Canary kids are winners as train takes strain

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries Three years ago, I was at a Capital Canaries committee meeting, when the then home travel officer, Gavin Cooper, decided that after three years of service he had done his stint and it was time to hand over duties.

Tim Allman, Capital Canaries

Three years ago, I was at a Capital Canaries committee meeting, when the then home travel officer, Gavin Cooper, decided that after three years of service he had done his stint and it was time to hand over duties. In the summer of 2006 I took on the task of negotiating our annual deal with National Express and the job became mine by default.

In the years that Gav had done the job, the price had been around �17 return and it was rumoured it would going up to near �20. As I waited on the phone for the increased fare I wondered how I could negotiate it back to a reasonable level. I'm not very good at that sort of thing and if I refused the deal there's not many other ways of getting to Norwich from London.

Then came the magic words, “We can do you do a deal for �9 for this season”. I still thought that the price was �18 and the �9 quoted was for each leg of the journey. It was only when I asked for the offer in writing did I discover that this was the return price.


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I couldn't quite believe my luck. Suddenly travelling by train was half the price from the previous season, and the lower cost meant that the number of travellers immediately doubled. We had over 40 in our group for most games as the Caps got out of their cars and on to the train.

We've had small price increases each year and it's still over a third cheaper to travel on train with the Capital Canaries than it was six years ago.

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It's been an interesting three years doing the home travel. I've met a huge number of other City fans, and found them all good company, happy to help, and even buy me a beer. There have been a few scrapes along the way. Falling asleep on an underground train at half past midnight with over �400 in my bag was not clever, but luckily my rucksack was next to me when the guard woke me up at the end of the line. We beat Cardiff 1-0 that day with Dickson Etuhu scoring.

We've travelled ticket-less on more than one occasion; having paid for tickets with them not turning up. After this happened for two games in a row, I decided to print my own in anticipation of a third ticket no-show, and when they didn't appear took great delight in showing my own “John Bull” tickets to the guard, who on the journey to Norwich accepted them without question. On the return journey a different guard commented that he had not seen these before and they looked home made. Little did he know.

It was suggested a couple of years ago that maybe another good cause, apart from our wallets, should benefit from our low-priced tickets and so the FONCY donation came into being. Last season we raised just under �300 by way of a small levy on each Capital Canary Train ticket sold, and this season we've upped that total by 50 per cent.

On Saturday at half time, Ian Russell, Capital Canaries chairman and I were on the pitch presenting a giant cheque to Ricky Martin for �450 representing all our train ticket donations for this season.

A big thanks to all the Caps that have helped to contribute.

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