Canaries to celebrate losing semi-final

SUCCESS-starved Norwich City fans are plotting a bumper celebration - to mark the 50th anniversary of LOSING an FA Cup semi-final.

Josh Warwick

SUCCESS-starved Norwich City fans are plotting a bumper celebration - to mark the 50th anniversary of LOSING an FA Cup semi-final.

The Canaries, whose sparse trophy cabinet is nearly as empty as their bank account, hope to boost flagging morale among fans by staging a series of events aimed at recognising the club's heritage.

Andrew Cullen, Norwich's director of sales and marketing, has confirmed that plans for the celebration of City's failed 1958/59 cup run were in the pipeline.

The anniversary party, planned for next year, follows City's uninspiring Greatest Ever event, which honoured such footballing greats as Kevin Keelan, Iwan Roberts and Jeremy Goss.

Carrow Road bosses today hailed the event as a success - despite failing to sell nearly a third of the 5,000 tickets.

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And many of the 3,500 who did bother to turn out - and who had to endure music from former X Factor warblers Ben Mills, Rhydian and Ray Quinn - were corporate guests whose firms had agreed to meet the £25 ticket cost.

The lack of interest is in stark contrast to the overwhelming numbers who earlier this month flocked to the Cornhill to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ipswich's 1978 FA Cup triumph.

Mr Cullen admitted: “We were hoping we would get about 5,000. We wouldn't do it again as you couldn't repeat the Greatest Ever.

“But next year will be a big year as it's 50 years after the fabulous cup run in 1959.”

Mr Cullen said Sunday's event had raised funds for the cash-strapped club through catering provided on the day.

However, many fans were unhappy about the cost of food and drink, while others expressed anger over the treatment of Darren Huckerby, who was named in the Greatest Ever City side but has recently been released.

Sabrina Bartram, from Suncroft in Norwich, said: “On the whole it was an enjoyable day, but I think £25 each was a lot of money and it could have been £15 for adults.

“Also paying £11 for two hot dogs and two bottles of Coke made it a very expensive day out.

“I felt that Huckerby's tribute was an insult to a player of his strength and ability.

“It felt like after five years of playing for a club he loves and in front of fans who love him, he was more or less given an award as an after- thought and to shut the fans up.”

Fortunately for Ipswich fans, Portman Road bosses have taken a more modest approach to marking success.

Had they not, supporters might be a little out of pocket celebrating an FA Cup win, a UEFA Cup win, a league championship, a Texaco Cup, an FA Cup semi-final, two league cup semi-finals, two top flight runners-up spots…