Man behind rise of Fulham

Jonathan Redhead David McNally joins Norwich City as chief executive six months after leaving the Premier League and Fulham. The 47-year-old who is married with two children, a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter, is seen by many Fulham fans at the club as one of the main driving forces behind the Cottagers' recent success during a four-year spell as managing director.

Jonathan Redhead

David McNally joins Norwich City as chief executive six months after leaving the Premier League and Fulham.

The 47-year-old who is married with two children, a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter, is seen by many Fulham fans at the club as one of the main driving forces behind the Cottagers' recent success during a four-year spell as managing director.

He is believed to have been the main advocate of appointing Roy Hodgson as manager in late 2007 when the team were struggling and then helped the manager in the January transfer window as they escaped relegation on the final day.


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His decision to leave the club was announced in June last year, and there was speculation he was heading to Arsenal, but after six months notice he left Craven Cottage in December 2008.

However, the foundations were in place as last season Fulham qualified for Europe and achieved their highest-ever league finish - seventh.

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"I had four really interesting and exciting years at Fulham and I'm very thankful for the opportunity that Fulham gave me," McNally said yesterday.

"It was the right time to leave Fulham. I think the actual reasons why you leave a business are matters for you and that particular employer at the time.

"There are lots of great people there and I've got lots of great friends at the club and no-one was more pleased than I was to see Roy Hodgson take the team into Europe last year.

"I was delighted for the team and I think he did a tremendous job in helping the team into seventh place - the highest position in their history.

"I'm always very grateful for the opportunity. Four years at Fulham is no mean feat and they were packed full of interesting experiences and we progressed as a business both commercially and latterly, from a sporting perspective too."

It was not McNally's first job in football. Previously he had been the sales and marketing director at Scottish giants Celtic and admitted he is delighted to work in the sport he loves - although he never played professionally.

"I always played football - pretty badly - but only ever at non-league," he said. "I've played over a thousand games and loved every moment of my playing time. I honestly didn't expect to go into the world of football. About nine years ago I was approached about the position at Celtic and I've never looked back. It's a privilege to be able to work in an industry I love.

"It is my hobby, I'm a football anorak, so I seriously feel privileged to be able to work in such an industry."

Previously, McNally had worked for a range of blue-chip companies in a variety of roles including Courtalds Textiles, Sara Lee, L'Oreal, Max Factor and Colgate-Palmolive and he believes those jobs will stand him in good stead for the task at Carrow Road.

"Prior to coming into football nine years ago I'd spent many years in so-called tradition industries and I've been very lucky in my career that I've worked with a number of blue-chip companies who've helped train and develop me so that experience will stand me in good stead," he said.

"I can work well with people and I'm looking forward to ensuring we, my colleagues at the football club and myself, work together to ensure we do as well as we possibly can for the football club and clearly for its supporters.

McNally admitted he had yet to meet City manager Bryan Gunn as the final decision to become chief executive happened very quickly.

Now, he is looking to move to Norfolk straight away.

"I've got very few connections (with Norfolk)," he said. "I've done business in Norfolk over the years with my previous companies like L'Oreal and one or two others. We'll all move as soon as we can."

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