The long awaited email dropped into my inbox on Wednesday: ‘RENEW! 23/24 season tickets are available now!’  

To renew or not to renew was hardly a tricky question. There is no denying that the first half of the season has delivered value for money. Top quality football: skilful veterans, exciting up and coming local players, a delightfully modern venue. At £40 for the season the decision was made long before the email arrived. 

Yes, Norwich City Women have delivered an incredibly entertaining six months.  

There was a buzz going into the start of the season as this was to be the first campaign with NCWFC a fully integrated, in-house part of Norwich City Football Club.  

Prior to the move the team had been virtually self-contained, sharing a name and a badge with the men’s teams but little else. Two months after the merger, survival in the National Women’s League Division One South East was secured at The Nest, and the team were paraded around the pitch prior to the men’s final fixture against Tottenham.  

Bryony Williams beamed as she was presented with her Player of the Season trophy by Delia Smith and Michael Wyn-Jones. The upwards trajectory has since only continued. 

Matters off the pitch remained positive. The Lionesses’ victory at Euro 2022 helped place women’s football firmly in the spotlight and Lauren Hemp received a warm welcome at Carrow Road in August.  

Two weeks later NCWFC kicked off their league campaign with a 4-1 victory over Cambridge United at the Abbey in front of a stadium record crowd of 648. Those who have visited the Nest this season have been spoilt by the football on display; indeed, it took two months (and 25 goals) for Norwich to register their first league defeat of the campaign, by which time they were firmly established at the top of the table.  

The Pink Un: Norwich City Women have been enjoying an excellent season so farNorwich City Women have been enjoying an excellent season so far (Image: Nick Butcher)

Sundays spent at the Nest were a perfect antidote to Saturdays at Carrow Road. During the dismal run of form displayed by Dean Smith’s side, Shaun Howes’ Canaries were a welcome relief.  

The knowledge that the company of a Norwich team who were full of confidence and well connected with their fans awaited helped dull the pain of yet another disappointing Saturday showing. It was the football experience so many of us had been missing: catching up with your mates and genuinely enjoying your afternoon.  

The feelgood factor is helped by the presence of the next generation.  

A sizeable proportion of the crowd at any Nest matchday are below the age of 10, and they roar their heroes on to victory with gusto.  

The entrance to the pitch is crowded by children thrusting autograph books, pictures of the squad, or shirts, at the team to sign. Of course, the players are always happy to oblige and they are rewarded with giant, disbelieving grins from their fans. It’s a family atmosphere and one I relish. 

It has been a breakthrough year for women’s football and the momentum shows no signs of slowing down.  

During a recent assembly at my placement school the headteacher presented one of my students with a POTM trophy she had won at The Nest and asked how many children had watched a women’s team play over the past weekend; 75% of hands were raised.  

I could scarcely believe it at the time, and just 12 months ago it would have been unimaginable.  

Norwich City Women are at home every Sunday this February. If you haven’t checked out the team or their facility before, now is the perfect time to do so. For those who may be too young for regular Carrow Road jaunts, a trip to The Nest is a perfect outing. 

Season tickets go on general sale on Wednesday, February 1, or casual tickets are available on the door at all matches. Do yourself a favour and pop down one Sunday. You won’t be disappointed.