Ahead of the regular football season kicking off in late August, there is the usual schedule of the varying pre-season fixtures. Last year didn’t go so well, it’s far to say; a 13-0 victory away to an eventually correctly labelled ‘Regional Select’ in Italy, after the club had named the opposition wrong. The tour of Italy was an unmitigated disaster; cancellations galore and the tour soon became a farce. City had their first game rescheduled and replaced with the Regional Select, then the Wednesday game against Livorno was cancelled and the travelling fans had to make do with an open training session, before a 1-1 draw with Claude Makelele’s SC Bastia.
However, there shall be no such debacles this time around as the Canaries prepare for life back in the Premier League. Headline fixtures against West Ham, Brentford and the usual opener against Gorleston are all included for supporters to get their summer fix of football. The home tie against the Hammers is the most notable, coinciding with the 80th anniversary of Carrow Road in which the first ever game played there was between the two top-flight sides. Whilst this is likely to prove a staunch test, it’s certainly not going to give an indication of the forthcoming season. The London side still haven’t appointed a new manager since parting ways with Sam Allardyce at the season’s conclusion, with Slaven Bilic reportedly close to a deal. In my opinion, I would have preferred not to play a side in the same division for pre-season; however, I appreciate the anniversary and understand completely where the club is coming from and hopefully the occasion will be marked as such.
Brentford will likely to be a stern test, yet depends on how they also deal with the transitional period between managers. Having performed so well last year – especially during their victory at Carrow Road – but falling in the play-off semi-finals against Middlesbrough, they will be keen to test themselves against Norwich again.
Also filling the fixture list is a game against Hitchin Town which will mark the 150th anniversary of Hitchin’s founding, who are coincidentally also nicknamed the Canaries due to the similarity in the yellow and green kits. After that, Alex Neil’s men will travel to Abbey Stadium to face off with Cambridge United, who fielded ex-Canary Cameron McGeehan during their headline-grabbing FA Cup tie against giants Manchester United earlier in the year. Then, there’s a “Norwich City XI” – likely to be made up of youth and reserve team players – taking on Lincoln City, which is sandwiched between the home games against West Ham and Brentford.
Tickets for the two home matches are on sale now and shall be priced at £10 for adults and senior citizens, with the price being halved to £5 for under 17s.
Gorleston (A), Saturday 11th July, 3pm; Hitchin Town (A), Tuesday 14th July, 7.45pm; Cambridge United (A), Friday 17th July, 7.30pm; West Ham (H), Tuesday 28th July, 7.45pm; Norwich City XI v Lincoln City (A), Wednesday 29th July, 7:45pm; Brentford (H), Saturday 1st August, 3pm.