Norwich City well prepared for Premier League return says director

PUBLISHED: 09:00 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:02 10 September 2010

Paddy Davitt

Norwich City director Stephan Phillips insisted yesterday that the Canaries are firmly on course to establish themselves as a Premiership outfit. The Archant Norfolk managing director set out the club's ambitious timescale for regular top flight football in the latest web chat from City's hierarchy with supporters.

Norwich City director Stephan Phillips insisted yesterday that the Canaries are firmly on course to establish themselves as a Premiership outfit.

The Archant Norfolk managing director set out the club's ambitious timescale for regular top flight football in the latest web chat from City's hierarchy with supporters.

Phillips, however, admitted to one poster attracting fresh investment was a key component of the Canaries' long term plan to build on this season's solid League One foundations.

“We do indeed have a plan to get into the Premiership,” he said. “Our long-term aim is to be a team which plays continually in the Premiership and we are giving ourselves seven years to achieve this.

“The seven years breaks down into two years to get out of our current league, three years to get out of the Championship, a year to perhaps bounce in and out of the Premiership, before being a stable team consistently playing in what we consider to be our rightful league.

“There's an awful lot of work to be done to achieve this and the search for additional investment is a key part of the plan.”

Phillips is adamant no-one inside the Carrow Road corridors of power is taking promotion for granted with Paul Lambert's men currently seven points clear of third-placed Colchester in the battle for an immediate Championship return.

“We've said there's a lot of work still going on to make sure we get to the Championship - we're not quite there yet,” he said. “Paul's been a breath of fresh air and I hope that he feels he's received the full backing and support of the board. Certainly where he has needed to strengthen certain positions, he has been able to do so.

“What works well is when the chief executive and the manager work well together and I think we can see the benefits of that here.”

Phillips allayed fears expressed by one supporter the club was facing liquidation following publication of record annual financial losses - with the Canaries now £23m in debt.

“The answer is no, which I hope you'll be pleased to hear,” he said. “As you know the club is working hard to reduce its debt, which is not a dissimilar situation to many other businesses I know of.”

City initiated High Court legal proceedings last month over a national newspaper report which claimed Norwich were heading for administration - but Phillips was unable to comment further or on the club's ongoing compensation battle with Colchester.

A Football League tribunal is scheduled to sit next month after United rejected City's compensation offer for former Us boss Lambert.

“Both matters are in the hands of respective solicitors,” said Phillips. “From a newspaper point of view I perhaps can comment on the News of the World article.

“We would expect a newspaper to write accurate articles and this one clearly wasn't, which is the reason why solicitors are involved.

“The reputation of the football club is really important to us all and stories like the one which appeared in the News of the World are not helpful and don't accurately reflect quality journalism.”

Phillips did reveal fans' favourite Darren Huckerby is poised to agree a match day role with the club following his return from America. Huckerby was forced to call time on his playing career at MLS side San Jose Earthquakes after hip surgery.

“Yes there are some exciting plans involving Darren on match days here at Carrow Road which we hope to announce shortly,” said Phillips.

“We all know Darren was a legend and a firm friend of the fans.”

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