Canaries sick as parrots with BBQ bug

Norwich City Football Club has been hit by a mystery stomach bug after four first team players and several staff became ill following its annual barbecue.

Norwich City Football Club has been hit by a mystery stomach bug after four first team players and several staff became ill following its annual barbecue.

It is believed that up to 30 people suffered from vomiting and diarrhoea following Sunday afternoon's social event at the Colney training ground, which was attended by around 250 players, staff and their wives and children.

The cause of the sickness has not yet been identified, however the club was quick to point out today that the catering at the event was not provided by celebrity chef and joint majority shareholder Delia Smith.

Delia was attending an event in London today and therefore unavailable to comment but was not thought to have been affected by the bug.


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A probe was today launched by South Norfolk Council, with the food served by a team of outside caterers being investigated as one possible cause.

With the Canaries due to open their Championship campaign on Saturday with an away trip to Preston the outbreak could not have come at a worse time.

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Although the club has declined to comment on the players affected, they are said to be senior squad members, all of whom have had to miss training.

A club spokesman said they were confident that all the players would be fit by Saturday's game.

The spokesman said: “City today confirmed a number of its staff, including four senior professional players, have been taken ill following a social event on Sunday.

“Players, staff and their families attended an annual informal summer event at the club's Colney training centre, following which approximately 30 people who were at the event have suffered symptoms including sickness and diarrhoea.

“Those Norwich City Football Club employees affected have been given time off from work and training.

“The club has contacted the Environmental Health department of South Norfolk District Council and is awaiting more information from them before commenting further.”

One of the club's communication staff, who was one of those affected but said today he was feeling a lot better, added: “Fingers crossed, it looks like just a 24-hour thing.”

The club used an outside contractor to supply the catering to give staff at Delia's Canary Catering the opportunity to enjoy themselves at the event too.

Today the club's chief executive Neil Doncaster refused to comment any further on the outbreak, other than to confirm that he has not been struck down with the illness.

Meanwhile, Canaries legend and club ambassador Bryan Gunn refused to say whether he was affected, but added: "It's only fair we wait until we know the outcome of the investigation before commenting further."

Manager Peter Grant was unavailable for comment.

A man whose wife works at the ground said she had been struck down in the early hours of yesterday.

He said: “She started to feel ill at 2am and phoned in sick and didn't think anything of it but then found out that only two people were in the office.

“Everyone who has got it has been told to stay away because they don't know if it's a bug or food poisoning. There were loads of children there - luckily my children haven't been ill.

“They have told my wife they will investigate and no one is to return to work until they are told to.”

Environmental health officers from South Norfolk Council are investigating the cause of the outbreak, including the possibility that it could have come from an airborne virus, instead of being directly linked to the food served at the barbecue.

The club hopes the results of the investigation will be available later this week.

John Tilson, acting chairman of the Norwich Independent Supports' Association, said he hoped all the players would be fit by Saturday.

He said: “It's just one of those things that's totally and utterly beyond the manager's control.

“It's bad enough when players have a football injury, but something that could have picked up from a social event is even more annoying.

“It's only Wednesday, let's hope that by Saturday they will all be fit and well.”

Were you one of the people affected? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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