Millions still due to City

STEVE DOWNES Norwich City are still waiting for millions of pounds in transfer fees for players who have left the club, it has emerged.


Norwich City are still waiting for millions of pounds in transfer fees for players who have left the club, it emerged last night.

The Canaries sold England international keeper Robert Green to West Ham for £1.5m and striker Leon McKenzie to Coventry for £600,000 - both in August.

But so far City have received a total of only £650,000 - with the remaining £1.45m due in instalments from August 2007 to June 2009.

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The news provides an unsavoury answer for fans who demand to know where the money has gone - and who expect City boss Peter Grant to be handed millions of pounds for team strengthening in the January transfer window and the close season.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster defended the nature of the deals, and said City benefited from similar “structuring” of payments when buying players including Dean Ashton and Robert Earnshaw.

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He said: “I wouldn't accept that there's any weakness in any of the deals that have been done. If you are trying to get the best possible price you may have to accept it over longer terms. If you want all the money up front, it may mean a smaller transfer fee.”

Doncaster said the final instalment from West Ham for £7.25m striker Dean Ashton was due in January - the same time that City will have to fork out the second half of the £2.75m due to West Brom for Earnshaw.

Details of the Green and McKenzie deals came as a footnote to the club accounts, which were released this morning and cover the period from June 1 2005 to May 31 2006.

The accounts show the immense cost of relegation from the Premiership at the end of 2005/6. They reveal:

t players' wages were £9m in 2005/6 - down from £11m in the Premiership

t the club made a £2.5m profit - down from £7.6m

t turnover fell from £37.4m to £24.7m - largely because of a £12.1m drop in income from the Premier League and Sky

t gate receipts fell by £200,000 because of fewer away fans in the Championship than the top flight

t commercial sales - mainly in the club shop - dropped by £1.3m

t overall debt was reduced from £19.7m to £19.2m, which is largely comprised of the £15m “securitisation” loan taken out two years ago to bring the club's debts together.

Chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “In the year covered by these accounts, and despite a £7m parachute payment, the club's cash position worsened by £1.5m.

“However the board believed that it should back the judgment of former manager Nigel Worthington and did so, sanctioning player wages during 2005/6 which were only marginally lower than during our year in the Premier League.”

He said the club's financial position was “stable”, despite the large debt, which he said was “structured and manageable”.

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