Thomas Markham-Uden from Barclay End Norwich talks about what the group want to achieve and how the money you spend on Die Kanarienvogel t-shirts will help create a more vibrant, loud, Carrow Road.
Atmosphere. It’s association with football is intrinsic; increasingly used to promote and sell the sport, grounds that possess an atmosphere deemed to be good or better are discussed in reverential terms among fans. What constitutes a good atmosphere has become harder to define, particularly as awareness of football grounds and their associated cultures from beyond our shores has grown. However, regardless of one’s definition, most Norwich supporters would agree the atmosphere at our own ground is at best inconsistent and at worst, plain awful.
This hasn’t always been the case though, although the reasons as to why we find ourselves at a particularly low ebb are plentiful and often complicated. When the team are doing well, the atmosphere within Carrow Road will invariably be buoyant; heartened by witnessing a winning side, fans are understandably keener to lend their voices to a celebration of all things yellow and green.
However, a shift is needed away from this somewhat binary idea that the atmosphere is either good or bad depending on whether the spectacle on the pitch fits these same criteria. I do not wish to get bogged down in a chicken or egg debate on whose responsibility it is to foster a positive atmosphere on a match day, players or fans, because in my mind the answer is simple; I pay my money to watch Norwich play, I arrive at every game wanting us to win that match and I shall do my best to support them in that goal, regardless of what plays out on the hallowed turf in front of me. I encourage and get behind the team for the duration of the match and discuss the performance afterwards. I want the stands of our stadium to be a celebration of the team that plays within it, a visceral cacophony of noise and colour that projects out on to those players on the pitch just how much this club means to us. How much we want it and them to succeed.
These are the aims of Barclay End Norwich, a fan group which I had a hand in forming a couple of seasons ago. Those who have been aware of the group will know that we recently altered our title from the original ‘Barclay End Projekt’ in an attempt to achieve a degree of separation between our ongoing campaigning work around ticket prices and safe-standing and our continuing efforts to improve the match day atmosphere within Carrow Road.
Obviously within the wider context of football, issues such as the cost of attending matches and the ability of supporters to group together in a standing area are important ones we hope to see progress made on going forward. However, to say that these are the only means by which atmosphere can be improved is, frankly, a cop out. One only has to observe the improvement in atmosphere at clubs such as Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest to understand the coordination and cooperation of supporters is enough to act as a fillip for a ground’s atmosphere.
This cooperation and coordination is where Along Come Norwich and, more generally, you as supporters come in. Barclay End Norwich have a desire to turn Carrow Road in to a visually striking place to watch football, something which can complement our efforts to raise the decibel levels of our chants and songs during a game.
We are somewhat blessed in the regard that the colours of our club are already bright and eye catching. Starting in the next few weeks, backed by support from the club, we will begin the task of constructing a variety of flags and banners we can utilise to make the stands of our stadium as visually impactful as we know they have been in previous years. Whether it be permanent banners that display our love for the club, or temporary ones in celebration of particular players or key events in our history, our desire is to create both visual and vocal support.
Unfortunately, such efforts do not materialise without the input of either time or financial resources. That is why, to their immense credit, Along Come Norwich are donating part of the proceeds from their merchandise sales to our fund that can be put towards materials for these banners. It is also why going forward, we will need the support of any fan keen to share our vision to lend a hand, whether it be through donating their time to construct banners, or through helping to display them on a match day. If you would like to volunteer your services, we are on both Facebook and Twitter.
With the arrival at the club of a new regime and a coaching team who are well versed in the benefits of a vociferous and positive fan base, we have the opportunity to create and grow a new culture of support at Norwich. One that sings, “bravo”, win or die.
We are donating a large portion of proceeds from our Die Kanarienvogel t-shirts to support Barclay End Norwich. Pre-orders close at 5pm TONIGHT (Monday 3 July).