Norwich City aiming to help fans beat VAT rise

Season ticket prices will go up for Norwich City’s 2011-12 campaign, chief executive David McNally has confirmed.

Speaking to more than 100 supporters at a forum held in the Norfolk Lounge at Carrow Road, the City chief also expects the tickets to go on sale earlier than usual – most likely before Christmas to help fans beat the VAT rise from 17.5 to 20 per cent, planned for January 4.

The fans’ forum, which allowed open questions from the floor as well as pre-submitted efforts, saw plenty for McNally, manager Paul Lambert and majority shareholder Michael Wynn Jones to get their teeth stuck into.

It was confirmed the Canaries will fly to Cardiff for their game this weekend – paid for by the club’s directors – to avoid another long and potentially damaging coach journey, like the one that contributed to left-back Adam Drury’s absence at Bristol City.

Lambert believes Drury, now out with a calf injury suffered against Queens Park Rangers, will be back in “three to four weeks”, with the returns of Andrew Surman, Michael Nelson and Zak Whitbread to follow sometime after. Lambert also admitted he wants to keep on loan West Brom defender Leon Barnett beyond January 4: “He’s been collosal for us...if there is something we can do, we will do it.”

McNally advised City’s Annual General Meeting could once again be adjourned from next month until after Christmas, like last year, while the club’s financial accounts for 2009-10 are also due to be published in November.

But the big theme for last night’s meeting was to dampen down rising expectations of a possible Premier League return.

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“We have been very lucky in that Paul has been able to punch above his weight,” said McNally. “He has transformed our football performance above anyone’s expectations. With Paul and the board we have a seven-year plan in place based on football expectations and finances.

“We’d given ourselves two years to get out of League One so we are already one year ahead of that. Realistically we have given ourselves three years in the Championship.

“So to go from 67th in the country at the start of the 2009 season to Premier League would be some achievement. This year the first thing we need to do is stay in the Championship. If we finished anywhere in the top half it would be a fantastic achievement, considering where we have been.”

Lambert added: “You have to walk before you can run,” he said.

“After we beat Bristol City the other week I heard the fans singing we are going up again and there were only 10 games gone!

“There has to be a realism at the football club because everyone wants to get to the Premier.”