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‘Like a VIP party’: Canaries fans on being back inside Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 18:36 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:39 20 September 2020

Ian and Ollie McLean at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Ian and Ollie McLean at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Archant

The roar of fans celebrating inside Carrow Road erupted into the air around Norwich for the first time in almost seven months this afternoon.

Katie and Matt Colley at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYKatie and Matt Colley at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Not since late February have Canaries fans been able to watch their side in action, but on Saturday afternoon, with a range of safety measures in place, fans were finally welcomed back.

Basking in the late September sun, 1,000 season ticket holders watched their side fight back twice to draw 2-2 with Preston North End to begin their home campaign in the Championship.

One of the youngest of the lucky thousand was 11-year-old Ollie McLean.

He said: “The restrictions were quite good because they managed it well and there were a lot of stewards asking you to put face masks on as you walked around and it was good to know they restricted it to 1,000.

Stewards Roy Money, who has worked at Carrow Road for 49 years, and John Allan, who has worked at the club since April 1965, at the ground for the first game in front of fans since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYStewards Roy Money, who has worked at Carrow Road for 49 years, and John Allan, who has worked at the club since April 1965, at the ground for the first game in front of fans since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“Not a lot of people got to come but it was still good.

“It was definitely a good game, with two good goals, which was generally positive.”

With temperature checks, face coverings and social distancing in force, the crowd watched on from the South Stand.

Matt Colley said: “It has worked and it was just amazing to be back in the stadium with the fans.

Alan Marriage at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYAlan Marriage at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“It was strange having so few fans but it was fantastic to see a competitive game of football.

“Everything was incredibly well organised and everything was done to a tee.

“The staff were really friendly and helpful and it was good that we were able to stay outside and have a beer before.

“It was the perfect example of how it could be done and everyone behaved themselves really well and got behind the team. It was wonderful.

Norwich fan James Gotts at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYNorwich fan James Gotts at Carrow Road on September 19 for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“A lot of people, including myself, were expecting a win, but the fact that we were able to come from behind twice was great.

IN PICTURES: Fans return to Carrow Road

Not since Daniel Farke’s side beat Leicester City under the lights on Friday, February 28 have City fans seen their team in action at home.

Katie Colley said: “It was really exciting to be back for the first time.

Fans at Carrow Road on the 19th September for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURYFans at Carrow Road on the 19th September for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

“I couldn’t make the Leicester game so it has been so long for me.

“It was exciting to wake up this morning knowing it is the first home game of the season and I had the same thrill as every year.

“I was wondering all day yesterday but to come and be part of an exclusive crowd was like getting an invitation to a VIP party.”

A late Przemyslaw Placheta equaliser salvaged a point for City against a Preston side who led twice in the match.

A sight to behold - City fans back at Carrow Road.  Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdA sight to behold - City fans back at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

James Gotts said: “It was a bit strange but they seem to have done it and worked it well.

“I was one of the lucky ones, especially when up north they are in lockdown,

“It was a shame we didn’t have a few more in supporting the team, it might have pushed us on for a winner.”

Alan Marriage said: “It was brilliant, you could hear all the players shouting.

The Norwich fans celebrate their side’s 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
19/09/2020The Norwich fans celebrate their side’s 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 19/09/2020

“Social distancing worked and everyone sat two seats apart with a row in between, so it is workable.

“The standard of the game wasn’t brilliant and we have work to do but a draw was a fair result.

MATCH REPORT: City come from behind twice to draw with Preston

Ben Smith, now into his second year as a season ticket holder, said: “It has been fantastic.

Przemyslaw Placheta of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267
19/09/2020Przemyslaw Placheta of Norwich celebrates scoring his sides 2nd goal during the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 19/09/2020

“The staff were very conscientious of what we are doing and it was well managed.

“It was amazing to be back, really great.

“I’ve missed it quite a bit, but there was an eery feeling seeing how it has changed coming back.”

Roy Ebbs said: “It has been good and I am privileged to have been there. It was good to get back to football.

Norwich City fans celebrate after Teemu Pukki scores his side's first goal of the game at Carrow Road, Norwich. PHOTO: Nigel French/PA Wire.Norwich City fans celebrate after Teemu Pukki scores his side's first goal of the game at Carrow Road, Norwich. PHOTO: Nigel French/PA Wire.

“The result could’ve been much worse but a point is a point and it is a good start, especially to come back from losing.

“I have been a season ticket holder since the early 70s so this was very unusual but good to be back and hopefully it is the first of a few.”

Dale Ajeto said the 1,000 capacity cap was too low.

He said: “It was unbelievable.

“It all looked safe and there should have been another 5,000 in.

“The staff weren’t unreasonable and were very professional.

“I suppose it is the right thing to let us back in and the sooner we get everyone back the better, but we have got to be careful.”

Steward Roy Money, who has worked at Carrow Road for 49 years, said: “I don’t think it has changed our role one bit.

“We have been to all sorts of games, from under 23s to the first team, so we are used to all sizes of crowd.”


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