‘Don’t try to survive in the Premier League on the cheap’ – West Ham chief warns Canaries and Blades
PUBLISHED: 13:00 08 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:13 08 May 2019
The lazy assumptions about Norwich City’s return to the Premier League have already begun, with West Ham’s vice-chairman Karren Brady warning the Canaries not to try and survive on the cheap.
The television personality, best known as an advisor to Alan Sugar on The Apprentice, has offered her pearls of wisdom to City and fellow promoted side Sheffield United in her latest column for national newspaper The Sun.
She begins: "If I can offer promoted Norwich and Sheffield United one piece of advice — don't try to survive in the Premier League on the cheap.
"Yes, Bournemouth managed it four years ago, magnificently in the light of average attendances. But in Eddie Howe, they had a manager of remarkable ability who had no other way than to build gradually and hope for the best.
"Norwich's Daniel Farke and Chris Wilder of Sheffield United have proved outstanding in the Championship — arguably the most competitive league in the country.
"My clubs have been there a few times, nervously edging our way back up through the play-offs."
Brady previously worked as managing director at Birmingham City under owners David Sullivan and David Gold, who now own the Hammers, and has been involved in football since the early 1990s - often as a strong voice for women working in the game and in high-profile roles in business generally.
That didn't stop cheap references to City's joint majority shareholder and celebrity chef Delia Smith, saying Farke had 're-nourished' the Canaries with an influx of players and coaches from Germany, joking: "It is not true that Delia feeds the squad on bratwurst."
Before continuing: "She and co-owner husband Michael Wynn Jones became the major shareholders no less than 23 years ago and have plenty of Premier League experience.
"They know Farke needs all the support they can give and, although this amounts to much more than cash for transfers and contracts, these are of critical importance.
"Yes, Bournemouth have stayed up on a relatively small budget while Fulham spent £113million last summer after coming up and lasted a season.
"But generally, you must concentrate on trying to buy the best players you can afford — as Wolves did last season.
"West Ham have done well because we have rich Hammers supporters as owners and a 60,000 capacity stadium. That is roughly twice what Carrow Road or Bramall Lane can hold."
Brady clearly hasn't done her homework, otherwise she would have realised that City don't have much money to play with, as sporting director Stuart Webber has assured the club will probably be the lowest spenders in the Premier League next season.
Webber and Farke have managed the club's promotion success without much money and have pledged to stick with the methods, motivations and playing style which have worked in the Championship.
She may also like to do some research on the wealthy backers behind Bournemouth's 'fairytale story' which allowed them to spend a club record £25million on Jefferson Lerma last summer, the latest in a lengthy line of players bought for eight figures in recent seasons.
The first season after their promotion in 2015, the Cherries reportedly spent around £25m initially and then another £15m in January to ensure they stayed up, before the Premier League riches allowed them to start spending even more.
The south coast side also paid £4.75m to settle a Financial Fair Play dispute with the EFL following their title-winning season in 2014-15 - after making losses of over £38m and having a wage bill of more than double the club's turnover.
Concluding by saying City and the Blades are too reliant on top scorers Teemu Pukki and Billy Sharp, Brady said: "There is little chance they will be so prolific next season and the clubs' scouts will join every other side in Europe in scouring the globe for strikers capable of scoring a dozen and more a season.
"The price of one alone can blow a decent hole in £100m. And then there is the challenge keeping out Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Co.
"Welcome to the toughest league in the world."
Brady isn't the first high-profile pundit to not do her homework on City's success, and won't be the last, providing more fuel to the fire as the Canaries try to prove the football world wrong again.
- Watch the video above for Stuart Webber's initial thoughts on how the Canaries will approach the Premier League