As Norwich City Football Club releases its annual financial report, reporter David Freezer casts his eye over what the facts and figures mean to Canaries supporters.

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Key facts and figures

- Revenue up to £74.3m, from £23.1m in 2011.

- TV revenue up to £48.5m, from £5.5m in the Championship.

- Highest ever after-tax profit of £13.5m.

- External debt reduced to £11.3m.

- Spare £12.4m reinvested into player transfer fund for 2012-13 season.

- Gate receipts and ticket sales up to £11.3m, from £8.1m in 2011.

- Staff wages rise to £29.6m, up from £16.1m in 2011.

- Money owed to directors remains unchanged:

Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones still owed £2.1m.

Michael Foulger still owed £1.4m.

- Players transfers since May 31 2012 amount to £9.9m:

Includes signings of Michael Turner, Sebastian Bassong and Alexander Tettey.

Maximum of £3.4m could be due, depending on club and player performances.

Norwich City Football Club has stared into the financial abyss at least twice in the past 20 years, but the club’s board now hope they are less than a year away from freeing the club of all its external debt.

In a landmark statement of intent, Canaries chairman Alan Bowkett said last week: “I’m not going to fall into the trap that previous chairmen did of underestimating the power of the Premier League and being there.

“So we will be there next year.”

It is a bold statement to make as the Canaries are yet to win in their first seven Premier League fixtures of this season.

But Mr Bowkett and the club’s chief executive David McNally demonstrated a steely resolve at Carrow Road on Friday, as the club’s annual financial report was revealed to the media.

When the pair joined the board just over three years ago, following City’s relegation to the third tier of English football, League One, the club had debt in the region of £23m hanging around its neck.

Figures up to May of this year show that the successive promotions that fired the Canaries to the riches of the Premier League have now brought that debt down a further £5m, from £16.6m down to £11.3m.

But the Carrow Road board now have their eyes fixed on going one step further.

By the end of the current 2012-13 Premier League season they intend to have wiped another £10m from the club’s debt, which would leave the club free of external debt other than for “working capital requirements”.

Mr Bowkett emphasised that success on the pitch was the key, as survival in the Premier League is crucial to their ambition.

He said: “We are very pleased with these sets of results because it is just another step for us to take to achieve our objective to become a self-sustaining, established Premier League club.

“Once we have paid off all our debt, we run our football club as a mutual co-operative, all excess cash then, which used to pay down debt, can go into our football budget.

“We are planning to be in the Premier League next year because the finances and the management of the club has gone better than we planned and that’s thanks to all employees; management and football.”

The report reveals that in the 2011-12 financial year the club made its highest ever after-tax profit of £13.5m, compared to a loss of £3.9m the previous year and a loss of £5.8m the year before that.

Overall the club’s revenue rocketed by over £50m to £74.3m, up from 23.1m. This is largely due to receiving a huge £48.5m in broadcast money in the Premier League, up from just £5.5m when in the Championship.

Mr McNally said the club’s “football budget” is now four times bigger than when City were in League One while Mr Bowkett placed an exciting carrot on the end the stick for the club’s supporters.

The chairman said that if the plan should prove successful and all external debt is paid off this season, then he expects the club’s football expenditure to rise by a further 25pc.

The revelations almost seemed to be delivered as a rallying call to the club’s staff, players and supporters - to make sure that Premier League safety is secured.

Mr McNally said: “Seven games into the season and working with a manager who has been here such a short time, we are just aware that most of the season is ahead of us, not behind us.

“Yes of course we need to do better in the next 31 games than we have in the previous seven, of that we are absolutely aware, and that is what we are focused on.

“We are focused on trying to improve our football fortunes and staying in the Premier League, that’s the only thing that matters.

“We hope that the supporters are pleased with the financial state of the business but to supporters it’s all about success on the football field and we need to deliver on the football field this season.

“I can assure the supporters that our focus is to remain in the Premier League. That is the only focus that we have and that is the only thing that we are concentrating on 24/7.”

The importance of the club’s Premier League survival this season is emphasised even more by the further floods of riches awaiting the 20 top-flight clubs next season.

That is because the Premier League’s new TV broadcast rights contract begins, which is worth £3bn over three seasons, a massive 71pc increase on the last deal.

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  • As dragonfly says, we got lucky with the manager. Perhaps not so much how outstanding The Infamous One was but that his predecessor was so clearly way out of his depth, he just had to go. A nonsense appointment, but if Gunn had been a "so-so" manager and kept us in L1 (!!) that`s probably where we`d still be today. With lots of debt. McNally himself must take a big chunk of credit for that seemingly draconian measure of sacking a Norwich "legend". Lambert was determined to leave, whatever he and his lawyers cook up to justify suing Norwich. Hughton was clearly the best realistic choice available. Look at what he did to get Newcastle promoted back to the Prem at the first attempt, then achieved a near-miracle at Brum, a club in a mess. Hoots has a lot of pressure on him now. He could be the man who kept us in the Land of Plenty, or the one who didn`t. I feel the same way as cutty & Keith on the playing front; it`s been very disappointing so far.

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • Brew you're a scholar and a gentleman and I agree with your words of wisdom. Don't suppose you could lend me a £5 till pay day?

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • Reply to cutty ethered. I am an impoverished pre-pensioner, cutty, living off Tesco`s "reduced to Clear" shelf in a Stalhamgrad hovel. :-(

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Think MB has summed it up perfectly. Let's get that first win now and kick on!

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    Flying Canary

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • They were lucky to appoint an outstanding manager , who got them into the Premier League . The financial success is due to the broadcast rights , the money just pours in . Now they have to compete with lots of clubs , all much of a muchness . Trouble is , all the others have the same aim - to stay in the Top Division . Money isn`t everything . They`ve spent a fortune on players under CH ... time will tell .

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • Good intentions, but only results on the pitch matter and it's midend of Oct and still no win, some heavy defeats, some players who think they are better than the club and a so so manager. It ain't gonna happen unless something changes.

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • For me the season proper starts next weekend. Aim must be to remain unbeaten by the clubs around us, winning more than we draw. Financial stability is a fantastic prospect. Could UEFA fair play rules mean we end up in the Champions League?

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    Soglio Star

    Saturday, October 20, 2012

  • As a season ticket holder and a fan for over 60 years I have to say the last three season have been among the best I can remember. Just hope this despondent feeling I now have is an after party thing and after this weekend is out of the way we'll begin to have something we can cheer about.

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    Saturday, October 20, 2012

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