Norwich City F.C. was formed following a meeting at the Criterion Cafe in Norwich on 17 June 1902 by a group of friends led by two former Norwich CEYMS players, and played their first competitive match against Harwich & Parkeston, at Newmarket Road on 6 September 1902. They also joined the Norfolk & Suffolk League for the 1902–03 season. Originally, the club was nicknamed the Citizens, and played in light blue and white halved shirts. The popular pastime of canary rearing had given rise to the team's nickname of "The Canaries" by April 1905, and by February 1907 this moniker had been adopted by the national press. The following season City played for the first time in Canary livery; yellow shirts with green collars and cuffs. A local paper reported that "The Cits are dead but the Canaries are very much alive".
Norwich played for just over two seasons as an amateur club under The Football Association (FA). Following an FA Commission of inquiry, the club was informed on the last day of 1904 that they had been deemed a professional organisation and hence ineligible to compete in amateur football. The main allegations were: "fees ... paid for the use of a gymnasium and also for the training and massage of players. The sum of £8 was also paid to a player when he left the club. Payments were made to players without a receipt being taken. The club advertised for players ... [the] secretary ... spent considerable sums of money in travelling to other towns in East Anglia ... complete outfits ... were bought for players out of club funds ... there was no adequate system for checking gate money ... travelling expenses were ... excessive."
The club officials, including founding chairman Robert Webster, had to be removed from office and Norwich were to be ousted from the amateur game at the end of the season. The response was swift: at a meeting, just two days later, Wilfrid Lawson Burgess became the first chairman of the professional club and it was resolved to find a place in the professional game.
The decision was endorsed at a public meeting in March 1905, which, was attended by Nat Whitaker, secretary of the Southern League. He seconded a motion proposed by a local businessman that endorsed the club's "... determination to run a first class professional team". Whitaker actively supported Norwich, as he wanted the League's influence to spread eastwards. On 30 May 1905, they were elected to play in the Southern League, in place of Wellingborough.
With increasing attendances at matches and strict new clauses included in a proposed lease extension, Norwich were forced to leave Newmarket Road and move to a converted disused chalk pit in Rosary Road which became known as "The Nest". Works at The Nest, which included dismantling and moving the stands from Newmarket Road, were complete in time for the start of the 1908–09 season.
On 10 December 1917, with football suspended during the First World War and the club facing spiralling debts, City went into voluntary liquidation. The club was officially reformed on 15 February 1919; a key figure in the events was Mr C Watling, father of future club Chairman, Geoffrey Watling. In May 1920, the Football League formed a Third Division, to which Norwich was admitted for the following season. Their first league fixture, against Plymouth, on 28 August 1920, ended in a 1–1 draw. The club endured a mediocre first decade in the League, finishing no higher than eighth but no lower than 18th. It was during this period that the players began to wear a canary emblem on their shirts. A simple canary badge was first adopted in 1922; a variation is used to this day.
With crowds continuing to rise, and with the Football Association raising concerns over the suitability of The Nest, the club considered renovation of the ground, but ultimately decided on a move to Carrow Road. The inaugural match, on 31 August 1935 against West Ham United, ended in a 4–3 victory for the home team and set a new record attendance of 29,779. The biggest highlight of the following four seasons was the visit of King George VI to Carrow Road on 29 October 1938. However the club was relegated to the Third Division at the end of the season.
The league was suspended the following season due to the Second World War, and did not resume until the 1946–47 season. City finished this and the following season in 21st place, the poor results forcing the club to apply for re-election to the league. The club narrowly missed out on promotion under the guidance of manager Norman Low in the early 1950s, but following the return of Tom Parker as manager, Norwich finished bottom of the football league in the 1956–57 season. The 1958–59 season saw Norwich reach the semi-final of the FA Cup as a Third Division side, defeating two First Division sides on the way: Tottenham Hotspur and Matt Busby's Manchester United.
In the 1959–60 season, Norwich were promoted to the Second Division after finishing second to Southampton, and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 1960–61 season. In 1962 Ron Ashman guided Norwich to their first trophy, defeating Rochdale 4–0 on aggregate in a two-legged final to win the League Cup.
