Norwich City are in a financial mess, that much is clear to anybody with half a brain and only the smallest grasp of financial matters.
I’ve just read an article written by Mick Dennis on My Football Writer.com
Good old Mick has provided a break down of the financial losses that the club has suffered as a result of relegation from the Premier League and he kindly points out to us that ‘the club took a punt’ on staying up.
As a shareholder, I recently received the club’s annual report along with an invite to the AGM on Wednesday night. I took the time to read through the club’s financial position and it’s pretty obvious that we are in a bit of a fix, financially speaking.
Mick suggests that there is no queue of people forming an orderly line to throw money at the owners to take the club off their hands. He neglects to add that even if there were, they wouldn’t sell.
Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones told The Times’ Henry Winter, this time last year, that they would ‘never sell their majority shareholding’ in what for many Norwich fans, was quite a shocking interview
Dennis points out quite clearly where the money has gone and makes it clear also that Delia and Michael haven’t been ‘salting it away in some secret off-shore fund. It`s gone to the players.’
I never thought they had been salting it away and I never thought it had gone anywhere other than the playing staff but that isn’t what annoys me about all this.
The bottom line here is that a huge amount of money has been wasted over a long period of time, along with lots of poor decisions being taken along the way.
The club was almost at financial death’s door in the October of our season in League One. Tough decisions were made then and the club’s debt was restructured before promotion was gained.
Having then presided over a double promotion we were finally in the Premier League again, the land of milk and honey. What then followed were three seasons in the top flight, the first of which saw us stay in the league comfortably, the second just about and the third saw us relegated.
Under Paul Lambert we had signed hungry young players with a point to prove. Under Chris Hughton we spent big and this was where it all went wrong initially.
The ‘big money’ signings of Leroy Fer and Ricky van Wolfswinkel, particularly RvW, were abject failures. Yes, we sold Fer for a profit but basically, we rolled the dice on expensive lads and blew it.
Gary Hooper came and went and his hit and miss career at Hillsborough suggests that his Celtic scoring days are long gone. That relegation under Hughton was avoidable but happened because of employing the wrong people in the recruitment team and choosing the wrong players.
Johan Elmander anyone?
Relegation beckoned and we fell through the trapdoor, only to be thrown a lifeline by Alex Neil. Signed out of nowhere by David McNally and able to galvanise an expensively assembled squad and turn them from also rans into that Wembley triumph – still my best day out in football.
Neil then did his training on the job, as he attempted to keep the club in the Premier League. He admitted at the end of that relegation season that he was sometimes tactically out of his depth (not quite that bluntly, of course) and another avoidable relegation befell us.
Dennis’ article is short and has bullet points about the lack of funds and I suspect it is timed to help to extinguish any fire in the bellies of angry shareholders on Wednesday night.
I struggle to see past the fact that before the arrival of Stuart Webber, the board contained and employed very little football knowledge. I’m not saying I do, because I don’t work in football, I’m just a fan who watches a lot of football and knows when it’s good and when it’s not.
At the moment, it clearly is not good.
Yes, there’s no money and our board have tried something different in an effort to regain Premier League status (I assume). I applaud the idea and I like the style of football Daniel Farke plays – at the moment though, it’s just not very good. Maybe it will come good in the coming months but we’ve come to the decision to employ ‘football people’ too late in the day, when the money has gone, so Farke will have to do it the hard way.
Only the board can be blamed for the decisions taken that have brought us to this point, no-one else.
There is of course an emotional factor in all of this that most other multi-million pound businesses don’t have. As fans, all we want is success and to win football matches. We don’t really care who is playing or how much they earn – except when they aren’t performing on the pitch and then their salary is used as a millstone around their necks, not that I expect those individuals care.
Kyle Lafferty, Youssouf Mulumbu, Matt Jarvis, Steven Naismith, Lewis Grabban, Johan Elmander, RvW.
They all cost us hugely in either transfer fees, salaries or both and some of them still are. They have contributed very little and that is the fault of the ‘recruitment team’ and they were all employed by the board, David McNally etc.
Mick Dennis’ article has an undertone of ‘poor Norwich, the board tried their best.’
If that’s their best, well.
The future will never be bright as long as Michael and Delia are in control of the club. We will be eternally grateful for the way they saved the club from the financial abyss in the mid-90’s and although they are wealthy compared to you and I, they are not wealthy in football terms.
Their apparently already taken decision to hand the club over to nephew Tom, when they tire of the daily grind, worries and appals plenty of fans in equal measure.
It doesn’t look like anything will change in the near future and we have to hope that a new structure and playing style and ideas can return us to the Premier League, because what Mick is basically saying is, that without that, the future is very bleak indeed because the cupboard is bare.