Will his usual sense of impeccable timing (I’m sure Stewart agrees), regular MFW ‘commenter’ Dave Bowers has popped up with a guest blog that portrays beautifully what it’s like to follow the mighty Canaries from somewhere that isn’t Carrow Road. Take it away Dave…
Over three thousand miles from Carrow Road, a small metal signpost sits beside the Charles River in Massachusetts (USA). It is not located on any tourist route and it’s unremarkable in every way, except that it is adorned with an NCFC sticker. Despite walking through that area daily I had no idea of its existence until someone tweeted a photo last summer. It appears Norwich fans are everywhere!
Last week the NCFC Facebook page reached half a million “Likes”. With around 27k fans at a home game, that leaves a lot of fans unable to attend matches.
Some fans simply can’t purchase a ticket, with season ticket waiting lists and few willing to give up their seats. Many are limited by financial resources; football is not a cheap pastime, especially for those with budding families. There are those with disabilities or impairments, limiting attendance, even with the club’s efforts to make the stadium accessible. Others have conflicting priorities, like pesky jobs.
Some, like myself, are limited by geography due to living overseas. If our time zone permits we pay for the audio stream and listen to the match. Waking up, making a cup of tea, and putting on the game, immediately switching to Radio Norfolk for Canary Call.
On the odd occasion we catch a video stream from a spurious source, assuring our wives the “advertising” surrounding the player is not something we’re interested in.
It’s not ideal, but as a fan you do what you can. Me, I live on Norfolk Avenue, fly the Canaries flag outside my house, dress my kids in Norwich clothes, and read them ‘Captain Canary goes to the World Cup’.
Others join supporters clubs at home (e.g. the popular Capital Canaries) or abroad (e.g. the UAE Canaries), subscribe to numerous podcasts, join Facebook groups, and read every tidbit they can on sites like this.
I hope as the club expands their communication plan that they consider methods of feedback from those who cannot travel to the ground. Because we’re out there and we’re passionate.
This season supporting Norwich will be a lot easier for us expats. The new iFollow player will stream nearly all home and away games for £110, or £5 a game. A fair price, considering audio-only was £50 a season. The EFL has finally entered into the mobile revolution with an iFollow app. A crashing mobile browser will no longer ruin Chris Gorham’s commentary while commuting home.
It’s a shame the service not available in the UK, I’m certain there would be broad interest and limited impact to attendance. It would enable the other 470k fans a chance to watch their team. In this age of instant access it is almost inconceivable that a sporting event is neither streamed nor shown live on TV.
In the meantime, while football continues to catch up with technology, every fan unable to sit, sing, and eat pies, will continue to support in their own way.
As for that signpost and the NCFC sticker, a year later and something truly terrible has happened. What to do with this…
Cheers to Dave. No doubt we’ll be hearing from him as the season progresses.