Fantastic Norwich City fans hailed as they help club achieve Premier League safety
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's incredible supporters once dubbed the 'best in the world' by joint majority shareholder Delia Smith have been praised again today for helping to push the club over the line to Premier League safety.
More than 26,000 fans created a cauldron of noise at Carrow Road on Sunday to help cheer the Canaries to an emphatic – and euphoric – 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion which sealed the club's survival.
On Saturday, the Norwich Evening News urged everyone to get behind the team and the Yell Army – armed with souvenir clap banners –answered the call and sang loud and proud to help keep the club in the Premier League.
Today, City bosses have hailed the terrific support which made all the difference when it mattered.
David McNally, chief executive, who also praised the Yell Army campaign run by the Evening News and sister paper the EDP, said the wall of noise at Carrow Road was a key factor in helping the club to beat the Baggies and guarantee City's survival, which is believed to be worth an estimated £100m.
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Mr McNally, who tweeted 'A big thank you to the @EDP24 and the @eveningnews for the #yellarmy campaign, said: 'The Yell Army campaign has played a really important part. We have the best supporters in the land, of that there is no doubt. We have 3,000 fans at Stamford Bridge for an Under-18 game. It's simply astonishing.'
'When you are in a bad trot of form, and we were struggling towards the end of the second half of the season, we needed a bit of a boost –and the Yell Army campaign helped provide that. The players have said how positive the atmosphere was against Reading and Aston Villa – but particularly against West Bromwich Albion. It was a superb atmosphere, really positive and the 12th man was at work.'
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Kathy Blake, a member of the Independent Norwich City Supporters Club, said she felt the fans, spurred on by the Yell Army campaign, did make the difference in helping to guide the club to safety.
She said: 'Although it raised eyebrows on some quarters, I believe the cynics were wrong about the Yell Army campaign. City fans are generally very loud and supportive at all times, especially when they are really needed, but some areas of the ground need that little bit of extra encouragement . That's where the campaign and the clappers stepped in and there was a great atmosphere all around the ground. This does make a difference. You ask the youth team.'
Terry Pyle, from the Norwich City Shareholders' Association, said he thought the fans' vocal support had helped see their team to safety, particularly in the past two or three games. He said: 'I think the performance level has been much better and the fans can take some credit for helping towards that.'
Gavin Cooper, chairman of the Capital Canaries fan group, based in London, said the crowd did their bit to cheer City onto victory.
He said: 'The support and atmosphere on Sunday was immense! The whole crowd built the atmosphere up to boiling point and the squad dually performed brilliantly in a fine victory against, on-paper at least, a tough opponent. Gladly, the 'Hughton Out' brigade were made to eat humble pie and it was like having 'the old Norwich back'; the place and the game was electric, it was likes sharks smelling blood at times! In my opinion, Hughton was simply given the job of staying up to do by the board. Whilst it wasn't the best football at times and occasionally disappointing and frustrating, he simply did what the club needed him to do! Roll on next season, I can see a totally different approach being taken!'
Neil Bradley, a member of the Kent Canaries supporters group, who was one of 26,000-plus supporters at Carrow Road on Sunday and was yesterday among almost 3,000 who travelled to London to see City's young stars take on Chelsea in the Youth Cup final, said the fans did make a difference.
He said: 'Definitely. For the last three home games the crowd have been top notch. On Sunday, I thought the noise from the crowd was absolutely fantastic. The crowd were up for it right from the start and that was replicated on the pitch with the players who went for it from the off and we were bouncing off each other really.'
Ben East, from the Northern Canaries Supporters Group, said: ''I do think the fans have had a really special part to play, which I think did get us over the line in the end.'