Sixth place in the league was the closest the club came to promotion to the First Division again during the 1960s, but after winning the division in the 1971–72 season under manager Ron Saunders, Norwich City reached the highest level of English football for the first time. They made their first appearance at Wembley Stadium in 1973, losing the League Cup final 1–0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
Relegation to the Second Division in 1974 came after Saunders had departed and been succeeded by John Bond, but the board of directors kept faith in Bond and were quickly rewarded. A highly successful first season saw promotion back to the First Division and another visit to Wembley, again in the League Cup final, this time losing 1–0 to Aston Villa.
Bond departed to Manchester City in autumn 1980 and the club were relegated six months later, but bounced back the following season after finishing third under Bond's successor Ken Brown. Norwich had also been the beneficiaries of one of English football's first million-pound transfers when they sold striker Justin Fashanu to Nottingham Forest in August 1981.
The 1984–85 season was of mixed fortunes for the club; under Ken Brown's guidance, they reached the final of the Football League Cup at Wembley Stadium, having defeated Ipswich Town in the semi-final. In the final, they beat Sunderland 1–0, but in the league, both Norwich and Sunderland were relegated to the second tier of English football. This made Norwich the first English club to win a major trophy and suffer relegation in the same season; something which was not matched until Birmingham City also suffered relegation the season they won the League Cup 26 years later.
Norwich were also denied their first foray into Europe with the ban on English clubs after the Heysel Stadium disaster. City bounced back to the top flight by winning the Second Division championship in the 1985–86 season. This was the start of what remains a club-record nine consecutive seasons in the top division of English football. High league placing in the First Division in 1988–89 would have been enough for UEFA Cup qualification, but the ban on English clubs remained. They also had good cup runs during this period, reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in 1989 and again in 1992.
During 1992–93, the inaugural season of the Premier League, Norwich City quickly emerged as surprise title contenders, before faltering in the final weeks to finish third behind the champions, Manchester United, and runners-up Aston Villa. Their top scorer that season was Mark Robins, who had been signed from Manchester United the previous summer. The following season Norwich participated in the UEFA Cup for the first (and only) time, losing in the third round to Inter Milan, but defeating Bayern Munich. Winning 2–1, Norwich were the first British team to beat Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium.
Mike Walker quit as Norwich City manager in January 1994, to take charge of Everton and was replaced by first team coach John Deehan who led the club to 12th place in the 1993–94 season in the Premier League. Norwich began the 1994–95 season well, despite the pre-season loss of top scorer Chris Sutton to Blackburn Rovers for a national record £5 million, and by Christmas they were seventh in the league. Norwich then won only one of their final 20 league games and slumped to 20th place and relegation, ending a nine-season run in the top flight.
Shortly before relegation, Deehan resigned as manager and his assistant Gary Megson took over until the end of the season. Martin O'Neill, who had taken Wycombe Wanderers from the Conference to the Second Division with successive promotions, was appointed as Norwich City manager in summer 1995. He lasted just six months in the job before resigning after a dispute with chairman Robert Chase over money to strengthen the squad. Soon after, Chase stepped down after protests from supporters, who complained that he kept selling the club's best players and was to blame for their relegation. Chase's majority stakeholding was bought by Geoffrey Watling.
English television cook Delia Smith and husband Michael Wynn-Jones took over the majority of Norwich City's shares from Watling in 1996, and Mike Walker was re-appointed as the club's manager. He was unable to repeat the success achieved during his first spell and was sacked two seasons later with Norwich mid-table in Division One.
Nigel Worthington took over as Norwich City manager in December 2000 following an unsuccessful two years for the club under Bruce Rioch and then Bryan Hamilton. He had been on the coaching staff under Hamilton who resigned with the club 20th in the First Division and in real danger of relegation to the third tier of English football for the first time since the 1960s. Worthington avoided the threat of relegation and, the following season, led City to a playoff final at the Millennium Stadium, which Norwich lost against Birmingham City on penalties.
