Canary faithful prepare for protest

PUBLISHED: 11:51 04 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:15 14 September 2010

Ten years after the last campaign to oust a key man from Carrow Road, sections of the Canaries' support today braced themselves for a new round of protests.

Ten years after the last campaign to oust a key man from Carrow Road, sections of the Canaries' support today braced themselves for a new round of protests.

In 1996, controversial city chairman Robert Chase stepped down following a bitter feud with fans angered by his management of the club.

The dispute involved mounted police horses being turned on supporters and loudspeakers being set up inside the ground to drown out dissent.

A decade later and fans were set to make their stand again, with a protest calling for manager Nigel Worthington to be sacked planned for today's game with Stoke City.

The organised protest marks the end of a long period of harmony at the club, which has prided itself on its spirit of togetherness.

But those calling for a change at the top are quick to point out the differences between the campaign to oust Robert Chase and the protests over Nigel Worthington.

Paul Webster, chairman of London supporters' group Capital Canaries, said: "I was away at university at the time of the Chase protests, but I certainly remember how strong the feeling was at a couple of away games. I do feel the situation now is completely different; all the protesters are trying to do is to show the club it is not just a minority of fans that want Worthington to go.

"It is not as hostile as the Chase protests; people do not want to see Worthington hung, drawn and quartered in front of the crowd."

Robert Chase resigned in May 1996, after selling his 34 per cent shareholding to club stalwart Geoffrey Watling. The departure marked the end of a long battle by fans.

Roy Blower, chairman of the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), was heavily involved in the protests to remove Mr Chase.

On Thursday, he organised a meeting at St Andrew's Hall to discuss fans' concerns over the performance of the team. Five hundred people attended the meeting, voting overwhelmingly in favour of giving Mr Worthington the boot. The turnout at this week's meeting was greater than for similar gatherings during the Chase era.

Mr Blower said: "Back during the Chase protests, there were police horses running down the street and banks of loudspeakers in the ground to drown out the protests.

"Mr Chase had the effect of ratcheting up the opposition by trying to cover it up.

"The current protests are completely different and I am sure the people responsible for organising it will have spoken to the police and it will be much more peaceful."

A demonstration was planned for today at 2pm in Wherry Road, close to the ground.

Other suggestions to highlight concerns include raising a petition, not wearing City colours, boycotting away games and waving white hankies at half-time.

Ü What do you think about the present day protests? Write to: Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk or visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

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