AGM: City confirm land purchases around Carrow Road as part of expansion strategy

PUBLISHED: 21:17 28 November 2019 | UPDATED: 23:10 28 November 2019

Chief operating officer Ben Kensell speaks to a shareholder at Norwich City's AGM. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

Chief operating officer Ben Kensell speaks to a shareholder at Norwich City's AGM. Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

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Carrow Road expansion is back on the agenda for Norwich City after chief operating officer Ben Kensell confirmed at Thursday night's annual meeting land around the stadium had been purchased.

Kensell told shareholders a strip of land adjacent to the City Stand and another behind the Barclay have been bought as part of a long term strategy designed to help establish the Canaries as one of the top 26 clubs in the country.

"We have purchased two parcels of land outside the ground. There was an opportunity and we took it," said Kensell, with the deals struck since returning to the Premier League and as such not included in the accounts formally presented to shareholders in attendance covering the 2018/19 campaign. "Both the parcels are way under the £500,000 mark. We have a strip between the City Stand and Koblenz Avenue.

"That would allow us to erect a stand because you are not allowed to do that and hang over a piece of land you don't own. The idea then is to adopt Carrow Road, so you could have ownership of the road.

"The other piece of land is directly behind the Barclay and that allows us to stop up the whole of Carrow Road.

"It represented excellent value so we took that opportunity for the club. What that now does is allow us to pull together a true feasibility study for what we need to do over the next three to five years but we can now deliver against those plans because we have the footprint around the stadium.

"Previously we did not. What we don't want to do is deliver pipe dreams, we want to deliver achievable aims as part of the club's plan to grow.

"It is all part of a longer term master plan. It is a long term plan. As a self-funded club we need a strategy to move forward on and off the pitch."

The 2018/19 accounts presented by the club contained a loss of £33m for the year to June 30 but included healthy forecasts for 2019/20 swelled by Premier League income to a projected £16m profit.

City's commercial income rose to almost £8.5m in the last set of accounts, with a forecast of £15.9m in 2019/20. That is part of a total income forecast to rise sharply from £36.5m to £126m.

Kensell, however, was forced to defend the club's commercial strategy from a shareholder who suggested they ranked bottom of the Premier League, with a paltry £3m.

"Your information is so incorrect," said Kensell, who oversaw a club record breaking shirt sponsorship deal with Dafabet last summer. "We have 83pc growth commercially. We have 46 partners.

"What I would say is when I arrived we had five. Our shirt sponsorship is higher than Sheffield United. That is a fact. I know that because the Sheffield United sponsor came to see us and we had three lined up. I would appreciate you get your facts right before you stand up."

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