The seven years are nearly up so what’s the new plan for Norwich City?

06:18 06 August 2015

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is relaxed about his Premier League bow. 
Picture: Antony Kelly.

Norwich City manager Alex Neil is relaxed about his Premier League bow. Picture: Antony Kelly.

Archant Norfolk 2015

Remember the seven-year plan?

Revealed by chief executive David McNally shortly after he joined the club, it outlined the expected direction of travel for the Canaries in the forthcoming years. Well, how time flies, as Norwich City are about to enter the final season of that period.

And a look back at the ambitions outlined in December 2010 shows that, on the face of it, McNally and Co can be pleased with the job they have done.

The plan was already a year old when he used the club’s latest accounts to reveal its existence.

Target one, promotion from League One, had already been secured. After that it allowed for three seasons of consolidation in the Championship, a Premier League season with instant relegation and then an immediate leap back. Year seven, therefore, was supposed to be the season the club, free from its debts, started to establish itself as a top-flight side.

In reality, supporters have been treated to even better fortunes than that, with 2015/16 about to become season four out of the last seven in the top flight, as opposed to the expected season two.

Ultimately, however, the year seven ambition remains the same – this is the season Norwich City needs to become an established top-flight club.

The recent three-year stint in the Premier League so very nearly put City in that position. However, a combination of poor tactics, duff signings, a delay in taking an action at board level and even, as Russell Martin admitted, a bit of complacency, saw that progress come shuddering to a halt.

But now is the time Norwich City needs to go from one of English football’s yo-yo teams and follow the likes of Swansea and Southampton, rather than Hull and QPR.

Not every fan will agree with that, one would imagine. It was clear last season that some people rather enjoyed the Championship – possibly even more than the league above it.

But to my mind, give those people two or three consecutive years of it and they, along with so many others, may change that opinion – perhaps even drift away from their regular pilgrimage to Carrow Road.

I want my side to pit itself against the best teams in the country. To work towards a situation where a cup final (and another day at Wembley of course) or a stint of European football (I’d welcome some Europa League action) becomes a possibility.

I’ll throw in one extra caveat while I’m in the mood – let’s see Norwich City play the right way as well.

There’s no doubt in my mind Alex Neil will lean more towards the Paul Lambert, inset, method of tackling the big boys, as opposed to Chris Hughton’s.

Under Hughton the players became stifled by negativity, playing to defend in the hope a bonus goal might steal three points.

There are fantastic teams and players in this league, but City’s best tactic is to have the self-belief they can go toe-to-toe with them. Let’s hope this is a season of good, positive and entertaining football.

Belief gets you so far – we need the talent too, and in that respect this squad still needs a centre back and a striker as a pressing concern. Sort that out, Mr Neil, and it’s good to go.

Priority number one for the new season – and no doubt at the very top of McNally’s new seven-year plan – is simply to be better than at least three more teams in this league. Stay in the league and we can build from there. And that’s something I firmly believe City can do.

My 2015/16 end of season league table prediction...

1 Chelsea

2 Manchester United

3 Manchester City

4 Arsenal

5 Liverpool

6 Everton

7 Southampton

8 Tottenham Hotspur

9 Stoke

10 Crystal Palace

11 West Ham

12 West Brom

13 Newcastle

14 Swansea

15 Aston Villa

16 Norwich

17 Bournemouth

18 Sunderland

19 Leicester

20 Watford


  • Thinking we will finish above West Ham this season.

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    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Yes it's time is right for Norwich to stop being a yo yo , club and invest in quality players to make city stay in the premiership long term what shall say about this board ,? Stop making bad mistakes and now we have gone from a club with no money in dept to a mulit millionnair club that are no known as a tightest club in premiership that don't like spending money. The sky money belongs to NCFC in dos not belong to the owners and the board.

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    City man

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Carrow Road is a water meadow so I imagine lowering the playing surface would be trickier than at Stamford bridge.

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    Nicholas Mead

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Bogaz .... Cooler today only 37 deg at nine o'clock.

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    Cyprus Canary

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Kent, I imagine the oblique slash is barred to prevent pasting other websites? I've never heard the club speak about a new ground? If such happened it would end up out-of-town, and risk losing alot of fans, especially those travelling by rail. And you risk losing the unique atmosphere that everyone recognises at Carrow Road. lWhat's with Archie's censorship? I added my two-penneth to who should make\miss the 25 cut, very much in-line with others, nothing inflammatory yet still not published. It must be cuz I picked CJ, BJ and Wes for the cull : ) ]

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    Reg Breeze

    Friday, August 7, 2015

  • Like everyone else, it,s nice to see a balanced report and no negatives either. With regards to ground expansion DJF, how about the Chelsea proposals. Not moving at all and lowering the playing area, and putting extra seating where the playing area was. Any civil engineers kindly contribute, because I haven,t a clue how it would work.

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    Bald Canary

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Plenty on here normally criticising the board at any and every opportunity so good to read something more balanced. The stadium conundrum is a tough one but imo as I have said many times before, I believe it's time to leave CR and build a new 32k-ish stadium much like Soton and Stoke have done. As much as I love CR, it will probably cost more to redevelop than to build anew. Big question would be where?

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    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Good comment K Anglian , but I fear CP & WBA look a bit sus , even with there experienced managers I did not like there play last season . I think NCFC will be OK this season , even if we loose a few games at the start I think AN has installed a regime of never say die and we will fight on , last season in the prem when we were loosing we just put our heads down and said thats it we've lost , as AN said give 100% and never give in

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    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Agree with you all that this is a well balanced article. Unlike Stan Collymore's article this week where he had us relegated ( as did PhiMcNulty on BBC sport today). AN will get a CB and we will survive but what an interesting season lies ahead. Warm enough Cyprus\????

    Report this comment

    Bogaz John

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • 10|12 teams - I forgot Archie's invisible slash again. Any chance of fixing this?

    Report this comment

    Kent Anglian

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • I think that you can add Stoke, Crystal Palace, West Ham and WBA to Swansea and Southampton mentioned here as clubs that are consolidating their PL status. Not sure which Newcastle or Aston Villa will 'turn up' this coming season but I broadly concur with this article. The 'lower' section of the PL used to be around 1012 teams but that is now looking more like 5 or 6 teams. To finish at the top of this 'lower' section will be good but, as this article states, we will have had two more seasons in the PL than we budgeted for over the seven season plan period and we are debt-free. There are still several more days before the transfer window shuts, so hopefully we will see a couple of new quality signings and a bit more ambition during this time. Despite our setback last year, we should be thinking more positively and look to consolidating ourselves in the 'middle' section and leaving the 'yo-yo' teams behind..

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    Kent Anglian

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • This is the kind of opinion I like to read. Good balanced article and not focussed entirely on what Norwich are NOT doing. Not a bad prediction table either. But I'd say 15th for Norwich. Villa below just for old times sake ;).

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    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • Another excellent article summarises just where we are. I was one of those who enjoyed the Championship more than our stay in the Premier League. Reason. Every week, their were no 'given' results. And as many as a dozen clubs had a chance of achieving a prize. That is what the game should be about regardless of the club you support. Proper competition. The Premier League is in name only as far as I am concerned.

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    Erpingham Tractor

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

  • If we want to establish ourselves we probably need the enlarged stadium to 30000+ but hard to do that without impacting on player signings. It is imperative to get some of our young players coming through. stability in management for a few years will be difficult as AN will be targeted if successful. Apart from the obvious blunder with inaction over CH a good job done.

    Report this comment

    Cyprus Canary

    Thursday, August 6, 2015

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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