The 2003–04 campaign saw the club win the First Division title, finishing eight points clear of second-placed West Bromwich Albion and returned to the top flight for the first time since 1995. For much of the 2004–05 season, the club struggled and, despite beating Manchester United 2–0 towards the end of the season, a last day 6–0 defeat away to Fulham condemned them to relegation. The club finished in ninth place in The Championship in the 2005–06 season and, as results in the 2006–07 season went against City, manager Nigel Worthington was sacked in October 2006, directly after a 4–1 defeat by Burnley.
On 16 October 2006, Norwich announced that former City player Peter Grant had left West Ham United to become the new manager, and in February 2007, Grant replaced assistant Doug Livermore with his fellow Scot, Jim Duffy. Grant's side struggled for most of the season and made a poor start to the 2007–08 season, with only two wins by mid October; following a 1–0 defeat at fellow-strugglers Queens Park Rangers, Grant left the club by "mutual consent" on 9 October 2007. On 30 October 2007, former Newcastle United manager Glenn Roeder was confirmed as Grant's replacement. Roeder kept Norwich in the Championship with a 3–0 win over Queens Park Rangers, Norwich's penultimate game of the season.
On 14 January 2009 it was announced that Roeder had been relieved of his first team duties after 60 games in charge, and just 20 victories. A week later, Bryan Gunn was appointed as manager until the end of the season, but he was unable to prevent the club from being relegated on 3 May 2009, after a 4–2 defeat away at already relegated Charlton Athletic. Following their relegation, their first game of the season resulted in a shock 7–1 home defeat against East Anglian rivals Colchester United. This was the club's heaviest ever home defeat and Gunn was sacked six days later.
On 18 August 2009, Paul Lambert was announced as the new manager, leaving his post at Colchester, and nine months later led Norwich to promotion back to the Championship as League One Champions, after a single season in League One. The following season saw Norwich promoted to the Premier League, finishing second in the table and completing the first back-to-back promotions from the 3rd tier to the 1st since Manchester City in 2000.
The club finished in 12th place in their first season back in the Premier League. However, Lambert resigned within a month of the season's close to take up the vacant managerial spot at league rivals Aston Villa and was replaced by Chris Hughton. The 2012–13 season started poorly but a club record unbeaten run in the Premier League secured their third year in the Premier League with an 11th-place finish in the league. They were relegated back to the Championship after finishing 18th in the 2013–14 season and Hughton was sacked.
After a mediocre first half of the 2014–15 season, Neil Adams resigned which paved the way for the appointment of then Hamilton Academical manager Alex Neil in January 2015. The appointment reinvigorated Norwich's season, and victory in the 2015 Championship playoff final secured an immediate return to the top division of English football. This was only temporary relief, as at the end of the next season they were relegated again to play the 2016–17 season in the Football League Championship.
The following season started successfully, with the club sitting top of the Championship in mid-October. A poor run of form and results followed and saw the team slide to as low as twelfth in the table. On 10 March 2017, Alex Neil was sacked by the club, with first-team coach Alan Irvine placed in caretaker charge for the remainder of the season, ultimately finishing in 8th place.
On 25 May 2017, the club appointed German coach Daniel Farke as head coach, becoming the first head coach of the club in its 114-year history that was not from the British Isles. Under Farke, the club underwent a rebuilding process that saw the team adopt a fast-paced, possession-focused brand of football reminiscent of Farke's former Dortmund side. Norwich finished the 2017–18 season in 14th place. Despite a slow start, the following season was far more successful and the team spent most of the season at the top of the table – helped on by top scorer Teemu Pukki. Following a 2–1 win over Blackburn Rovers, the club was promoted back to the Premier League after a three-year absence as champions of the Championship.
** – Colours / Crest / Anthem – **
Norwich City's nickname, "The Canaries", has long influenced the team's colours and crest. Originally, the club was nicknamed the Citizens ("Cits" for short), and played in light blue and white halved shirts, although the halves were inconsistent; "the blue was sometimes on the left-hand side of the shirt and sometimes on the right."
The earliest known recorded link between the club and canaries comes in an interview recorded in the Eastern Daily Press with the newly appointed manager, John Bowman in April 1905. The paper quotes him saying "Well I knew of the City's existence... I have... heard of the canaries." This, as far as can be told, is the first time that the popular pastime of the day, rearing canaries, was linked with Norwich City FC. The club still played in blue and white, and would continue to do so for another two seasons.
