A trio of new directors - but no fresh investment
Paddy Davitt Norwich's joint majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith confirmed the hunt for vital new investment remains a major priority following yesterday's boardroom revamp.
Norwich's joint majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith confirmed the hunt for vital new investment remains a major priority following yesterday's boardroom revamp.
Businessman Alan Bowkett was unveiled as club chairman with Archant Norfolk managing director Stephan Phillips and the Canaries' recently appointed chief executive David McNally joining existing director Michael Fougler on the new look Carrow Road board. Wynn Jones hailed the trio's arrival but revealed high profile football deal maker Keith Harris was no further forward in his attempts to attract potential fresh backers ahead of the League One campaign.
“That process is still very much on going,” said Wynn Jones. “He has the same problem with a few other football clubs as well but we do know him personally and he is prioritising Norwich. The bottom line is its very attractive to take over a football club but it's not that attractive to put your hand in your pocket and dish out a few million for the squad because that doesn't fit any business model.
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“The appointment of three new directors to create an ambitious and dynamic board is one of the most important building blocks in the structure we feel can take Norwich City forward. Alan has been in the charge of some very large companies and Stephan has marketing experience which will be absolutely vital to us - particularly in the media and IT areas. David joining the board we feel will give us a proper understanding of football issues. For the time being this is our working board and the one that will take us forward but there is still room for further new.”
Bowkett has ruled out any short term personal investment and insists the club must live within its means.
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“We should be under no illusions that we can wave a magic wand,” said the 58-year-old. “It's not, 'let's hope we can get some money, but let's do better with what we have.' I think it's fair to say Michael and Delia have worked very hard to approach people in Norfolk with significant incomes about investment opportunities and it has been a really tough situation.
“Our objective is to win football matches, our objective is not to develop a property portfolio and next season we will be operating in a difficult financial environment. I do business throughout Europe and the US and no-one has any money. The banks don't have any money. No doubt we will be actively pursuing further monies to inject into the club but we cannot plan on that happening. Almost all football clubs are in a grave financial situation so in that respect we are all coming from a poor position. What I aim to do is bring my skills in helping restructure companies and helping them achieve their objectives.”
The long-time Canaries' supporter is adamant the club can withstand the financial pressures of life in League One.
“We have a clear strategy and it's about getting the resources to carry that out,” said Bowkett. “David will run the day-to-day activities along with Bryan (Gunn) on the football side and I see the board as separate from that. I have no football experience in terms of business but I feel it's easy to criticise from the outside. I'm in a position now to get involved. I've had some of the best and saddest moments of my life watching Norwich. I remember vividly being promoted at Watford and all the singing and chanting and I can contrast that with going to Fulham with my three sons.
“I have supported this club for 25 years. When I first moved here I worked at Boulton & Paul so my office used to overlook the ground. I know what the club means to people and I know the potential. Our aim has to be promotion and that is what everyone here will work towards.”