Thursday, January 10, 2013
Had an intended Tweet gone out from Lakey Towers on Sunday afternoon, I would have had a queue of people asking for the next set of Lottery numbers.
Totally convinced was I that Norwich City would draw Luton Town in the FA Cup that I felt the urge to tell the world. An allergy to egg on face eventually persuaded me against sharing a nagging feeling that had been with me ever since City left Peterborough in a heap on Saturday afternoon.
Curious that the fourth round tie should be treated as another derby. It isn’t. There is only one derby game for Norwich City and that won’t be played any time soon.
Peterborough wasn’t a derby. It was close, but no cigar: 80 miles isn’t good enough. It doesn’t qualify, by a long way. Norwich to Luton is 100 miles – a distance which in itself almost invalidates the word derby. TV companies will no doubt say it’s a derby given the curious arrangement that sees Luton in their catchment area for news coverage. A bit like Northampton. Rubbish.
Somewhere in my mother’s loft is proof that Luton is not in East Anglia: in January 1983, I bought centre stand tickets to watch Peterborough at Kenilworth Road in an FA Cup tie. The prices were ridiculously high and centre stand seats turned out to be half a dozen seats from the end of the main stand. Rubbish seats, high price, so I wrote to Luton to ask why and their secretary at the time, Graham Mackrell, wrote back informing me that prices were high because Luton was “a London club”. So there you go.
Fortunately, the fourth round tie between the teams is at Carrow Road, where the ticket prices, announced on Monday, staggered me. Okay, Luton are a Conference club, but they are the best supported side outside of the league set-up, with an average home attendance of more than 6,000. It’s better than 21 teams in League Two and 16 in League One. Norwich City had every right to be thinking in the £15 to £20 range for a ticket, but instead went for £10 for everyone, except under-16s, who will be charged a quid.
I watched a local League match on Saturday. Good though it was it cost me £6.50 to stand at the side of the pitch. A quid to watch a Premier League team in a lovely stadium in the FA cup is, as they say, as cheap as chips, even if there are some folk Luton way who think it is too cheap and their club isn’t making enough money out of the tie.
Before I digress, it is not as if you are talking about a team whose fans have to travel from the other side of the country to get to Norwich for the game. It’s close-ish, costs won’t be huge – one would assume the prices could have gone higher.
Perhaps in the back of someone’s mind was the reaction to the prices for the visit of Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals – £25 for adults, £15 for over-65s and £5 for under-16s was a bit much for many.
So what is more important, League Cup quarter-finals or FA Cup fourth round? No difference, really, because City fans generally pack the place anyway. A crowd of 26,142 attended the Villa game, despite the murmurings of discontent. With a captive audience like that you could get away with making a few quid extra. But City haven’t. Which is refreshing.
• NOT QUITE POSH ENOUGH?
Did I detect a bit of snobbery from one or two Norwich City fans after the visit to London Road at the weekend?
If winning at a canter wasn’t enough, there were a few who thought it right to give the old ground a bit of a hammering.
It was a dump, apparently – although the reaction to standing on terracing after so long on pampered bottoms was a pleasant surprise.
The fact is, Posh don’t have much money to spend on their ground. They have never been in the Premier League and, at the current rate, are unlikely to be there in the foreseeable future.
Once they do, I am sure the facilities will improve.