Expectant Canary fans have been handed the perfect excuse to toast a derby victory this weekend – with the re-launch of their very own real ale.
‘In The Hands Of Fans’ has been brewed by Attleborough-based Wolf Brewery at the behest of the Norwich City Supporters Trust and will be available at nine pubs across the city and beyond in the run-up to Sunday’s live clash with Ipswich Town.
Proceeds from the beer sales will help boost the coffers of the Supporters Trust as they continue to build their shareholding in the Championship club with the long-stated aim of giving supporters more of a voice at boardroom level.
“In the current climate where most football clubs are carrying varying levels of debt every penny raised for the Club becomes even more vital,” explained Trust secretary Mike Reynolds, as the 3.7% ABV strength ‘session’ beer returned to the pumps ahead of this weekend’s derby fun and games.
“Fans can now enjoy an excellent pint of real ale knowing that every pint drunk ultimately helps the Canaries cash flow and increases the fans shareholding in our club.”
In previous years, the city’s two former MPs – Charles Clarke and Ian Gibson – have managed to get the beer into one of the House of Commons bars.
A gauntlet was duly delivered to the city’s latest generation of MPs.
“If our two new MPs wished to take it on board as an example of both Norfolk brewing and football fans ‘stakeholder’ involvement we would be very grateful,” said Reynolds, as the Trust continued with its mission to build its communal shareholder base into a substantive voice at board level.
“In the eight or so years the Trust has been in existence, the number of Trust shareholders has increased to over 630 and the Trust has handed over more than £30,000 to the Club in return for shares and we are always looking for ways to increase this amount,” he said.
The beer will be available at the following outlets: Speakie’s, Dereham Road, Norwich; Gardener’s Arms, Norwich; Griffin Hotel, Attleborough; Plasterers Arms, Norwich; Trafford Arms, Norwich; Vine Thai, Dove Street, Norwich; Red Herring, Great Yarmouth; Hales Garden House; Wroxham Brewery Tap.
In the meantime, Canary new boy Henri Lansbury has been busily setting his sights on making an instant impact following his emergency loan switch from Arsenal this week.
Given City’s parlous injury situation of late – particularly in that midfield arena – there is every chance that the 20-year-old will be handed a role to play as Town pop their noses across the border.
Lansbury might be a former school-mate of Korey Smith, but he needed little telling as to the importance supporters both sides of the border place on this weekend’s fixture.
The fact that it could also do much to determine Roy Keane’s managerial fate merely adds another layer of spice to an already feisty brew.
It has, of course, been a while since the age-old rivals have met in Championship combat; Norwich’s brief flirtation with League One last season ensured that everyone missed out on *the* game of the season.
“It’s a big derby down here on Sunday and if the crowd gets behind the boys, I’m sure we’ll do what we can do,” Lansbury told the club’s official website.
It won’t be the first time that he has graced the Carrow Road turf, either. The Enfield-born Gunners’ starlet is an England Under-21 regular and has, therefore, played on the green, green grass of City’s home before.
“Carrow Road was a great stadium to come to with the England Under-21s,” Lambert’s latest loan signing revealed. “It’s a fantastic pitch to play on and, hopefully, once I get out there I can get the crowd going.”
Lansbury’s timely arrival should certainly pep the interest levels up that much higher. Not that there has been too much wrong with City’s performances levels of late – albeit the Canaries go into this weekend’s clash on the back of four, straight draws.
If the Arsenal youngster can add that extra ingredient that turns one point into three – particularly given who the opposition is – then Lambert’s managerial repute will have ascended to new heights.
“It’s definitely a big start,” admitted Lansbury. “But that’s what you look forward to in your career. You look to play in the big games and, hopefully, I can go and do well.”
And be the toast of the city’s pubs afterwards, no doubt.