Norwich City set for biggest crowd in 18 years?
Chris Lakey Norwich City could be playing in front of their biggest crowd for 18 years when they open their Championship campaign against Watford tomorrow night. The highest attendance since Carrow Road became an all-seater stadium in 1992 - when new rules were introduced following the Taylor Report - was when 25,522 fans watched the Canaries beat Manchester United 2-0 in April, 2005.
Norwich City could be playing in front of their biggest crowd for 18 years when they open their Championship campaign against Watford tomorrow night.
The highest attendance since Carrow Road became an all-seater stadium in 1992 - when new rules were introduced following the Taylor Report - was when 25,522 fans watched the Canaries beat Manchester United 2-0 in April, 2005.
But City have added 1,000 extra seats over the summer to take the capacity from 26,018 to 27,000 - and that means the old mark could be shattered.
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With a club record 20,550 season ticket holders on the books, City have a huge head start - plus they have the momentum of last year's League One title-winning campaign behind them.
The factors that might just see City slip below the 18-year high are the usual ones: some fans are still on holiday, while the weather could determine whether the tickets that will be on sale at the turnstiles will be taken up - especially as the match is being screened live on Sky Sports 3.
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Watford have been allocated 894 tickets, but they are not expected to sell them all - Malky Mackay's team don't enjoy the traditional away support of some of the bigger-name clubs in the division, while the �31 asking price has put off some fans, with the match being granted the highest Grade A status.
The Hornets had sold 492 tickets by yesterday lunchtime, although their fans will be able to gain entry on the night.
City's average crowd last season was 24,755 - bettered only by Leeds, and even during the Championship relegation campaign it was 24,552, but on a percentage basis Carrow Road was sold out to 95pc of capacity last season - the ninth highest in England.
Canaries boss Paul Lambert has seen good numbers follow City throughout pre-season - even on the private training camp to Germany.
“We had a terrific crowd for the game against Newcastle on Saturday, a terrific amount for a friendly - they play a major part at the football club,” said Lambert, whose team were backed by more than 400 at Lincoln last Wednesday.
“It's a long, long way to travel so it's really appreciated what they give us - and a big thanks from myself for what they give us.
“The support we had last year was fantastic and I'm sure it will be the same again this time round.
“Our home gates were phenomenal, but the following we had on the road was superb too. Geography-wise Norwich isn't an easy place for people to travel to or from, but the fans go everywhere to support us and that's truly appreciated by the players.”
t Tickets are still on general sale to City fans priced from �29 for adults.