City board answers the fans' questions

PUBLISHED: 09:43 06 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:03 14 September 2010

Following the recent annual general meeting the Norwich City board, comprising chairman Roger Munby, vice-chairman Barry Skipper, joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, Michael Foulger and chief executive Neil Doncaster, agreed to answer the fans' questions.

Following the recent annual general meeting the Norwich City board, comprising chairman Roger Munby, vice-chairman Barry Skipper, joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, Michael Foulger and chief executive Neil Doncaster, agreed to answer the fans' questions. Here are their responses.

Q: Peter Grant has hinted that a major reshuffle is needed. But can this be done when we have 13 players out of contract in the summer, none of whom will raise significant transfer fees?

A: As has been previously explained, the club has options on the contracts of nine of the 13 players referred to. Of the remaining four, Craig Fleming has already left to join Rotherham United and only Paul McVeigh, Peter Thorne and Dion Dublin of the current squad would be free to walk away at the end of the current season. Any decision regarding the future of the other nine players rests with the manager Peter Grant.

As far as a major reshuffle is concerned, the January transfer window saw 10 transfer deals involving this club concluded - with five players coming in and five moving on, on a temporary or permanent basis. The board will continue to do everything it can to support Peter's plans for the squad regarding possible loan acquisitions during the remainder of this season and any further transfer activity in the summer of 2007.

Q: Attendances at Carrow Road are among the highest in the division and rarely fall below 24,000, whatever the opposition, and we had top-flight status just two years ago. Why is it so difficult to get players to come here or clubs to agree to loan deals?

A: We are indeed privileged to enjoy such loyal support as we have said. However it is certainly debatable whether attendances or the fact we were in the Premiership in 2005 are necessarily major factors in persuading new players to join us.

Other integral factors include the financial packages we are able to put together for the players concerned, our geographic location, the quality of our training facilities where the players concerned will spend the majority of their working time while here, the standard of living in Norfolk compared to other areas, the ambition of the club and the manager, the calibre of other players already on the books and so forth. The fact that deals for five new players were concluded in January provides encouraging evidence that Norwich is still a very attractive proposition to many players.

Q: Arsenal were happy to loan us David Bentley at the start of the Premiership season. Despite our supposed special relationship with Arsenal and specifically Pat Rice, we were unable to borrow any of their youth players this time around, while they were happy to loan three to Birmingham, one to Derby and one at Barnsley - all in our division. Why?

A: It is important to remember there is an increasingly significant financial element to many loan deals, particularly involving Premiership clubs. Peter Grant has alluded to several proposed loan deals discussed during the last transfer window which he decided not to pursue as he felt the loan fees and wage payments suggested did not represent good value for this club.

However, Peter has also alluded to the fact that many Premiership clubs prefer not to loan out members of their squad until the January transfer window is shut. Now that the transfer window has closed there may be scope to re-enter negotiations regarding possible loan deals involving Premiership players as the loan window opens on Thursday.

Q: Peter Grant has already loaned out several of our younger players since arriving at the club and his approach seems to be in stark contrast to that of his predecessor. What are the benefits of this?

A: The main benefit is to give the young players concerned the opportunity to gain experience of playing first team football in a more competitive environment than that offered by playing reserve team football only. Most other clubs adopt the same policy. It also allows Peter to see them playing competitive football, so he can make better informed decisions about their futures.

Q: The club once had a Five Year Plan? What now is its long-term strategy for the club?

A: The club's long-term strategy is to do everything possible to try to regain Premiership status and, if possible, retain it. Part of this strategy is to strive for the best possible approach to business off the pitch to maximise the amount of money available for the manager to spend on the squad.

Q: What will be the financial constraints on the club at the start of next season when we will no longer have the parachute payments?

A: They will be significant and challenging. The parachute payments of last year and this year ensured we received a total of approximately £8m in each year in central payments. Next season the figure will be closer to £1m and we must budget responsibly as a result. This highlights how important maintaining and developing off-the-pitch revenue is to the club moving forward.

Q: Fans were assured in the summer by board members there would be signings. Why did that not happen?

A: The board fully supported the manager's proposals regarding transfers during the summer. Lee Croft was signed for a fee in the region of £600,000 and an initial transfer fee of £1.5m rising to £2m for David Cotterill of Bristol City was approved by the board. However, despite agreeing the fee with Bristol City and personal terms with the player and his representatives, Cotterill decided on transfer deadline day to move to Premiership Wigan Athletic instead.

Ultimately the manager identifies players he would like to bring to the club, the board takes on board those recommendations and, if approved, sanctions the necessary expenditure. The board did everything it could to support the manager's transfer policy in the summer of 2006.

Q: With season tickets soon up for renewal, prices up 3.6 per cent and performances on the pitch abject, why should the board expect fans to sign up for next season?

A: Firstly, it is important to stress again that the board would never presume to “expect” our wonderfully loyal season ticket holders to renew for

next season. We very much hope that they will continue their fantastic support for the club and, through coming back to Carrow Road next year, continue to get behind Peter Grant and the team as we all work to move this club forward again.

The price of a Norwich City season ticket compares very favourably to those at most of our Championship rivals and underlines once again our commitment to affordable family football at Carrow Road.

Q: How much will the loss of parachute payments affect our ability to sign players in the summer and next season?

A: As has already been stated, the loss of parachute payments will represent a stern financial challenge for this club. The board will to do everything in its power to support Peter's plans for developing the squad and provide him with a budget which is competitive without jeopardising the long-term future of the club.

Q: If we were able to offer £2m for David Cotterill, only to see that deal fall through, why isn't a similar amount available for transfers now?

A: Since August 2006 the club has signed nine players, namely Patrick Boyle, Jamie Ashdown, Lee Camp and David Marshall on loan; Luke Chadwick on loan later upgraded to a permanent deal and Dion Dublin, Chris Brown, Mark Fotheringham and Simon Lappin on permanent deals. All of these deals cost very significant amounts in fees and/or agents fees and of course wages. The club is delighted to have successfully negotiated a new contract with Darren Huckerby. This has clearly had a significant effect on the budget. Once again, the board remains absolutely committed to doing everything to raise as much revenue as possible to support the manager's plans for the squad.

t What do you think of the answers? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or e-mail eveningnewsletters @archant.co.uk or log on to www.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

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