Carrow Road expansion proving difficult despite Norwich City’s Premier League riches

Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett. Photo: Bill Smith

Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2013

The expansion of Carrow Road has long been an issue talked about by Norwich City supporters.

However it seems the board are still no closer to being able to increase the stadium's capacity of just over 27,000 seats.

Chairman Alan Bowkett said rebuilding the City Stand for a capacity of 35,000 would cost around £30m, which would be mortgaged over 20 years and cost around £2.5m per year in payments, which should be covered by around £3m from new ticket sales each season.

Mr Bowkett said: 'You are forecasting for 20 years and you would have to achieve an average occupancy of 35,000 over the 20 years of about 94pc.

'Now the key thing for us is staying in the Premier League, what keeps us in the Premier League is investment in what I term the software, back office, football management, football players, and I cannot guarantee that we are going to be in the Premier League for the next 20 years, no one can.

'So that's the big question we have to face ourselves with and I think having just taken a huge burden away from the football club, probably the board would prefer to invest in the software rather than the hardware at the moment and that's what we are doing.'

Mr Bowkett said the other problem would be how to seat season ticket holders in the City Stand for a whole season, with the club having the highest ratio of season tickets to seats in the league.

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He added that the potential winter break for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could even help, continuing: 'Then there's the second question as to how would you do it and we cannot see taking the stand down and rebuilding it without having a full season of non-occupancy.

'So as I jokingly said to David (McNally), well maybe if we drop back down to League One again we could do it, but he said 'we still got 23,000 people turning up then', so that's the physical difficulty.'

Chief executive David McNally added: 'You're more likely to be a consistent Premier League club with average gates of 35,000 then you are with crowds of 26,800 so it's something that we would wish to do in the mid-term but we have the dilemmas of the practical solution of the accounting supporters, which seems really difficult, and of course the cash.'