Enthralling AGM awaits as Norwich City chiefs discuss club’s future prospects
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
Ahead of Norwich City’s annual general meeting this evening, David Freezer takes a closer look at the items likely to be on the agenda, as shareholders get the chance to quiz the club’s decision makers.
There may have been a particularly deep sigh of relief among the Norwich City directors as they savoured victory at Everton - knowing the club's annual general meeting was approaching.
It's tonight that shareholders get their yearly opportunity to grill the Canaries' senior figures at Carrow Road, when a broad range of issues are always discussed, occasionally creating moments which will be remembered well beyond that evening's discussions.
Glenn Roeder's backhanded criticism of Neil Adams and unpopular "I forgot about your tenure as England manager" barb in the direction of a City supporter at a particularly feisty 2008 AGM saw the manager's relationship with fans turn particularly sour.
Jez Moxey's assertion that his three main objectives for the season were "promotion, promotion and promotion" in the midst of a nosedive in form for Alex Neil's team in 2016 also contributed to his time as chief executive lasting just six months.
A formal meeting to approve the club's annual financial report may seem like a fairly tame setting for the topics covered to have too much of an impact, yet timing is everything.
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Had the Canaries lost at Everton and remained bottom of the table, then it's likely that sporting director Stuart Webber and head coach Daniel Farke would have felt the brunt of worried moans and groans.
Majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones would also have been bracing for questions about how they see the future ownership of the club unfolding in the coming years, as competing on the billionaire's playground of the Premier League once again proves difficult for a self-funded club.
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But a timely 2-0 win at Everton has just eased that pressure a touch ahead of this evening's meeting, not just because the three points has lifted the team to 18th in the table and put them back on track for a fighting chance of survival, but for the deserved manner of that victory.
Seeing the injury situation which Farke has had to contend with take a sizeable step in the right direction during the well earned victory has reminded City fans of the potential within the club, which brought such special celebrations as recently as May.
That Championship success ensured the board and Webber stayed absolutely steadfast in their support of Farke - and supporters have by and large been on the same page in spite of the obvious recent concerns.
And in all fairness to City's top brass, they set out their stall in the immediate aftermath of promotion, making it clear that the financial challenge would be vast and that they would remain calm in the face of expected adversity, as Farke and his players attempted another against-the-odds success.
The AGM is about looking forward though, on the whole, so further context and assurance about the club's financial situation is sure to be sought by shareholders.
The Canaries published their financial report for 2018-19 earlier this month, showing that an operating profit of £19m from the previous year had plunged to an operating loss of £38m in the wake of Premier League parachute payments finishing.
However, with a profit in the region of £20m expected for 2019-20 now that the club has returned to the top flight, the potential of transfer business in January and how relegation would impact that situation are sure to be on the agenda.
The boardroom would appear largely settled, with Steve Stone leaving as managing director prior to last year's AGM as a new senior executive committee was formed, featuring Webber as sporting director, Ben Kensell as chief operating officer and Zoe Ward as business and project director.
Ed Balls did step down as chairman in December though so who will chair the meeting remains to be seen.
Kensell is likely to face questions about the ticket membership scheme which caused much fuss this summer, with the club having set about a series of private consultation meetings with supporters to determine how they can improve the system ever since.
The prospect of Carrow Road's expansion is another likely topic but there is always room for a few of the smaller issues as well, with Delia asked to improve the match day sausage rolls in 2015.
AGMs sometimes make for unpredictable and tense evenings but they are always enthralling, as supporters get an insight into their club's future plans and prospects.
- Check back to this website this evening for live updates from the AGM, with reports and interviews due to follow the meeting