As far back as 1868 a ‘Norwich Club’ was formed at Newmarket Road with 60 members. The game they played, a combination of Association Football and Cambridge University rules, was contested in striking violet and black jerseys and socks, white pants, with a yellow and black tasselled cap.
The modern Norwich City was the brainchild of two local schoolmasters who called a meeting at the Criterion Café on June 17 1902 to form the club, using a ground on Newmarket Road. In 1904 they were called again to a meeting at the Criterion Café where they were shocked to hear that an FA commission had declared the club professional and ejected them from the FA Amateur Cup. However, this only served to strengthen their determination. New officials were appointed and a professional club established at a meeting in the Norwich Agricultural Hall in March 1905. By the start of the 1908/9 season Norwich City had outgrown its Newmarket Road ground and acquired a disused chalk pit in Rosary Road, known as Rump’s Hole, which was converted throughout the summer. Its main feature was a towering cliff behind one of the goals topped by a row of terraced houses with a stand down one side.
The first game at The Nest, as the ground was to become known, was in September 1908, a 2-1 victory in a friendly against Fulham, watched by 3,300 people. A letter from the Football Association prompted the move to the current ground at Carrow Road.
What brought matters to a head was a letter dated May 15 1935, which questioned the suitability of the cosy confines of The Nest for large crowds. The letter followed a record crowd of 25,037 in the stadium for an FA Cup visit of Sheffield Wednesday in the February.
When immigrant weavers from The Netherlands brought with them their pet canaries when settling in the area in the late 19th century, the feathered creatures became recognised as a distinct breed, known as the Norwich canary. The club adopted the bird on its crest along with the yellow and green colours of the bird for their kit in 1906. Norwich City haven’t always been nicknamed the Canaries. From 1902, the year of their foundation, to 1907, City were nicknamed the “Citizens” or “Cits” for short.
Before adopting the yellow and green Norwich City were clad in wonderful white and light blue halved shirts with navy blue shirts, probably inspired by their amateur forerunners. Although the canary badge remained the club changed to white shirts for a very short interval period in the early Twenties. Yellow and green have varied throughout the years from halves to an amazing diagonal shoulder strip at the turn of the Nineties.
In the late sixties, with the help of their local newspaper, the Eastern Daily Express, City organised a competition among their supporters to design a new club badge with the purpose of fully protecting the emblem and to gain legal power to have control over its use. Their old badge incorporated the city’s coat of arms and was also used by a local school so it was not strictly identifiable with Norwich City.
The club received five hundred entries from Canary followers throughout East Anglia and further afield. The winning design of Tim Watson is the present club logo. Our canary is now perched on a football with Norwich’s 11th century castle in the background, the gate of which is guarded by a lion, which coincidentally also appears in the city’s arms. Norwich Castle was built by King Stephen on the site of a fortress erected by William I. In the fourteenth century the castle became a prison, and in 1894 its present role of art gallery and museum. The lion is said to have been granted by Edward III.