Why Delia and Michael believe Norwich City can 'change the face of football'
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones have overseen several eras during their stewardship of Norwich City, but the pair are hoping their club can 'change the face of football' with their current method of operating.
Over the course of the last three decades, the game has become awash with money and left many supporters feeling isolated and disconnected from the clubs they love. But for Norwich, money has never been the primary factor behind their success.
The top sides have attempted to drive a wedge through the game in the hope of preventing clubs with less resource and status from challenging for titles or success. Norwich, under Delia and Michael, have never thrown billions of pounds chasing the dream.
Instead, they have sought to construct something more sustainable.
With savvy recruitment and a flourishing youth academy, the pair believe City can sustain itself in the top-flight this time around and act as an example to clubs lower down the pyramid in the process.
"It's a journey," Delia explained. "One of the things about football supporters everywhere is that what unites them is the hope. The hope of being able to achieve.
"I really have such a hope to achieve here something that will contribute to the whole of football. To show that it isn't all about money.
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"A lot of people feel excluded. Clubs feel like they're little and they're not really going anywhere. They look at the big, multi-million clubs and it's in a different world. I think we need to give that hope to everybody.
"If we can achieve it, and we haven't achieved it yet, we have to be stable in the Premier League to really achieve that."
Amidst schemes such as the European Super League coming to light and an increasing amount of owners hijacking football clubs and exploiting them as a plaything, Smith and Wynn Jones have provided City with stability and rule with love.
They are hoping the Canaries can help change the way football operates on a grander scale as they prepare to tackle the Premier League again.
"I don't think it's too ambitious a thing to say but as we've learned as we've grown ourselves into what we're doing, we feel that Norwich City has a chance here to really change the face of football if we do everything right and if we can keep the team we have now.
"We're very proud, but it's been a team thing. If we didn't have the people we've got in the positions they're in, then we wouldn't have achieved it.
"We've got Stuart Webber and without him, we would never have Daniel. It all works like that. We have a team of people here who are making this football club thrive."
City operate with a self-sustainable model, meaning they don't throw money at their problems and instead look to utilise long-term thinking as a way to success.
"The problem with pumping in money into a club is that what it does is it means you have to pay a lot more for players because they know you have the money," Wynn Jones said.
"Frankly, if you don't pick the right players, then it is a complete waste of billions. If you can actually see, from the word go, players develop, get better and break into the first team then that is far more sustainable."
Inside Colney, there is a quote plastered on the wall that reads: 'None of us is as smart as all of us'. That is a mantra that City's owners believe in. That is why those in positions of power have such freedom in their respective roles.
A lack of financial muscle compared to their direct competitors has forced the club to be creative in order to level the playing field.
City's owners, who would prefer to refer to themselves as 'caretakers', believe the strength of their off-field team has enabled the Canaries to become a formidable force when they cross that white line.
"The magic ingredient is the whole ethos of Norwich City football club now.
"It has become a really formidable team behind the scenes as well as on the pitch. I think when people work together, things can be achieved much quicker.
"We've been through some very raw and difficult times, so it's even more pleasurable when you've had to fight for it. For years it was like fighting a fire that would never go out.
"I always used to say football was like putting a pile of money on the middle of a pitch and setting it alight."
They've proven it can be done without splashing the cash in the second tier, their next challenge will be showing that can work in the Premier League.