Lots of home truths from NCISA guests

PUBLISHED: 09:00 27 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 10 September 2010

Kathy Blake, NCISA

On Tuesday night Neil Doncaster and Lee Clark were special guests at NCISA's AGM held at Carrow Road. The event was well attended as usual and I was particularly please to see what a diverse set of fans had turned up.

On Tuesday night Neil Doncaster and Lee Clark were special guests at NCISA's AGM held at Carrow Road. The event was well attended as usual and I was particularly please to see what a diverse set of fans had turned up.

Our regulars were there, some of whom can talk longer than Gordon Brown, and also there were several Pink'un message board posters. I know some of these fans hold quite radical views about the direction the football club is heading, and I was delighted to see them there. NCISA is a broad church and we welcome all viewpoints and want to encourage as many of you as possible to get involved in debating the issues which affect the football club we love.

I thought both Neil and Lee spoke well and gave frank answers to fans' questions. A couple of times Neil came out and said 'I can't answer that question' which is in my view much better than replying to the question with long-winded jargon that doesn't actually answer it, as I think some members of the board have been guilty of in the past. If you look at our website www.ncisa.co.uk you will find a brief account of the issues discussed, so I will not list them here but draw attention instead to a few of the items that particularly caught my attention.

Firstly was that in Lee Clark we were in the presence of a very single minded, ambitious and focused person, and possibly a future Premiership manager. He seemed to know exactly what he wanted to do and had done for some considerable time. He told the audience that he had come very close to signing for City some years back but the £3.4m asking price was slightly too much (yes, slightly!). This raised an eyebrow from Mr Doncaster and made me miserable because it shows how far the club has gone backwards since those times. These days we struggle to raise £340,000. Another depressing insight he gave us was his account of that dreadful day at Fulham at the end of 2004/2005 when he was playing for the opposition. As has widely been reported since, he was amazed how easy the game was and at the poor attitude of some of the big name Norwich players. Those of us who were there had suspected as much, but the club and manager had largely glossed over the whole thing.

It is particularly galling for fans who had suffered so much disappointment and torment that day to hear how little it meant to players we had previously idolised. He didn't name names but it was painfully obvious who he was talking about. It was reassuring however that he made clear that would never happen with any team he was in charge of. And he said it as if he meant it.

The other thing that sticks out in my mind was a comment Neil Doncaster made when he was talking about financial matters. He implied that 'cup runs' made a considerable difference to the profits in a football club's season.

This flies in the face of things we have been told in the past. Anyone who has ever read anything I have written in this column will know that I am a big fan of cup competitions, and I have been saddened over the past umpteen seasons when we have tarnished the glorious cup fighting tradition of Norwich City. I have lost count of the times we have exited both the FA Cup and the league cup (by whatever name it was known at the time) with a whimper, usually early on and often to lower league teams. I hear terms like 'Mickey Mouse' competition; 'concentrate on the league'; 'makes no money anyway'. Different managers and players have come and gone but it's always been the same story. I was sitting on the top table when he said this on Tuesday but I resisted the temptation to stand up, have a paddy and shout 'Now hang on a minute..........' Maybe I have misunderstood something.

Anyway. That apart it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and NCISA hope to hold more fans' forums in the near future. Is there anyone in particular you would like to see on the panel? We can't always promise (doubt we could get Peter Cullum!) but we will do our best. Email us at ncisa@hotmail.co.uk

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