‘The city comes alive on match days’ – Canaries chief hails united spirit and reveals future plans for Carrow Road
PUBLISHED: 20:23 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 20:27 27 February 2019
The ‘unity’ among the entire Norwich City community has been hailed by the Canaries’ chief operating officer Ben Kensell this evening, in a rallying cry ahead of the final 12 games of the Championship season.
Carrow Road’s commercial supremo was part of a bumper panel featuring on the Pink Un Show on Wednesday evening, which was filmed at the Community Sports Foundation’s (CSF) new facility near Norwich Airport, The Nest.
Kensell was alongside CSF’s head of development Jackie Thornton, Canaries Trust vice-chairman Mandie Thorpe and City’s long-serving director of communications, Joe Ferrari – and spoke highly of the boost supporters have given Daniel Farke’s table-topping team during this season.
“It’s a thank you to the fans that have embraced this change of management in the club at the senior level,” Kensell said.
“I’d like to thank the staff, fans and anyone that’s involved in the football club that’s making it a really enjoyable place to work.
“The city comes alive on match days and I love that, it’s a great place to be, and you feel the positive energy. There’s a real tangible feeling around the place and that can only move us forward.
“We’ll have ups, we’ll have downs, but I think that togetherness that we have now got at the club with fans, staff, partners, sponsors, whatever it might be, there’s a real unity.
“And I think if that can carry us through, what a phenomenal season we will have had, regardless of the outcome.”
Kensell’s influence increased at City in October following the exit of managing director Steve Stone, forming a new executive committee alongside business and projects director Zoe Ward and sporting director Stuart Webber.
Plans have since been put in place to allow the Canaries to hold more entertainment events, such as this summer’s second visit of pop band Take That and the Fightmare wrestling event, which will feature City legend Grant Holt and WWE star Mick Foley.
Kensell was asked for the club’s latest stance on development which could increase the stadium’s current capacity of just over 27,100 and confirmed it is an area he is keen to see developed.
“Anything that we do consider has to not just be right for 25 games a year, but several large scale outside events as well,” he continued.
“In terms of extending, we would look at the City Stand first obviously, it wouldn’t be the South Stand, that’s fit for purpose in my opinion and I think the majority of the people at the club would say that.
“Speaking honestly, with our financial position, we would need to have a sustained period of time in the Premier League before we could actually commit to making movements and commit to when we’re going to put the first fork in the ground and change the City Stand.
“But there has to be ambition at the club and we need to have a strategic view over three, five, 10 years that says we are going to grow this club and it needs to be fit for purpose.
“We believe that we can sustain a 30,000-plus stadium, it’s got to be done and what we can’t do is put the club in the sort of financial position that it’s been in previously.
“As a custodian and someone that is responsible for that area, I’m not going to make that commitment to say ‘by 2022 we’re going to be in a position where we’re reviewing that’.
“What I’m going to say is that there has to be ambition and a view that we look at that moving forwards.
“There has to be a Carrow Road masterplan and that’s where we should start for the time being.”
• You can catch up with this evening’s Pink Un Show in the video player above