Canaries awarded for family football

Vic Hopes, NCISA A headline in the Evening News on March 30th which caught my eye read "Keeping it in the Family" tells how our Club has just won a prestigious Highly Commended Certificate in the "Family Club of the Year" category at the 2009 Football League Awards.

Vic Hopes, NCISA

A headline in the Evening News on March 30th which caught my eye read "Keeping it in the Family" tells how our Club has just won a prestigious Highly Commended Certificate in the "Family Club of the Year" category at the 2009 Football League Awards.

My curiosity aroused there was only one way to find out more and that was to make my way down to Carrow Road to have a chat with Head of Marketing Will Hoy.

Will reminded me that last year we were outright winners in the same category so to follow this up with a Highly Commended certificate in 2009 was no mean feat.


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I was not aware that at these Awards there are no fewer than 11 categories and in ours there were 41 out of 72 clubs in the running having been successfully visited by a "mystery shopper" to assess how well we were doing in regards to making football enjoyable for families.

Now these things don't just happen, you have to have the right people working away.

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I understand that some key players at Carrow Road include Gemma Gifford (Media Liaison Officer), Chloe Turner (Events and Promotions Manager) and Gemma Patterson (Young Supporters Co-ordinator).

It has to be said that their briefs are quite diverse, but it is also apparent that 'affordable family football' is something embraced by everyone at Norwich City.

I was given the opportunity to read our portfolio which set out in detail our achievements entitled Affordable Family Football.

This covered no less than 10 pages and space does not permit me to quote them chapter and verse so the salient points are as follows:

Family Area Increase.

The number of seats increased from 5,000 to 7,400. Season ticket prices held at �25 for under-12s and �50 for under-16s.This has resulted in 533 extra sales.

SoccerPM! Firsts.

Supporting the Football League initiative 'Fans of the Future'. 150 seats available at every home game. Under-7s free with Family Area prices for others.

Enjoy the Match.

The club is committed to a safe and fun environment for all in the Family Area.

Associate Group Scheme.

With 128 Youth football clubs and schools as members. Benefits include discounted match tickets, the chance to be Ball Boy/Girl at Reserve team games and the opportunity to play 6-a-side games at Carrow Road.

Soccer PM! Reserves.

Events before each Carrow Road reserve team game, free for under-16s which includes meeting first team players.

Soccer PM on Tour.

This covers visits to schools and community centres, meeting players with free coaching.

Soccer PM! Away Days.

Families are given every encouragement to attend away games with 50 free tickets (a reciprocal arrangement with other clubs) with special Junior coach travel laid on.

Junior Xmas Party.

An annual event for 400 under-16s and their families. Full first team squad in attendance for chats and autographs. Phew! PS How about a similar event for pensioners!

Annual Club Open Day.

One of the highlights being the presentation of the many cups and trophies awarded including the prestigious Barry Butler Memorial Trophy for Player of the Year and not forgetting NCISA's own cup also for Player of the Year.

Close ties with Football in the Community (who coach over 41,000 children each year) and the Study Support Centre (who see over 3,500 students each year).

Rounding off I for one will NOT be voting for the Player of the Year as I do not think any player deserves it.

Since 1966/67 when Terry Allcock's name was the first to be engraved there has been a long procession of illustrious and worthy winners but not this year. Second best is not good enough. (How come Malky Mackay never made it?)

I feel just as strongly about the Man of the Match award.

After last Saturday's dismal performance against Sheffield Wednesday was there anyone playing for NorwichCity who put in an outstanding performance?

Shackell put in a decent shift, but is 6 out of 10 good enough to win an award?

Mind you at least two rated zero. No name, no pack-drill!

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