Dear Norwich City supporters,
I am writing to request your company on Wednesday evening when our Under-18s host Middlesbrough in the FA Youth Cup fifth round at Carrow Road
(7pm), in what is the first game of its type held here since the first leg of our 2013 Final against Chelsea.
The Club have had seven consecutive away draws in the competition, but we’ve been given the chance to play at home by default because Middlesbrough’s fixture schedule means they are unable to hold the game at the Riverside Stadium.
That means it will be the first time in almost three years the Under-18s will play together as a squad in front of a Carrow Road crowd, although many of them have experienced that already with the Under-21s.
The FA Youth Cup is a big part of Norwich City history after our recent success, and this match marks an opportunity for supporters to come and watch the latest group of youngsters.
Our aim is to eventually progress players into our first team, but one of the ways that is made possible is by exposing them to realistic playing environments such as these.
One of the most important parts of their individual and collective development is playing in front of a big crowd in competitive fixtures, so we’d encourage people to come and support the team to help them qualify for the quarter-final.
The impact of a home crowd is perfectly demonstrated by our Under-21s’ results; Manchester United’s only league defeat of the season so far came here towards the end of last year.
For the Football Club, games like this are always a special occasion, as shown by the incredible crowd of 23,000 we saw for our last FA Youth Cup game at Carrow Road against Chelsea in 2013.
So far this season the team have produced two highly professional performances to reach this stage, first battling hard to overcome Hull in testing conditions before a fine display at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light which really put down a marker.
The success that this group is currently having, and that they’ve had already, is down to a great number of people over the last decade.
Youth Development at a Football Club is a long-term process; people often talk about a ten-year cycle and that’s a minimum term.
Ricky Martin has been here for 15 years now and it is his hard work that has laid down all of the success for the Academy.
Colin Watts has formed a key part of the recruitment team for 25 years, and many of the players who will feature against Middlesbrough were brought into the Club by him at the age of seven and eight.
It is because of their endeavours, alongside others, that this batch of players in our Under-18s have been able to progress and we’re looking to continue that now.
Please come down to Carrow Road on Wednesday evening to see that progress in action, because your support can make a real difference.
Gregg Broughton, Academy Manager.
Tickets for the game are priced at £2 for adults and 50p for under-17s, and can be purchased ONLINE, by phone on 0844 826 1902 and from the ticket offices at Carrow Road, Castle Mall and Chapelfield.