Not every head-to-head tale we have to tell is a long one. Here we have just one example. So, let’s be havin’ you Norwich City; Jeremy Goss, Mark Robins, Bryan Gunn et al. With the Canaries, you’re more likely to think about them beating Bayern Munich in 1993 than us. To be fair, though, it’s with good reason; Norwich City the first English team to overcome Bayern at the Olympic Stadium. Up there, close to the top corner of East Anglia, you’ll come across one of the nation’s favourite yo-yo clubs. They’ve been promoted up to the Premier League many times in the last not-so-many years.
And each times they’ve come back down (just not necessarily straight away). It’s been an eventful ride; the sort of rush you could expect at an Australian casino. They even managed to fit in a season in League One in that time too! Apart from that, you’ll know ’em from their more recent ding-donging between the Premier League and Championship. So, where do we come in? Well, it wasn’t until 2018 that they met us for the first time; the Norfolk side coming out on top in our League Cup First Round encounter at Carrow Road.
Formed in 1902, the Canaries are now carrying a lot of history underneath their wings. It all started with a meeting at a local cafe. There doesn’t seem to be much more to the tale than that. No dramatic split, feud or rivalry involved. As for the nickname, the explanation isn’t so much the yellow shirts we know today. Instead, the origin is said to be the pastime of canary rearing – with the national press picking up that ball and running with it in 1907.
After joining the Southern League in 1905, the club got a Football League place in 1920 with the formation of a new Division Three. And for much of the next 40 years, you’d find them in the basement division (more often than not). This changed in 1958 when the Canaries were placed in Division Three when the structure was spruced up. As they came eighth at the end of the 1957-8 season, Division Four was easily avoided.
As we don’t have the time to deep dive into the granular detail of the Canaries’ story, we are gonna draw a rough line in the sand there. And we’re going to claim that, after 1958, things started to get better at Carrow Road. They spent the entire 1960s in Division Two; reaching the top flight for the first time in 1972. There was a bit of up and down as you’d expect with them. But, from 1975, they were a top flight side for all but two seasons.
Why do we know Norwich City?
Boro’ came to life at about the time the Canaries were getting themselves comfortable in the old Division One. So, quite a gap for us to close down – right? As we’ve only reached as far as the third tier, that’s still a work in progress. And, certainly for our early years, we were light years apart; Norwich taking on – and defeating – the might of Bayern Munich in the 1993-4 UEFA Cup as we were still graduating from the Diadora League.
Even when the Canaries did drop into the third tier themselves, we were still two seasons behind; Boro’ finally making it out of the Conference as they returned to the second tier in style. To stop us getting any notions of catching them, Norwich made it two promotions in a row in 2011 (like us) to wind up back in the Premier League. With their determination to steer well clear of us, it was inevitable that it’d take a cup tie for us to eventually meet.
How to get to Norwich City – Travel Information – Distance: 94 miles
Norwich won’t be the most draining of road trips, but there is a touch of cross-country about it. From Stevenage, head north on the A1(M) as far as Junction 9; here, you want to take the A505 eastbound towards Royston. In fact, you’ll be on the A505 until you’re into Cambridgeshire – and, then, you will be joining the A11.
After about nine miles, continue onto the A14 for about six-and-a-half miles. Take the exit to bear left back onto the A11 and continue north east for Thetford and Norwich. You’ll remain on the A11 until you near Norwich itself, joining the eastbound A47 (Great Yarmouth etc.) at the Thickthorn Park and Ride.
Use the left lane in four-and-a-half miles to merge onto the A146. Turn left at the top of the slip road. Just after the railway bridge, turn right onto Martineau Lane. At the roundabout that follows, you want the second exit. Soon after, it’s a right turn into King Street and another right into Carrow Road to cross the river. The stadium is up here on the right.
You might well find that Norfolk County Hall is the best bet for parking, signposted on the left of the A146. You can reach it by taking the FIRST exit at the roundabout, rather than the second. From here, it’s a short walk to the stadium.
Services to: CAMBRIDGE
It’s not as tough to get to Norwich on the train as we first thought, if you don’t mind a change and sitting down for two-and-a-quarter hours? With an option to go to Cambridge and switch to a Norwich service, it’s almost even convenient.
The station, too, in Norwich is convenient for the football. Leave out the front and turn left, which takes you south west down Station Approach. You will then have to cross straight over the A147 and head down the road that goes through the Riverside leisure complex.
Keep heading straight and onto Wherry Road. The ground is soon on your left.
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