Show Roeder the money
Michael Bailey Norwich City fans have put their money where their hearts lie and backed Glenn Roeder's Canaries revolution with even more snapping up season tickets for next season.
Norwich City fans have put their money where their hearts lie and backed Glenn Roeder's Canaries revolution with even more snapping up season tickets for next season.
Supporters groups have today called on the club's board to match the fans and back Roeder's summer rebuilding plans with cold, hard cash.
Following the first deadline for renewals and purchases of season tickets last Saturday, the club announced sales of 18,312 - a staggering 2,536 increase on the same time last year, especially after a season which effectively began four months after City's Coca-Cola Championship rivals.
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And with boss Glenn Roeder expecting to make up to 15 changes in the first team squad by the time next season's campaign kicks off in August, the feeling among the majority of Canaries supporters is the board must back the man who has worked a football miracle at Carrow Road.
“It is season upon season that the supporters continually put their money up front, not knowing what kind of product they are going to get,” said Norwich City Independent Supporters Association chairman John Tilson. “Let's hope what Glenn Roeder wants to do is backed by the board - and by the board I mean the Turners and the Smiths, those with the money.
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“A lot of the fans would like to see Roeder given the money he needs to compete in this league. Ipswich with Marcus Evans, Coventry, Sheffield United; they have all got the money, but we've got to compete with them financially and our ambitions have to be matched by the board. I am sure they want us up there at the top. Roeder is a fairly young manager and wouldn't have come here if he didn't want to get back to the Premiership, but unfortunately ambition has got to be backed with money.”
Ignoring the fact no new season tickets were available at the same time last season, the club still received 17,303 renewals for the 2008/9 season - an increase of nearly 10 per cent.
Tim Amphlett, of Yarmouth Yellows supporters group, believes the Carrow Road fans want to see their faith mirrored by the board when Roeder begins his big summer rebuilding plans.
“I'd now like the board to back the manager with some hard cash,” added Amphlett. “I have got to give credit to the club for employing Roeder in the first place and I'm more than happy with the set-up at the club now. He's shown what he can do and it's down to the club to back the man.
“I think some people have got to remember where we were - only happy with survival - and he's done it without any real money. I just hope the form goes through to next season, and that will only happen if the club backs his plans.
“If the board can't match his expectations, there's always a fear that he may move somewhere that will back him. The fans have backed the club all the way, they have stuck by the club more than a lot of other fans would, but the board have got to show their own ambition now.”
The club will operate a cap on season tickets of 20,000 leaving only 1,700 still available with over six weeks still left of the current season.
The latest sales show the Carrow Road attendance bubble is far from bursting as the club and its current management team will look towards a promotion push next season.
“It seems to be down to a mixture of the Glenn Roeder factor and the reaffirmation of the football club with its supporters,” said the club's director of sales and marketing Andrew Cullen. “The sales give us some certainty as to the budgets for next year, so when Glenn sits down with the board, they will have an idea of what is available.
“It doesn't mean he has oodles of cash, as it is a similar season ticket base to last season, but if we had lost 3,000 or 4,000 season ticket holders, it would have had a big impact on our income.
“Other Championship clubs may lose fans, but that is not what has happened at Norwich. People will still be coming to see us next year and we will have some certainty when the board sits down to decide its budgets for next season, including the playing budget.
“In the context of this season, it is a remarkable achievement and is a credit to the supporters' belief in the football club.”