Canary ticket prices revealed

IAN CLARKE Norwich City fans will have to pay 2.7pc more for their Carrow Road season tickets next term.After two previous years of inflation-busting increases, club officials have pegged hikes to the average rise in the cost of living.


Norwich City fans will have to pay 2.7pc more for their Carrow Road season tickets next term.

After two previous years of inflation-busting increases, club officials have pegged hikes to the average rise in the cost of living.

The 20,200 strong army of season ticket holders makes the Canaries the best supported team outside the Premiership. City also have average gates higher than four top flight sides - Fulham, Blackburn, Portsmouth and Wigan.

The Carrow Road top brass remain hopeful that the amazing loyalty of fans will continue even if Nigel Worthington's men miss out on promotion.

But in the context of a generally disappointing campaign and with the future of stars such as Dean Ashton and Robert Green still uncertain, they took the sensible - and only realistic - step of not over-stretching the patience of the most regular fans.

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A working group comprising staff and fans spent three months looking at the pricing policy for the 2006-7 season - and discussed options of between zero and 10 pc rises before deciding on the 2.7 pc level.

The club also realises that the second year after relegation from the top flight is often the hardest time to ensure fans renew tickets.

They want to avoid the situation of a club like Leeds which lost 6000 regular fans in the second year back in English occer's second tier.

As always, there is a sliding scale of increases for supporters who wait longer to renew their seats.

A standard adult Barclay Stand season ticket will go up by £9 to £344 if fans renew before the first deadline of March 4. That would rise to £462 if the final deadline was reached and promotion was achieved.

By the first deadline date last season - when Premiership survival looked distinctly unlikely - almost 16,000 supporters had renewed.

Full details of ticket prices and renewal forms will be sent out this morning and start landing on doorsteps tomorrow as fans prepare for the important home clash against high-flying Watford.

One irony is that last year's renewal forms were sent out on the day Ashton made his home debut - and packs will arrive this year as supporters ponder whether they will see the frontman in a yellow and green shirt again.

The first deadline for renewals will be on the day Norwich entertain Stoke. At that stage City will have 10 games to go and it will be known which players have come and gone after the transfer window - and much clearer about how realistic promotion is.

Norwich's director of sales and marketing Andrew Cullen said: “Given the circumstances of this season it was right to increase in line with inflation.”

He said securing season ticket sales gave more certainty to the club in planning for the future.

“This level of commitment shown by our supporters continues to not only amaze colleagues at other clubs but provides the bedrock for successful partnerships with business and the community.

“We are grateful for such outstanding support but that loyalty is something which we will not take for granted.”

Four City fans were involved in the working party to work out prices.

Among them was City Stand season ticket holder Trevor Cockburn, who described the rises as “appropriate.”

“The club has recognised it has raised prices beyond the rate of inflation in the last two-three years and has got it about right this year.”

Under the average rises for the 2006/7 season, the equivalent price per game for the standard Barclay ticket for a match in the Championship would be £14.95 and in the Premiership would be £18.10.

Season ticket holders have until May 20 to ensure their seats for next term and then the 1327 on the waiting list - plus up to 673 more who will be able to join the list - will have their chance to buy a ticket.

One new incentive to fans is the chance to get a two pc reduction in their ticket price if they open a Canary account with the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. At the moment only N and P Stand can get such an incentive and they will continue to get a five pc reduction.

At tomorrow's match, the N and P will give the club a cheque for £288,00 from the Canary Account.

Other features of the new ticket prices are:

t Casual tickets will go up from £24-£25 for grade A games, be frozen at £21 for B games and rise from £16-£17 for Saver matches;

t The interest free payment scheme - allowing fans to pay over nine months - will continue. This season 8800 fans paid this way;

t Membership subscriptions are frozen. There are currently 12,430 members;

t There will be increased rebates for season tickets under the buy back scheme. They will rise to £10 for A games and £7 for B games;

t 150 seats in the Wensum Corner will be available for casual seats for under 12s - with under sevens getting in free. It is part of an effort to ensure the next generation of fans can see games.