‘What more can we do?’ - Delia Smith criticises government over failure to allow fans to return to Carrow Road

Delia Smith speaks at the Top of the Terrace at the Norwich City Football Club stadium to invite din

Delia Smith speaks at the Top of the Terrace at the Norwich City Football Club stadium to invite diners back to Carrow Road. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Norwich City’s joint majority shareholder Delia Smith has criticised the government over its refusal to allow fans back at Carrow Road - despite the overwhelming success of a pilot event at the stadium last month.

A thousands social distanced fans at Carrow Road as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: Pa

A thousands social distanced fans at Carrow Road as Norwich City play Preston North End. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

In September, 1,000 Norwich City fans were able to watch the club draw 2-2 with Preston North End in the Championship - the first time supporters had been allowed on the terraces since March.

But as the government introduced its latest raft of restrictions, the rug was pulled from underneath the club and pilot events in stadia - now matter what the scale - were postponed until further notice.

Speaking at an event to launch a raft of safety measures for her catering business at the ground though, Ms Smith spoke of her frustration at the decision not to allow at least some supporters into the ground on match days.

She said: “We had 1,000 people in the stadium for the Preston game and have shown the government how we can do it and demonstrated how safely it can be done.


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“What else can we do the convince the government that we can do it?”

It has been a frustrating period for the club in recent months, with tireless work going on behind the scenes to try and find a way to allow fans back into the grounds.

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Initially it had been hoped that between 6,000 and 8,000 fans would be allowed in for the first four home games of the season, with the club working alongside local authorities to produce a meticulous safety plan and a ballot system to fairly distribute tickets between season ticket holders and other supporters.

But this hard work went without reward when the department for digital, media, culture and sport failed to give it approval - though the club has said this work will not go to waste as it will put it in good stead once the go ahead is given.

Ms Smith added: “So many other countries around Europe are allowing supporters in the grounds - what more can we do?”

Meanwhile, the club stalwart revealed that catering facilities at the club will this year open for dinners on Christmas Day for the first time in its 21-year history.

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