Q&A: Delia and Michael discuss Norwich City’s future, Carrow Road changes and difficult goodbyes
PUBLISHED: 13:05 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 13:23 19 July 2019
Investment, stadium expansion, proudest moments, biggest regrets and hopes for the season have all been discussed by Norwich City’s majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones in a light-hearted online Q&A session.
The Canaries' long-serving senior duo are in Germany watching Daniel Farke's team prepare for the Premier League during a pre-season training camp.
Ahead of the final friendly of the tour this evening, against Bundesliga side Schalke (5.30pm UK time), Delia and Michael answered questions sent to City for an online question and answer session...
Stewart Gillion: In 22 years of being majority shareholders, have either of you come close to selling your shares and leaving?
Delia: We haven't, we did have an offer of a pound once!
Michael: There have been people who have offered to 'take it off our hands', admittedly that was when we had quite substantial debt. But as we have no external or internal debt now, even that possibility is removed.
Lorne Smibert: If a good investor came in and had a plan on how they would take the club forward, would you sell to them?
Michael: I would want to be totally convinced that they understood the culture of the club at Norwich City, that's by far the most important thing, not wads of money. I don't know, is the honest answer. Let's wait and see if a good investor ever did turn up.
Delia: I would so emotionally hate for it to go to the wrong person so I think I would probably ask the shareholders and maybe the supporters to vote and say 'this, or not this, what do you want?'- then I could sleep easy if it didn't work! But we're open. If people think we're determined to never see anybody or talk to anybody, we do have a lot of cranks sometimes getting in touch with us and we don't always follow that up.
Alfie Tottman: Stadium expansion any time soon?
Delia: Money-wise, I don't know how soon that will be, but certainly we've all got our eye on it because if we are successful, the more successful we are the more likely it will be. So it's definitely on the radar but one thing we are absolutely sure of - because we have been through a lot of pain during our time at Norwich - is that we never want to be in debt again. It was horrendous, always being in debt, going to a board meeting and all you talk about is how to service the debt, never ending debt. So it's just doing it when we can afford to do it.
Jamie Allman: What is your proudest moment and what is your biggest regret?
Michael: My proudest, or most enjoyable moment probably, was the play-off final at Wembley but I'm just as proud of this past season, when we've really shown how to play football, that made me really proud.
Delia: I think I have to be with you on that one. i was very proud when we went to the play-off final at Cardiff (in 2002), I was proud, even though we lost it, the fact that we got that far I felt that we were on our way, we were getting there. But I think I would agree with Michael that (Wembley) was a special day.
Michael: Regrets, I don't think so, have we?
Delia: We haven't got any regrets about being involved with Norwich City Football Club, we are very grateful to have that opportunity and we really do deeply love Norwich City.
John Caller: Which manager was it hardest to see leave the club and why?
Michael: It sounds a truism but we were sad when all the managers left because every one has contributed something or other, it would be jolly hard to pick out one.
Delia: I can pick out two where I felt devastated, one was Nigel Worthington and one was Alex Neil, I just felt devastated.
Harry Warne: Where do you predict NCFC will finish this season?
Delia: The one thing I've never been able to do in all the time I've been going to football is predict anything. The one reason we all go to football is that we don't know what's going to happen. If we all knew what was going to happen it wouldn't be fun so I can't predict anything - but I am full of very positive feelings about what I am seeing here in Germany. I've been watching the training, the players, the youth, wow, look out.
James Rushmore: Where do you see Norwich City in five years time?
Delia: What I'm seeing at the moment, again, I feel very positive and Norwich City has got huge potential at the moment, so I hope we'll be right up there in five years time and I feel sure we will.
Lewis Matthews: Are you looking forward to seeing VAR at Carrow Road?
Delia: Well the honest answer is, I'm hoping I'm looking forward to it, I'm hoping it will be good when I see it.
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Michael: I think it hasn't proved itself yet but maybe after a season in the Premier League it will. The important thing is that the fans know what is happening, with messages on the scoreboard, but that's got to be worked out. If they do that properly, it will be fine.
Kelly Sharman: Do you see safe-standing returning to Carrow Road?
Delia: I think I do, yes, and I'm definitely for it - for people who want it. At my age now I need to sit down but I'm hoping we will see it soon.
Michael: I think I did my apprenticeship from 1957 onwards when it was just a mound of turf really. It was fun but there were actually times when you couldn't move and the whole crowd moved with you. But I think it will come and it should come.
Sam Bezants: Favourite game from last season?
Delia: I think the most exciting game, I'm not sure it's my favourite, but it was the Millwall game (4-3 home win), all those goals and then 30 seconds before the end we won it, that was amazing. I can't understand why i didn't have a heart attack!
Michael: That probably was the most exciting but the one I'd nominate would be the last one, away at Villa, as we clinched the Championship, we were so incredibly proud.
Delia: It was very moving and it was funny because when we got out from the match and we gave the media interviews, people said we were very calm, but if you had heard us that last 20 minutes, screaming!
Jack Mullin: Favourite Norwich City game of all time?
Michael: Well I think the greatest of all time is one we didn't go to, Bayern Munich (the 2-1 away win in 1993), but we had a pretty good reason.
Delia: Michael had launched a magazine and it had only been out in stores for a couple of months and we were nominated for the design award of the year, and the award dinner was being held on the same night and we had to be there for our staff really. So we went to the dinner and of course we didn't have iPhones then.
Michael: We might as well point out, we did win it...
Delia: Yes, we won it, but we went home and we'd already had quite a bit of Champagne and we opened another bottle, watched the recording on the television and both jumped up and down on the bed like a trampoline with another bottle of Champagne! So it was amazing. We saw the home game though.
- You can watch the full video interview with Delia and Michael above
- Make sure to check back to this website later today, for live updates from City's pre-season friendly against Schalke (5.30pm UK time)