Two thirds of fans claim Norwich City rebate
David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn's transfer kitty has been boosted by more than �700,000 thanks to Norwich City fans who waived their right to a relegation rebate. The Canaries were faced with paying out well over �1m in refunds to season ticket-holders entitled to claim a discount after the club dropped into League One.
Manager Bryan Gunn's transfer kitty has been boosted by more than �700,000 thanks to Norwich City fans who waived their right to a relegation rebate.
The Canaries were faced with paying out well over �1m in refunds to season ticket-holders entitled to claim a discount after the club dropped into League One.
But director Michael Foulger pledged to match every penny of the rebate that went unclaimed - with all the money going into Gunn's playing budget.
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And City today revealed to the Evening News that one in three fans had decided to let the club keep the money.
City must still hand back exactly two thirds of the rebate, with �717,603 claimed out of a maximum of �1,076,907.
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But the �359,304 they saved, doubled thanks to Foulger's contribution, means Gunn will get nearly �720,000 extra to spend.
Foulger, a lifelong City fan and a director for 13 years, admitted he was “slightly disappointed” by the response to his appeal, but paid tribute to fans and promised to step up the search for new investment in the club.
He said: “I thought it may have been a bit higher, but at the end of the day, what we still have is 18,000-plus season ticket-holders showing their commitment, whether they're taking the rebate or not.
“The money goes straight to the manager's playing budget. You're talking about more than �700,000 in a League One budget.”
Gunn has made three signings as City prepare to return to training next week - midfielder Matthew Gill and defender Michael Nelson on free transfers, and midfielder Owain Tudur Jones for an undisclosed fee from Swansea.
“The three players are part of the budgeted sum we had in mind,” said Foulger.
“What we are going to do is continue looking for investment as we said at Bryan's appointment. I've still got some business contacts I'm going to tap up. You know how difficult it is for people who make pledges to commit but I'm confident there will be something there and I will continue, as I always have done, to support and back up where I can.”
Foulger also revealed that an announcement of new directors was imminent.
“It will happen very soon. We're meeting today to further that one. There is no confirmed news at the moment, but it's progressing quickly,” he said.
New chief executive David McNally praised City supporters for their loyalty despite the club's exit from the Championship.
“I'm staggered at the support we have,” he said. “To get almost 19,000 season ticket-holders following such a disappointing end to the season is incredible, so all supporters must be really thanked for their ongoing commitment in, let's face it, difficult economic times.
“We are delighted with that number. Clearly we're going to benefit from those who have not claimed their rebate and again we're really grateful for their support, as indeed we are with Michael's ongoing commitment because we are absolutely focused on one thing, which is trying to give Bryan Gunn the best possible opportunity to take this club forward and to put us in a position where we are very competitive next season.
“So we're doing everything we can to raise every extra penny, every extra pound, to help the first team squad. There are some really tough decisions being made internally to that end. We're looking at every opportunity and every avenue we can go down to try to get some extra cash to make that pot of money he has as big as we can make it.
“Clearly this is the first significant step in that direction and we've been very clear throughout that anything from the supporters at this stage, firstly, we're very grateful to receive and, secondly, is absolutely focused on the first team budget, nowhere else.”
Season ticket-holders who have claimed their rebate will start receiving their money from August. Those who bought their tickets in full will receive cheques for the rebate amount, while direct debits will be amended from August to February.
FINAL REBATE TOTALS
t Maximum possible rebate: �1,076,907.
Claimed: �717,603 (66.6 per cent).
Unclaimed: �359,304 (33.3 per cent).
t Season ticket-holders: 18,481.
Claiming rebate: 11,707 (63.3 per cent).
Not claiming: 6,774 (36.7 per cent).