This is a costly exercise given Norwich City are falling so short
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Late last week a text message from a friend who supports Leicester read: ’I can’t believe I pay £75 less for my season ticket than you do at Norwich.” Ah... it’s that time of year when the survey revealing just how much it costs to be a football fan is released.
Like all price comparison surveys, there are so many other factors to consider that it can be difficult to get a true reflection of the difference in cost. It’s cheaper to live up north than it is down south, wages are higher in certain areas, etcetera.
It wasn’t until Saturday evening, returning home from Carrow Road after witnessing another turgid display against Barnsley and pondering whether the loud chorus of boos at the final whistle was in any way justified, that I looked into it closer. Having watched Norwich since the age of eight, when the cost of a child’s season ticket was a ridiculously cheap £19, I’ve not paid much attention to what fans of other clubs pay as an adult.
Norwich may offer one of the cheapest single matchday tickets for young adults in the top four tiers of English football, which is encouraging, yet it was shocking to discover that the cheapest available adult season ticket at City wasn’t just the most expensive for a club in the Championship, but also more costly than 13 in the Premier League. This included three based in and around the capital – Crystal Palace, Watford and West Ham. A quick look down the list revealed that on that basis Norwich’s price of £499.50 was the eighth most expensive in the country.
This season, City have the sixth worst home record in the second tier. Only Birmingham have scored fewer goals; although they have won double the amount of games at St Andrew’s than Norwich have on their own turf.
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You have to go back to September 9 for the last time City won at home. That 1-0 victory over Birmingham was mooted as a potential kickstart to this team’s form in front of their own fans. Instead, four draws, three of which came against sides in the bottom half of the table in Burton, Hull and now Barnsley, and two defeats against better teams in Derby and Wolves followed.
Those boos that rung out on Saturday were not a knee-jerk reaction to a point against a well organised, albeit average Barnsley team. They were more likely a culmination of two months of frustrating performances at Carrow Road, vented on a cold November afternoon that was again woefully short on entertainment and excitement.
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It may seem a ridiculous reaction to some, after all this was a draw, not even a defeat, but people are paying a lot of hard-earned money to watch their side at a time when the powers that be have made it clear there just aren’t the funds available to invest in the team. At the moment, I’m not sure anybody could argue City season ticket holders are getting value for money when it comes to results or performances.
Yet football doesn’t work like that, as we all know, and on the pitch there was little evidence that this Norwich side had benefited much from a fortnight’s rest. There wasn’t a renewed vigour or sharpness that City had been crying out for after lacklustre performances against Wolves and Bolton.
All in all, Norwich looked tired on Saturday, lacking in energy and ideas. With Daniel Farke’s decision to start with a 4-1-4-1 formation not delivering the creative drive he’d hoped for, abandoning it after 45 minutes to go three at the back led to Harvey Barnes finding himself in acres of space to slot in the equaliser after just two minutes. A sleepy start to a period that Barnsley dominated and were unlucky not to take full advantage of.
Another home fixture to forget, but Bolton aside Norwich’s away form since September has proved Farke’s saving grace.
The result of tomorrow night’s clash at Nottingham Forest could go some way into identifying if it’s just City’s home record that’s an anomaly or whether there are deeper issues afoot.