans during their relegation season in 2003/4 but average attendance has plummeted to 24,207 so far this season.

Earlier this week, at the launch of Norwich City's new home kit, joint majority shareholder Delia, who famously spurred on the supporters back in the Premiership days with her notorious 'Let's Be 'Aving You' cry, repeated her fulsome praise of the yellow and green army.

She said: 'They are brilliant, they are so brilliant away too - they travel miles and they come in huge numbers. But they have to keep shouting and screaming and cheering the team on, definitely.

'They are wonderful - they are the best in the world. I don't think there are any supporters like Norwich supporters.'

That's in stark contrast to some fans in in the top flight, research for Virgin Money shows 25pc of Premiersip season ticket holders are thinking of giving up at the end of the season with 4pc planning on no longer going to any games while 21pc intend to buy tickets when it suits them.

Champions Manchester United, whose supporters are currently sporting green and yellow scarves - United's original colours - in protest against the club owners the Glazer family, face the biggest potential exodus of season ticket holders. 15pc have given up going to games entirely while another 44pc will only buy tickets when it suits them.

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Do you agree that Norwich City fans are a cut above the rest? Tell us why, or why not, by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email