Police have final say on Ipswich game

With Sunday's local derby against Ipswich now consigned to the history books, some supporters have contacted the club asking for the traditional 3 o'clock kick-off time on a Saturday to be re-instated.

With Sunday's local derby against Ipswich now consigned to the history books, some supporters have contacted the club asking for the traditional 3 o'clock kick-off time on a Saturday to be re-instated.

Apart from the slightly muted atmosphere that often accompanies matches played on a Sunday (particularly those that kick-off at antisocial times like noon), there is no doubt that some fans suffer from the very real increased difficulty of getting to Carrow Road on a day of the week that, traditionally, the rail network chooses for track maintenance.

The arguments in favour of shifting a game from its usual 3pm Saturday slot are usually straightforwardly commercial. If Sky choose a game for television, then because of the Uefa edict that says that no games can be televised live at 3pm on a Saturday in the country that they are played in, then another slot must be found midweek or on a Sunday. A payment of £60,000 is then made by the League from central funds to the home club to compensate them for the lost gate revenue that usually accompanies a Sky game.

However, the other factor that affects the scheduling of games is the police. At the beginning of each season, when the fixtures are announced, the club, in common with every club in the country, submits them to the police for them to consider from a public safety perspective.

For a number of years now, both Norfolk and Suffolk Constabularies have asked for early Sunday kick-off times for derby matches for public safety reasons. Given that the policing of these Sunday lunchtime kick-offs has been relatively successful, it is feasible that police requests for derby fixtures to be played at this unpopular time will extend into the future. Very real commercial and safety considerations aside though, there's a large part of me that remembers fondly the days when most games kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday.

This Saturday of course, I am pleased to say we do have a 3pm kick-off, against a Southampton side who have everything to play for in a very tight race for this season's Championship play-off places.

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As Peter Grant himself said in an interview with CanariesWorld earlier this week, it's a massive disappointment to everyone at the club that we ourselves are not part of that battle. No amount of flannel or spin would disguise the fact that this club should be, and is, aiming higher than our current disappointing League position.

This season has been one of transition for Norwich City, with a new management team appointed before Christmas. In addition, although it is an 'excuse' that Peter is understandably loathe to use, we have suffered at times crippling injury problems which have been a factor in the inconsistency which has dogged the current campaign.

Consistency remains the target for us and every club hoping to challenge for promotion from this intensely competitive division. We will be working hard with Peter and his team at Colney throughout the close season to do everything we can to help him realize that objective when the 2007-2008 campaign gets underway in August.

I know Peter and the players will be giving it their all this weekend and after the match they will come round to thank you for your support which has, home and away, once again been phenomenal and humbling to those of us who work here.

The term a 'lap of honour' is not, I believe, the right one in this case. It is, rather, a 'lap of recognition' from the players and management to you, the lifeblood of this Club.

On The Ball, City!