Friday, January 11, 2008

When Norwich City played at The Nest

On the Guardian Sportblog Scott Murray chooses his six favourite football grounds.

Buried in the comments is a reference to the most extraordinary football ground you could imagine. Norwich City played at The Nest between 1908 and 1935. The ground was situated in a disused chalk pit off Rosary Road in Norwich.

A feature in the Eastern Daily Press (from which I have borrowed the photograph) describes it as follows:

Footballers risked injury by crashing into the massive concrete wall which held up the cliff that dominated the arena and rose sheer, barely a couple of feet from the touchline. And the manner in which up to 20,000 fans regularly crammed into the precarious looking stands built into the old quarry would have had ground safety officers in a real panic had they existed in those days.

“It should never have been a football ground and I was glad to get away from the place – it was a wicked ground,” said 90-year-old former City stalwart Bernard Robinson, who played at The Nest for the first four years of his career.

“At one end of the ground it just went straight up and to stop all the earth coming down on to the pitch they had a huge cement wall. It was five or six feet from the touchline so wingers had to be careful.

“Behind the other goal were the dressing rooms and a small stand and apart from that there was just a row of houses and the gardens were 15 to 20 feet below the level of the pitch. There was a big wire netting fence to stop the ball going in there. It was very dangerous.”


Nich Starling said...

The Site had been left abandoned for some years after it had some later industrial use, but you could still see where the pitch ould have been until a few years ago.

One side of the pitch had a wall about 1 foot from the touchline for two thirds of its length.

Matthew said...

I'd like to have some more info on the Nest as I am researching the place.
Please contact me on: