1. Newmarket Road
An early game at Newmarket
|First match (competitive):
Norwich City 1 Ipswich Town 0 (crowd 1,700)
November 15, 1902.
Final match (competitive): Norwich City 3
Swindon Town 1 (crowd 4,000) April 25, 1908.
Record crowd: 10,366 (v Sheffield Wednesday,
FA Cup second round, January 11, 1908).
Norwich Citys first home at Newmarket Road is
still staging sporting events nearly 95 years after
being vacated by the Canaries.
These days the venue is used by youngsters at the nearby
Town Close House School and, depending on the season,
there will generally be a game going on, whether it
be cricket, football, rugby or hockey.
When City were formed, 100 years ago, the ground was
already being used to stage high profile football matches.
It was leased from the Town Close Estates by the Norfolk
Football Association and used to stage county finals
and other big games, but there was plenty of scope to
accommodate the new Norwich club and they duly
moved in after a rent of £25 per annum had been
About 2000 supporters lined the ropes for Citys
first ever home game, a friendly against Harwich and
Parkeston on Saturday, September 6, 1902, which ended
in a 1-1 draw.
Their first competitive home match, a 1-0 victory over
Ipswich Town in the Norfolk and Suffolk League, followed
a little over two months later.
Crowds at Newmarket Road tended to vary between 2000
and 5000 during Citys three seasons in the local
league but the switch to the Southern League at the
start of the 1905-6 campaign saw interest in increase
still further and 7000 packed into the compact little
ground to see the Citizens, as they were known then,
draw 1-1 with Southampton in their first home game at
a higher level.
Citys finest hour at their first ground was to
follow two-and-a-half years later when, with the help
of some temporary accommodation, 10,366 people were
able to watch Norwich beat holders Sheffield Wednesday
in the first round of the FA Cup.
Tickets that day cost between one and four shillings
(five and 20 pence) and it certainly was money
By then the writing was on the wall for Newmarket Road.
The Town Close Estate Charity had written to City outlining
the terms of any future lease and with restrictions
likely to be put on the clubs use of the ground
chairman John Pyke decided it was time to move on.
He said agreeing to the terms would be like renting
a shop, stocking it and preparing for business and someone
else having the run of the place for five and a half
days a week and quickly identified a new site
for Norwich City to play their matches a disused
chalk pit off Rosary Road.
It was certainly a less obvious footballing venue than
the wide open spaces of Newmarket Road but less
than five months after playing their final fixture at
their old home City were kicking off a new era at the
Nest, where they were to remain for the next 27 years.