Doncaster: Money men do not simply grow on trees

PUBLISHED: 11:27 19 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 10 September 2010

Neil Doncaster facing the wrath of the fans with Roger Munby at a fans' forum last season.

Neil Doncaster facing the wrath of the fans with Roger Munby at a fans' forum last season.

Former Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned supporters that there is no wealthy backer just waiting to bankroll the revival they all desperately want.

Former Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned supporters that there is no wealthy backer just waiting to bankroll the revival they all desperately want.

Doncaster and chairman Roger Munby stood down from their posts at Carrow Road last week in the wake of the club's relegation to League One.

In urging fans to bet behind the board and manager Bryan Gunn, Doncaster made a farewell plea.

He said: "Please do not assume that grass is greener on the other side, that there are queues of wealthy non-supporters desperate to 'invest' in the club. Such people simply do not exist. Or, if they do, they always, always want something valuable in return.

"There really is no such thing as a free lunch. It may well be possible for an owner to make a profit out of a football club - that, ultimately is what 'investment' means. But that profit would, in all likelihood, come at a huge cost to the club itself.

"There are many examples of where this has happened, despite the best efforts of the football authorities. Norwich City's most likely route to a secure financial future is, quite simply, wealthy supporters and local businesses using their resources to back the club that they love.

"This, in combination with continuing efforts to drive further money out of off-field activities, is the way forward. It may be unglamorous. It may sound hackneyed. But I believe it to be fundamentally true."

Doncaster paid tribute to City's staff, supporters, volunteers and fund-raisers - and had special thanks for the board.

He said: "I would like to thank Delia, Michael and Michael Foulger for all that they did to support me personally and for all of their ongoing financial support of Norwich City.

"There seems to be a perception in some quarters that those directors earn money from the club, or take cash out in some other way, or are involved for some other personal gain. The truth could not be more different. Andrew and Sharon Turner, Delia, Michael and the Foulger family - all have simply given over their hard-earned cash to try to buy on-field success for the club they love."

Leaving, he said, had been a difficult decision.

He said: "Stepping down from any company is a difficult thing to do. When that company happens to be an iconic football club, to which you have given nearly 13 years of your life, the decision to stand down is one that can only be taken after a great deal of thought and soul searching.

"Roger Munby and I want only for the best for Norwich City and, in circumstances where change is so much in demand, we felt that stepping down was simply necessary for the club to be able to move forward in harmony.

"Ordinarily, to lose four senior people in such a short space of time would be hugely destabilising for any company. But the recent departures of Andrew Cullen, Shaun O'Hara, Roger Munby and myself have created opportunities for the club's talented senior managers to step up and fill the void and for new people with fresh ideas to come in.

"To have well over 18,000 season ticket-holders already signed up for next season is remarkable - and testament to the tremendous loyalty of City fans, even in the horrible circumstances following a relegation. But it is testament also to the hard work, dedication and skills of the managers and staff who work long and often extremely anti-social hours to serve supporters and drive the club forward."

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