Plenty to ponder for City

PUBLISHED: 15:47 05 May 2007 | UPDATED: 10:16 14 September 2010

So another season draws to a close, this one just as bad as the previous. In the last few days Roger Munby has stated that “money isn't everything”. I guess he would say that.

So another season draws to a close, this one just as bad as the previous.

In the last few days Roger Munby has stated that “money isn't everything”.

I guess he would say that. The Canaries, with an estimated footballing wage bill of £10 million, will be finishing below at least eight other clubs that spent less than we did last season.

Interestingly, Mr Munby was happy to ask for extra funds from City fans in late 2003 when the money invested in Huckerby, Crouch, McKenzie & Svensson most certainly did make a difference.

That wonderful 2003-04 season saw NCFC spend 87 per cent of income on wages -- an acknowledged gamble that paid off handsomely.

And despite the accepted wisdom that a 70 per cent ratio of wages/turnover is the limit between “comfort and concern”, the NCFC board (including Mr Munby) were happy to splurge 90 per cent of turnover on wages in the 1998/99 season, 85 per cent in 1999-2000 and 85 per cent in 2000-2001.

Maybe the higher-than-average wages being paid to City players could be a contributory factor in the Costa Del Colney attitude referred to by Peter Grant?

Another area where City are going against the grain is in ticket pricing.

Despite two years of, to put it nicely, mediocrity, season tickets have again gone up. In fact, since 1987, the cost of my ticket in the lower Barclay has risen by 100 per cent.

Does one season in the Premiership and one play-off final justify such an increase? I am not sure, though it would be very hard giving up my fortnightly pilgrimage.

The club will say “Look at the Sold Out signs”, but the truth is that attendances at Norwich, like many other clubs, are dropping.

Ignoring our Championship-winning year (when the South Stand was rebuilt), our average gate is down for the first time since 1999-2000.

And, worryingly, the numbers who actually went through the turnstiles is dropping even faster.

The number of no-show ticket-holders last season rose some 20 per cent, and in one case (the Wolves home match) there were less than 19,800 fans inside Carrow Road.

Match day attendances last season saw a drop of 17,000 fans. That is a trend to be wary of, and one that needs to be corrected, by success or changes to ticket pricing.

We hear much talk of the fans' loyalty, but does the club truly appreciate it?

Has the club considered giving discounts for long-standing season ticket holders? Or why not hold a draw and give away five season tickets in each stand.

You get great PR, an increase in feel-good factor, and all for Peter Thorne's reputed weekly wage.

In 1996, when Delia & Michael Wynn-Jones rescued Norwich City, they realised that the club was struggling to stay afloat.

The result was a thorough overhaul of practices and a concerted campaign to win back the fans.

Now, eleven years on, with only two successful seasons in that time, I wonder if the revival has stalled and ask if Delia and the board should be undertaking another objective review of the state of Norwich City?

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