Norwich radio stand 'embarrassing'

A NORWICH City supporting Church of England official has hit out at his team for blocking Ipswich Town commentary that was being broadcast into Norfolk.

Russell Claydon

A NORWICH City supporting Church of England official has hit out at his team for blocking Ipswich Town commentary that was being broadcast into Norfolk.

The Rev Canon Graham Hedger, the chaplain to the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, has said he hopes the Canaries board will reverse their “embarrassing” decision in time for the Blues' next home match.

The Ipswich-based official, who has supported Norwich for more than 30 years, was speaking after the EADT revealed Town's rivals are preventing thousands of fans from listening to commentary from Portman Road on digital radio.

He said: “It is very, very petty. It is highly embarrassing and I do not see why Norwich are being like this.

“Over the years there have been lots of initiatives to get supporters together and this is a silly decision by my club.

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“I have written to the chief executive of Norwich to tell him so and I hope on Monday morning they will contact the Football League and withdraw their objections.”

SGR FM had been broadcasting their exclusive Portman Road coverage on a special digital link-up with its sister station Norfolk Gold until Norwich City pulled the plug on the commentary after three matches, saying it was against the agreement with the Football League to broadcast locally.

The link-up had been used because SGR cannot transmit commentary to fans in Lowestoft, Southwold, Halesworth and Beccles on their current transmission range after Ipswich's move to switch rights from BBC Radio Suffolk.

Norwich argued the broadcast, which could be picked up as far away as Cromer, was a step too far.

The Rev Cannon Hedger said: “I cannot understand why Norwich City has decided to block the SGR broadcast into Norfolk. It seems very petty to stop Tractor Boys and Girls listening to their local club. “Both clubs are community clubs, fans move between the two counties according to their work but there is little likelihood of a Town fan becoming a Canary because they live in Norfolk any more than after 22 years in Suffolk I'm going to start wearing blue and white.”

Terry Baxter, director of communications for Ipswich Town, denied the move to SGR had been about money and had alienated fans.

He said: “Most of the details are commercially sensitive but the decision was taken on the basis of an entire package rather than just a financial package.”

A Norwich City spokesman said they reiterated their previous statement - that they disagreed with Ipswich commentary being broadcast in Norfolk.

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