Fans gearing up for release of fixtures
CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City fans can soon begin working out their travel plans for the new season with the long-awaited release of fixtures just days away. The Football League will release the fixture lists on Thursday, at 10am - 24 hours after the draw for the first round of the Carling Cup is revealed.
Norwich City fans can soon begin working out their travel plans for the new season with the long-awaited release of fixtures just days away.
The Football League will release the fixture lists on Thursday, at 10am - 24 hours after the draw for the first round of the Carling Cup is revealed.
City's loyal army of supporters have farther to travel than most in the Championship - which this season begins a week later, on August 11 - with a little over 7,800 miles in round trips if they complete the full set of away games - that's an average of almost 340 miles each time they leave Carrow Road to watch their heroes.
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While they have no choice as far as the league fixtures are concerned, fans will be hoping for better luck when the Carling Cup draw is made.
Last season City were drawn away to Torquay in the first round, with their reward for a 2-0 win coming in the shape of a journey to Rotherham. Success at Millmoor put them in the hat for the third round - producing an inevitable away trip, this time to Port Vale. City, by then in the care of Peter Grant, were beaten on penalties, but the poor run of luck in the Carling Cup draws added another 1,346 miles to the meter.
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City's fortunes didn't change when it came to the FA Cup, with boxer Amir Khan pulling their name out of the third-round hat shortly after Ricky Hatton had extracted that of non-league Tamworth. Then it was Blackpool, who were beaten after a replay, before City succumbed at London giants Chelsea - 1138 miles of travelling later.
Last season's Championship campaign started and finished with away matches in Yorkshire - at Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday respectively - but the journeys were nothing in comparison to the trip to Plymouth, which, at 680 miles there and back was by far the longest of the campaign.
Away match travel totalled 7814 miles last season, and the loss of promoted trio Sunderland, Birmingham and Derby plus bottom three Leeds, Luton and Southend - to be replaced by Watford, Charlton, Sheffield United, Scunthorpe, Bristol City and Blackpool - will make very little difference to the journies.
t Carling Cup first round matches will be played in the week commencing August 13, with second round ties a fortnight later. The third round begins in the week starting September 24, with the fourth round kicking off in the week of October 29. Quarter-finals are scheduled for the week beginning December 3, with the semis in the week of January 7 and 21.
The final is at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, February 24.