Norfolk MP tells minister ‘let’s be havin’ fans back into football’

MP for North West Norfolk James Wild has urged the government to allow fans back into Carrow Road.

MP for North West Norfolk James Wild has urged the government to allow fans back into Carrow Road. Picture: Emily Smith - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk MP has urged the government to allow spectators to be allowed back inside sports venues by echoing Delia Smith’s infamous half-time rallying cry.

#LetFansIn is displayed on the LED boards at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

#LetFansIn is displayed on the LED boards at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Speaking at a parliamentary debate on the issue, James Wild told sports minister Nigel Huddleston ‘come on, let’s be having you, let fans in!”

Last month Norwich City’s joint majority shareholder, Delia Smith, wrote a letter to Boris Johnson urging a rethink.

MORE: ‘Grown-up logic tells us...’ - Delia’s letter to Boris Johnson on behalf of City fansThe MP for North West Norfolk highlighted the financial impact of matches being played behind closed doors on both Norwich City and King’s Lynn Town FC and branded the support funding being offered by the Premier League ‘derisory’.

He said: “We need to let fans back in because the current restrictions are having a major impact on clubs’ finances and threatening their futures.

“King’s Lynn Town FC depends on match day income to survive and while I welcome the funding provided to the National League, it doesn’t make up for the loss of revenue they are experiencing.


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“Norwich City’s accounts published last week showed it had lost £12m due to Covid. Yet the Premier League has only made a derisory offer of £20m for Leagues One and Two, with a further £30m of loans and no support for Championship teams.”

One thousands fans were allowed in to watch the Norwich vs Preston match at Carrow Road in September

Large events, both indoors and outdoors, could resume from May 17 with restrictions on crowd size, but it will likely come too late for Norwich City fans this season. Carrow Road hosted a pilot event during the Canaries clash with Preston in September. - Credit: Paul Chesterton

The government has refused to say when it expects spectators to be allowed back inside sports venues in England.

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The sports minister said he wanted it to happen “as soon as it is safe to do so”.

Almost 200,000 people have signed ‘Let the fans back’ petitions calling for spectators to be able to return.

MP for Norfolk North West James Wild. Picture: Julia Holland.

MP for Norfolk North West James Wild. Picture: Julia Holland. - Credit: Julia Holland

MORE: ‘Didn’t realise how much I missed it’ - Norwich City fans return to Carrow RoadMr Wild said he had been one of the 1,000 spectators allowed into Carrow Road as part of a trial when they played Preston North End in September.

He said: “Fans were asked to arrive in good time, there were temperature and ID checks, in the ground food and drink areas were closed, hawkers brought stuff to your seat, fans were socially distanced and were in the fresh air, and there were staggered exits at the end.

“There has been no evidence of transmission from pilot matches.”

Before lockdown Norwich fans were allowed back at Carrow Road to watch matches on TV screens.
Pictu

Before lockdown Norwich fans were allowed back at Carrow Road to watch matches on TV screens. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

He added: “It’s the impact on the fans, the twelfth player, that’s my major concern.

“Football is not just a game it is much more than that. Clubs are at the heart of our communities. They give people a sense of belonging, of being part of a family of fans.”

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