Hidden costs of City's big deals

PUBLISHED: 08:30 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 09:33 14 September 2010

JONATHAN REDHEAD

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has lifted the lid on the Canaries' finances to hit back at claims the club is too prudent and lacking ambition in its attempt to get back into the Premier League.

Norwich City chief executive Neil Doncaster has lifted the lid on the Canaries' finances to hit back at claims the club is too prudent and lacking ambition in its attempt to get back into the Premier League.

In his column for today's EDP, Doncaster says assumptions made about the club having money to burn in the transfer market are “way wide of the mark” and says he wants to show the difference between the “perception and reality” surrounding the Canaries and their finances.

He reveals how the new Jarrold Stand cost £9m and not £6m, how Youssef Safri cost the club almost £1m and not £500,000 as reported, how Dean Ashton's transfer from Crewe cost 50pc more than £3m and how the club were little more than half a million pounds better off following a season in the Premier League.

And Doncaster says claims that the club is cash rich and should have a major kitty for a transfer spending spree following the sale of Ashton to West Ham for more than £7m, capacity crowds at Carrow Road and £6m in Premiership parachute payments, are incorrect.

Disillusioned fans spoke out and asked to see the club's money after a summer of discontent in the transfer market which saw several potential targets slip through the net while the Canaries have so far made only one signing in the shape of winger Lee Croft from Manchester City.

Other clubs, including Birmingham, Southampton and Coventry, spent millions during the close season in a bid to get back to the top flight while City boss Nigel Worthington and star player Darren Huckerby bemoaned the lack of new players coming through the door at Carrow Road.

Doncaster said it was constant and understandable concern shown by fans about the club's financial position that has prompted him to speak out.

“Over the last couple of weeks I've had a succession of calls, letters and e-mails from concerned supporters who have read things in the press and take it as gospel,” he said. “The level of concern was such that I needed to set the record straight sooner rather than later.”

On the subject of transfers and fees, Doncaster said there was only so much the club could say on various transfers in and out of the club, despite disclosing there was more to Safri's move than just the base fee of £500,000.

He said the club had also forked out £450,000 to cover the league levy, appearance related payments and agents' fees.

“Agents are a fact of life,” he said. “That's why Lee Croft's transfer was so refreshing. He was a player who came and it wasn't down to money.”

And he said work on Carrow Road stands and other infrastructure at the ground often worked out at more than initially reported.

“Certain figures are initial figures,” he said. “With the Jarrold Stand, we had the stand being built and there were other works as well. Some of it is down to timings and other figures and sometimes it's down to simple misunderstanding. We're not able to put the details out we'd sometimes like to.”

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