Doncaster: We won’t gamble with City’s future

Norwich City's future is far from doom and gloom, chief executive Neil Doncaster insisted today - but he warned that the board would not gamble everything in a bid to return to the Premiership.

Norwich City's future is far from doom and gloom, chief executive Neil Doncaster insisted today - but he warned that the board would not gamble everything in a bid to return to the Premiership.

Doncaster rejected the argument put forward by some fans that the Canaries must spend, spend, spend to secure promotion this season before their parachute payments cease.

He said: “This year we benefit from £7m of parachute payments. If we are still in the Championship next year, we will be £7m poorer than we are this season. So, some would argue, shouldn't we be throwing all the money that we have in a desperate attempt to try to achieve promotion?

“That, certainly, would be one approach, one that various clubs have been forced to look back on ruefully from the depths of financial collapse and administration, when their gamble was unsuccessful.


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“Calculated gambles, such as the purchase of Darren Huckerby to try to achieve promotion in 2003/2004 (successful) or the capture of Dean Ashton to try to avoid relegation in 2004/2005 (unsuccessful) are one thing. Gambling with the very future of the club is quite another, and something that this board of directors will never do.”

But, because of the club's determination to be honest with fans, he said some of them wrongly assumed that the situation at Carrow Road was worse than is it.

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“The future is far from doom and gloom,” he said. “While competing with the fat chequebooks of a handful of multi-millionaire owners may be challenging, our tremendous and loyal support base and marvellous stadium really do give us a long-term advantage over many of our rivals.

“Our debt is high, but was necessary in order to build the Jarrold Stand and to help us through the crisis caused by the collapse of ITV Digital. Debt repayments are entirely manageable because they are structured over 15 years. This contrasts with the lower level of debt that the club had in 1996, but which was on short-term overdraft with the bank. This meant that the bank could simply demand repayment in full as and when they liked, leading directly to the fire sales of Ashley Ward and Jon Newsome.

On this basis, our debt is simply not the millstone round our necks that some believe it to be.”

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