Norwich City FC have put plans to expand the capacity of Carrow Road on hold to ensure they can secure sustained Premier League football.
The club commissioned a study from the University of East Anglia to determine the viability of expanding their current surroundings and the academics concluded that the addition of 7,000 seats would represent a suitable option, but only if the team could maintain their status as a top flight club. However, Norwich chief executive David McNally said that should this expansion take place it would cost £20 million to deliver and that strengthening the first team squad would always take priority over any form of stadium improvement.
Carrow Road currently has a capacity of 27,220 and Norwich regularly achieve near capacity attendances and an expansion would seem a natural progression. However, Mr McNally believes that this would only be viable if the club maintained their Premier League status for many years.
Competing at the top level would mean that the supporters would not be deterred from attending matches and would avoid falling foul of the same fate of the likes of Coventry City, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Darlington, which all either moved to a new ground or expanded their stadium and then were subsequently relegated.
Mr McNally said: "Once we have become an established Premier League side then we may consider it viable to invest in the development of Carrow Road. In the meantime, we will look at a number of alternative schemes in order to ensure that we are properly prepared for expansion as and when it happens."
On the pitch, Norwich have had a decidedly poor start to their second Premier League season since promotion under the stewardship of new manager Chris Hughton. The Canaries are currently languishing in 18th place and are still searching for the first win of the campaign. The team goes into the weekend (October 6th) game away at top of the table Chelsea on the back of a 5-2 home defeat to Liverpool.
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