By February 1907, the nickname Canaries had come more into vogue; thoughts that an FA Cup tie against West Bromwich Albion (nicknamed "Throstles" after a bird) was "a bird -singing contest" were dismissed by the polymath C.B. Fry as "humbug" but the national press increasingly referred to the team as Canaries. The following season, to match the nickname, City played for the first time in Canary livery; "yellow shirts with green collars and cuffs. One paper produced the quote 'The Cits are dead but the Canaries are very much alive'." While the home colours of yellow and green remain to this day, the away colours have varied since introduction. For example, the away kit for the 2012–13 season was black shirts and shorts.
A simple canary badge was first adopted in 1922. The current club badge consists of a canary resting on a football with a stylised version of the City of Norwich arms in the top left corner. For the club's centenary celebrations in 2002, a special crest was designed. It featured two canaries looking left and right, and a ribbon noting the centenary.
The fans' song, On the Ball, City, is the oldest football song in the world still in use today; the song is, in fact, older than the club itself having probably been penned for Norwich Teachers or Caley's FC in the 1890s and adapted for Norwich City. Although the first use of the tune and song is disputed, it had been adopted by 1902 and it remains in use today in part if not the whole. The chorus is:
The physical limitations of the site of The Nest meant that expansion was not possible, and there were safety problems with the existing structures. The club began looking for alternative accommodation in 1926, their hand forced finally when one corner of the pitch subsided up to 30 feet after old chalk workings collapsed. An attempt to patch up the problem with railway sleepers and soil failed to impress The Football Association (FA), who wrote to the club on 15 May 1935, saying The Nest "was no longer suitable for large crowds and measures must be taken".
The club's dilemma was acute: the FA no longer approved of large crowds at The Nest, but the new season was just weeks away. About half a mile south of The Nest, they found a new site, the Boulton Paul Sports Ground in Carrow Road, which belonged to J. & J. Colman.
The new stadium took its name from the street which encloses the ground on three sides, the fourth boundary being the River Wensum. The name "Carrow" originally refers to the former Carrow Abbey that once stood on the riverside, its name in turn having possible Norse origins. In 1800, John Ridges, owner of the Carrow Abbey Estate and the land opposite on the banks of the Wensum in Thorpe Hamlet, "granted permission for a proposed road access across his grounds to Carrow". By 1811, Philip M. Martineau, a surgeon, owned the building, lands and manor of Carrow, including the adjacent Thorpe land. Carrow Hill Road was created on his Carrow Abbey Estate, to provide work for the poor in the community.
The road linked Martineau's Bracondale Estate to Carrow Toll Bridge, installed in 1810. Norwich Railway Co. had acquired the land in Thorpe around Carrow Road by the 1840s, and by 1860 the Thorpe site of the future stadium belonged to the firm of J. & J. Colman. The stadium's Thorpe Corner acknowledges this historical link. In 1935, Colman's offered the 20-year leasehold to Norwich City and construction of the new stadium began swiftly on the site: tenders were issued on the day the site was purchased and ten days later, on 11 June, work began.
Initial materials were sourced by demolishing the former "Chicken Run" section of The Nest, with the rubble dumped as a bank at the river end of the new ground. Thereafter, work proceeded quickly, with most of the stands and terraces built by 17 August. A practice match was held on 26 August with work "still in progress", and, after just 82 days, on 31 August, the ground was opened for a Second Division fixture featuring West Ham United. The stadium had an initial capacity of 35,000, including 5,000 seats under cover. Norwich won the game 4–3; the attendance was 29,779, which set a new club record crowd for a home game. The first competitive goal at the ground was scored by Norwich's Duggie Lochhead.
The new stadium was described by club officials as "the largest construction job in the city since the building of Norwich Castle", "miraculously built in just 82 days" and "the eighth wonder of the world". An aerial photograph from August 1935 shows three sides of open terracing, and a covered stand with a Colman's Mustard advertisement painted on its roof, visible only from the air. The club's association with Colman's has continued into the modern era; in 1997 the club signed a shirt sponsorship deal with the company.
