How Do I Get There?
Come on everybody, we’re going to Norwich! The Rump of Britain, The Plump Peninsula, Albion’s Hind Quarters or, quite simply, The Wales of the East. Set that alarm clock for 4am and let’s get hyped in for some juicy, juicy Championship goodness which, for some reason, is being played at 1.30pm on a Sunday and not televised.
Driving? I feel for you, mate. Norwich, and East Anglia in general, is what we call in the trade as a “ballache to get to”. It all goes swimmingly as you blissfully cruise down the A1 past Nottingham and then join the A17 at Newark-on-Trent but strap in for an eternity of winding roads passing places you have never, ever heard of.
Crank up North Norfolk Digital as you skirt around King’s Lynn, join the A47 and follow the signs for Norwich. Carrow Road is well signposted as you turn off onto the A146 heading into the city, follow the A147 and the ground will appear en route. The pedestrianisation of the city centre is something I have been dead against but there is car parking available at Norfolk County Hall for £7.
For you Elite Big Dawgs who are braving the 5-hour train journey from the North East via Shattered Dreams Parkway, Norwich Railway Station is perfectly situated. It is just a 15-minute walk from the ground with plenty of pubs along the way.
A Love Supreme coaches are available from the Stadium of Light, departing at 5.30am with fares costing £40. Book a place here.
Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?
It’s a long old trip down to East Anglia and nothing will delight those parched lips then a great big shot of Director’s Bitter or perhaps a Ladyboy (c’mon keep up at the back there)? You’re in luck as Norwich is well stocked with alehouses to keep you thoroughly lubricated on a Sunday lunchtime.
Close to the station there is the usual Wetherspoons outlet of The Queen of Iceni but be warned as this place can be very hit and miss when it comes to letting in away fans. Alternatively, you can enjoy a cheapish pint at The Compleat Angler while if you really want to live a local radio DJ you can pop in The Nelson underneath the Premier Inn.
If you have a little time on your hands post-match then stop by the frankly wonderful Ribs of Beef on Wensum Street. Here you can kick back with a few jars contemplating a comfortable Sunderland victory on its delightful river terrace. Another top boozer is The Belgian Monk on Pottergate which has those uber strong Belgian beers and hearty grub you crave.
I’m Staying Owa, Is There Owt To Do?
Do you like owls? Because I know a cracking owl sanctuary and it’s only a short jaunt away from Norwich. Fritton Owl Sanctuary is hidden away behind Fritton Plant Centre en route to Great Yarmouth and, boy howdy, have they got some cool owls. The whole gang is here - European Eagle, Boobook, Barn, Snowy, African Spotted and, of course, the big dawg that is the Tawny.
Admission is free but donations are welcome to help maintain this wonderful rehabilitation centre. Spend perhaps Saturday afternoon admiring the AstroTurf they place on the wood, it’s basically zero-maintenance grass, useful stuff. I guarantee you’ll have a hoot.
If an afternoon of ornithological wonderment is not your cup of tea then you can head to the Waterfront on Saturday night and have the lead singer of Meltdown scream in your face for £4. Two-tone legends The Beat are also playing Reepham Festival on the Saturday providing some proper tunes to get you buzzed for the match.
Alternatively, really get the party started by having a tour of St George’s Distillery in Roundham where you can sample some fine English whisky.
What Is The Ground Like?
The day Pukka Pies won a contract to cater at Carrow Road, a small part of me died. My visit in 2014 was complimented with an absolutely delectable peppered steak pie. It was magical. It improved with every bite.
I imagined Delia Smith lovingly preparing it in her mansion in the leafy East Anglia countryside. She smiles as she applies that thin layer of egg wash and watches the beauties rising in the oven. The golden crust is the right level of flaky and the chunks of succulent steak warm the soul of this weary traveller as his side were dismantled by the Canaries.
Picture my disgust and shock when I rocked up on an April afternoon just two years later to be confronted with the prospect of a seriously inferior Chicken Balti pie. You let me down Delia, you broke my heart and for that I hope we absolutely batter your jobber team.
I’m letting my emotions get the better of me here.
What? The ground? Oh right, yeh. Carrow Road is pretty nice and we’re housed at one end of the South Stand. We’ve only taken an allocation of 800 so fair play to absolute hardcore Lads’ fans going.