Farke’s deal, Spygate and derby day all on the Norwich City agenda for Kensell
- Credit: Tony Thrussell
Daniel Farke’s contract, Leeds United’s spying punishment, kick-off times against Ipswich and the progress of Norwich City’s executive committee were all in the mix as Ben Kensell updated fans on the latest issues.
The Canaries’ chief operating officer was one of the guests on the latest Pink Un Show, which was filmed at the Community Sports Foundation’s (CSF) new facility near Hellesdon, The Nest.
Kensell was alongside CSF’s head of development Jackie Thornton, Canaries Trust vice-chairman Mandie Thorpe and City’s long-serving director of communications, Joe Ferrari.
And it didn’t take long for the issue of the expiring contract of head coach Farke to come up.
“Everyone is relaxed, that’s the truth about it,” Kensell insisted, following the lead of the German and sporting director Stuart Webber. “I know it sounds a bit clichéd but Daniel is very relaxed and you’ve got to remember that we’re a bit of a unit, quite a family.
“So it’s not a pressure point for Daniel, for Stuart, for me, Zoe (Ward, business and projects director), anyone at the club.
“I think it’s got to be right and when that moment happens – and I think that’s when all parties are comfortable – an announcement will be made.
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“Everyone’s quite relaxed about that and the reason they’re relaxed is because we’ve got quite an important game on Saturday – and then another and another.”
Kensell concluded: “Obviously it’s something we want wrapped up as soon as possible but it is definitely Stuart’s area. It’s something that Zoe and myself are across, and that the board are across.
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“So it’s being discussed in the club as much as it is on the forums and on the terraces!”
Formerly director of commercial since joining in 2014 – having been at Arsenal for eight years, holding a similar role – Kensell’s influence increased in October following the exit of managing director Steve Stone, forming an executive committee alongside Ward and Webber.
“It is different, it is unique, it doesn’t feel that different to us because we work incredibly collaboratively,” he said of the new arrangement.
“I’ve always said it’s not about three people, it’s about almost 300 people that work at the club, and I believe that there’s almost a way of working that is incredibly collaborative now that means there isn’t three people that lead the way on the football side, or work on culture.
“What we do is create a bit of a movement, strategic direction, it’s a very can-do approach collectively at the club and I think staff have really got behind all three of us.
“We want to pull together and achieve something quite special but let’s be completely honest here, winning on the pitch helps, but the work that we’ve done off the pitch at the same time has really helped provide that foundation and platform for us to be successful on the pitch.”
Kensell also spoke about the £200,000 fine handed to title rivals Leeds following the ‘Spygate’ controversy, after head coach Marcelo Bielsa had admitted spying on opposition training sessions – with new rules preventing such actions set to be discussed at an EFL meeting he is attending in Derby today.
“The whole situation on Leeds, from my perspective, is that is was effectively unfair, they had an unfair advantage that isn’t in keeping with the spirit of the game,” he said. “I think the fine and repercussions of that have been and gone, and I would say we move on from that.
“Actually we talk about marginal gains in different ways, from our perspective, and what’s at stake is three points – they are massively valuable.
“So I don’t endorse it, I don’t think it’s in keeping with the game, but I can understand how a club would try to bend the rules as much as they possibly could.
“They’ve been fined accordingly, I wouldn’t say appropriately, in my opinion, just accordingly.
“I’m sure they’ve had advantages over clubs but what I would say is I don’t think they had advantages over us, we were made aware of that, when we were given the report back.”
Kensell also said he would like to discuss the possibility of the East Anglian derby no longer having to be a Sunday midday kick-off, as it has been for many years now – with Nottingham Forest having hosted arch rivals Derby on Monday night and the Sheffield derby being played this coming Monday evening.
“I’d certainly like to challenge it, from my perspective, now being in the position I’m in,” he admitted. “We’ve got to always put safety first, in everything that we do, but I’d certainly like to ask the questions as to why it’s always been then.
“I know the answers I’ll get but a healthy challenge is what I would say – when you look at the Steel City Derby being on Friday nights. So whether it’s a Saturday midday or whatever it might be, we’ve got to challenge it in a healthy and constructive way.”
• You can catch up on last night’s Pink Un Show in the video player above