The mustard manufacturer's original factory was located adjacent to the stadium in Carrow Road, and the ground was opened by Russell Colman, the President of the club. The author Simon Inglis describes the early Carrow Road as comprising "a Main Stand, a covered end terrace and two large open banks". The covered terrace was paid for by Captain Evelyn Barclay, the vice-president of Norwich City; it was constructed in time for the opening of the 1937–38 season, and while the original construction is long gone, the end retains the name of its benefactor.
At this time, the ground's capacity was 38,000, with space for 10,000 of "the more vociferous of the home and away supporters", in the new Barclay end. The new ground received a royal seal of approval: on 29 October 1938, King George VI watched twenty minutes of the home game versus Millwall, the first time a ruling monarch had watched a Second Division match.
Floodlights were erected at the ground in 1956 and the £9,000 cost nearly sent the club into bankruptcy. However, Norwich's success in the 1958–59 FA Cup (where as a Third Division club they reached the semi-final, losing to First Division Luton Town after a replay) secured the financial status of the club and provided sufficient funds for a cover to be built over the South Stand. In 1963, the record was set for attendance at Carrow Road: a crowd of 43,984 watched a sixth round FA Cup match against Leicester City, and the South Stand was covered shortly afterwards.
In the wake of the Ibrox stadium disaster in 1971, a government enquiry brought more stringent safety requirements, which, when applied to Carrow Road, resulted in the capacity being drastically reduced to around 20,000. With focus on the dangers of standing, seats began to replace terracing: by 1979, the stadium had a capacity of 28,392, with seats for 12,675.
A fire in 1984 partially destroyed one of the stands which eventually led to its complete demolition and replacement by 1987 with a new City Stand. When it opened, then chairman Robert Chase compared the experience of visiting the new stand to "going to the theatre – the only difference being that our stage is covered with grass".
After the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the subsequent outcome of the Taylor Report in 1990, the stadium was converted to all-seater. In 2003 the South Stand was replaced by the new, 8,000-seat Jarrold Stand. In the summer of 2010, work was undertaken to increase the ground's capacity from 26,018 to 27,000. This was achieved by finding additional capacity for seats within the existing stands.
In 2004, £700,000 was invested in improving the pitch. The former all-grass surface was replaced with a sand-based Desso GrassMaster one, the mix of artificial and real grass which, according to the then groundsman Gary Kemp "guarantee[d] that the pitch would be looking good enough for every match to be broadcast on TV". The under-soil heating system "can clear snow and ice within eight hours of being turned on".
In anticipation of the ground's 80th anniversary on 31 August 2015, a rematch of the original fixture versus West Ham was played on 28 July. As part of the celebrations, the club offered season ticket holders the opportunity to mark their seats with their name or a message. Fans were also offered the chance to buy tickets for a celebratory dinner with the first-team squad, the menu provided by the club's joint majority shareholder, the celebrity chef Delia Smith.
** – Stands – **
The current stadium consists of four stands; the Regency Security Stand, the Barclay, the Geoffrey Watling City Stand and the most recent addition, the rebuilt South Stand.
** Regency Security Stand **
This end of the ground, closest to the River Wensum, was originally known as the "River End", a name that still persists among fans. An old stand was demolished in April 1979 and a two-tiered replacement was completed in December 1979. The stand was officially named the Norwich and Peterborough Stand in the 1990s, after a sponsorship deal with the Norwich & Peterborough Building Society. An extra 160 seats were installed in the summer of 2010. The stand was renamed the Regency Security Stand after a deal with Regency Security, the current security firm of the club.
** The Barclay Stand **
The Barclay is named after Captain Evelyn Barclay, a former vice-president of the club, who donated the cost of roofing the original stand. This was built in 1937, but demolished in 1992, when a new two-tier structure, modelled on the River End was built in accordance with the recommendations of the Taylor Report. Local brewers Woodforde's Brewery were announced as the stand's sponsors in June 2018.
** Geoffrey Watling City Stand **
The single-tiered Geoffrey Watling City Stand was built following a severe fire in its ageing predecessor on 25 October 1984. The fire was apparently caused by an employee of the club leaving a three-bar electric fire switched on overnight.
