Ticket office staff rise to Cup challenge

PUBLISHED: 08:46 15 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:05 14 September 2010

FA Cup fever hit Norwich City yesterday with club officials confirming a 6,300-strong travelling armada will descend on Premiership champions Chelsea for Saturday's glamour fifth-round tie.

FA Cup fever hit Norwich City yesterday with club officials confirming a 6,300-strong travelling armada will descend on Premiership champions Chelsea for Saturday's glamour fifth-round tie.

Extra ticket office staff had to be drafted in to meet the huge demand for the Canaries' biggest away turnout since last-day Premiership relegation heartache at Fulham in May 2005.

The 16-1 underdogs are poised to pocket an estimated £300,000 in gate receipts from the trip to Stamford Bridge with Norwich entitled to a 45pc share of total revenue generated through the turnstiles.

Chelsea officials expect to match the 41,516 attendance who watched the Blues' televised 3-0 home win over Nottingham Forest in the previous round.

“A game of this nature really captures the imagination,” said Andrew Cullen, Norwich's director of sales and marketing.

“I'm sure we could have sold many more with a bigger allocation - it's certainly going to be the biggest following since the Fulham game. We had in the region of 6,700 pre-applications which we divided into five categories.

“The good news is every application in the first four bands has been successful and the few remaining tickets will be balloted.

“I would say around 90pc of those who applied have managed to get tickets, but obviously since beating Blackpool we've had many people come into the ticket office who we simply had to turn away.”

Ticket office staff worked round the clock to ensure successful applications were posted out first class by late yesterday afternoon.

“We had about 20 staff in total and we had to bring in one or two volunteers as well,” said Cullen. “The ticket office didn't close until around 11pm after the Blackpool game and people were back in at 6.30am on Wednesday - so it's been a huge effort. From an organisational point of view it was certainly a challenge to turn things around in three days. We actually had longer for the play off semis and final in 2002.

“One of the things that stood out for me in this process was the number of family applications. Chelsea's decision to price tickets at £25 and £12 has encouraged many more younger supporters. They are going to have a wonderful experience which is great for both them and Norwich City.”

Chief executive Neil Doncaster confirmed Norwich's FA Cup windfall would provide a major shot in the arm for the club. The Canaries' have already banked £100,000 in prize money alone after knocking out Tamworth and Blackpool to reach the fifth round.

Norwich shared a £300,000 television pot with Conference strugglers Tamworth after the clubs' third round tie was televised live by the BBC plus the Canaries' gate receipt cut from this season's three-match run to date.

“It's certainly good news, without a doubt,” said Doncaster. “It's something we don't budget for - cup success - and going to Stamford Bridge, whether we win, lose or draw, we are guaranteed to make some money out of it.

“So as much as it being a great day out for supporters, it's very helpful for a club which loses its parachute payment this year.

“Chelsea have been very sensible with their pricing and we would expect their net gate to be around £700,000. Our share in that is 45 per cent and we would expect to take in the region of £300,000 out of the game. It is a boost. It's not an enormous amount of money, but it is clearly helpful unbudgeted income.”

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