The City Stand (as it was named at the time) cost £1.7 million to build and was used for the first time on 30 August 1986 when City hosted Southampton. It was formally opened by the Duchess of Kent on 14 February 1987. The stand was renamed in honour of Norwich City president Geoffrey Watling, who died in 2004, aged 91. The stand has the lowest capacity of the four; it also houses the directors' box, the press area and hospitality suites. Where The Barclay extends around to meet the Geoffrey Watling City Stand is the Thorpe corner infill, known to supporters as 'The Snakepit'.
** The South Stand **
The South Stand is on the site of the former South Stand, which was named in honour of Sir Arthur South. The new stand was partially opened for the game against Sheffield United on 31 January 2004, and fully opened for the next home match, a game versus West Ham. It was opened by Ken Brown, a former manager of both clubs.
From 2004 until May 2016 the stand was sponsored by Jarrolds, a local department store. It is a single-tiered stand of cantilever construction with a capacity of 8,212. From 2016, the infill where the hotel is situated a large rotating screen which allows fans in the South Stand and the Barclay Stand to see various video broadcasts relating to the club. The corner infill between the Jarrold and Norwich & Peterborough stands is called the Aviva Community Stand. It was built in 2005 and named after sponsors Aviva. It seats up to 1,700 fans, and also provides extensive facilities for disabled supporters.
On 15 June 2016, it was announced that following the termination of Jarrold as the stand's sponsor, the stand would revert to its historical name of the South Stand. Irish coffee company The Galway Roast were announced as the stand's new sponsors, which would be officially called The South Stand sponsored by The Galway Roast. On 2 November 2016, the club announced that the sponsorship deal with The Galway Roast had been terminated and the stand would once again simply be known as The South Stand. On 25 November 2016, the club announced a new sponsorship of The South Stand with NVCS with their Green Farm Coffee brand, although the stand name remained the same with the new sponsor.
Accommodation for visiting supporters is provided in the end of the South Stand closest to The Barclay. The Essential Football Fan describes the away end as follows:
** – Facilities – **
There are many facilities and services which have been designed to accommodate supporters with a variety of disabilities and to encourage all fans to come along and watch the Canaries play live at Carrow Road.
** Seating **
Facilities for disabled supporters at Norwich City Football Club include places for up to 84 wheelchair users and 186 ambulant supporters. While the majority of places will be taken up by season ticket holders, a number will be kept for home casual tickets and away supporters.
Indoor Aviva Ability Counts Gallery.
Platform Aviva Ability Counts Gallery.
Outside South Stand Wing (N & O).
Outside South Stand Centre (J & M).
Away Section South Stand Wing.
Temporary Accessible Seating : Subject to availability, they will try and move any existing season ticket holder with a temporary disability into an accessible seat. Please note you will need to contact the Ticket Office before casual match tickets go on sale to Priority Members.
Drop-off Point : Supporters can use the entrance of the Holiday Inn as a drop-off point only.
** – Tickets – **
** – Equipment and Services – **
** – Getting to Carrow Road Stadium – **
Getting to the stadium by car:
Parking. For visiting supporters travelling on unofficial coaches/minibuses please contact the Norwich City ticket office on 01603 721902 for parking information. Car Parking is available for first team home matches at County Hall, Martineau Lane Norwich, NR1 2DW which is a 10 minute walk from Carrow Road. No Pre-booking available. Price per match is £6, pay on the day via card or cash. Please note, road closures operate immediately before and after matches outside the stadium to allow pedestrians to leave safely.
Norwich Train Station is located less than ten minutes on foot from Carrow Road. When walking out of the station turn left and follow Koblenz Avenue to reach the stadium or alternatively walk straight over at the traffic lights and through the Riverside Leisure complex to reach the stadium.
First Group provide city and countywide bus services into Norwich. Norwich Bus Station is located approximately one mile from Carrow Road on Surrey Street (NR1 3NX). Park and Ride services are also operational around the city centre.
Location : Carrow Road Stadium, Carrow Rd, Norwich NR1 1JE
Transport: Norwich (National Rail) then 12 minutes. Bus Routes: 1, 2, 3, 11, 26 and 26a stop closeby the stadium.
Capacity : 43,984 (overall); 27,137 (all-seater)
Tel: 01603 721 902