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Norwich City supporters get an apology from the chairman at lively annual general meeting

06:00 26 November 2014

Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Michael Bailey turns the spotlight on Tuesday night’s Norwich City Football Club annual general meeting at Carrow Road

Dealing with the past and looking to the future – Norwich City’s shareholders attempted to reconcile both during Tuesday night’s annual general meeting at Carrow Road.

The Norfolk Lounge was busy, and the audience was far from disengaged. Nor were they aggressive. It was more pointed jousting with the intent of reminding those current custodians of the Canaries that the lessons demanded by fans must be learned if the club is to continue in rude health – at least in terms of its balance sheet.

Even the formalities were challenged – something that began with debate over the absent Stephen Fry’s re-election to the City board. The much-loved Norfolk star apologised for his absence as he filmed his latest project in a secret location. It was left to those present to justify his commercial influence and results on City’s behalf – and that duly found a comfortable vote for his return to the board, minus a clutch of dissenting hands.

It was just the one dissenting hand as chief executive David McNally found his own board position renewed.

Financial director Sam Gordon’s final address before she heads off for a new challenge away from the Canaries brought warm applause and tribute – warmth that continued as City’s financial position was relaid, still radiating their Premier League income and promises of a sustainable reality as the fallow Championship incomes start to bite.

“The future isn’t rosy but it is manageable,” said chairman Alan Bowkett. “Our income has collapsed, but we can survive. We have the financial resources for (manager) Neil Adams to produce automatic promotion and going forward, we won’t be entering into the financial difficulties of a few years ago.”

Back came the past. Bowkett apologised for last season’s relegation: “We feel we’ve let you down. We should not have been relegated. And our current Championship position is not where we want to be.”

McNally was at it too, vowing last season was his “biggest failure in 32 years of work”, where the “tragedy” of relegation affected those at the club and supporters for many months.

“Humiliating,” he added, on a subject many would like to lay to rest with promotion at the earliest opportunity – and as was reiterated on numerous occasions in underlined tone: “That earliest opportunity is this season.”

All questions were answered by either Bowkett, McNally or Adams – the latter answering with the poise you would expect from someone who dealt with supporters over the phone for years. Even when there was disagreement, things held together.

And that was a noticeable change from the same place last season – when the board took hold of the financial issues, and left Chris Hughton to fend for himself on the footballing tribulations.

This time around, the coverage and responsibility between manager and board was fair and even.

Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones, Stephan Phillips and Michael Foulger were all in attendance on the top table. All kept it to a watching brief.

No questions appeared on toilets, pies, big screens or gimmicks – this time there was more than enough football debate to keep everyone ticking over, apart from those who found their window for a question expired by time.

While the club is now entirely external debt free, a £3.6m overdraft will help tied the club over as they adjust to Championship life – albeit for what they hope will be a short period of time.

From a season of relegation, McNally’s £367,000 bonus also came into question from one shareholder – a bonus paid on pre-agreed financial and personal targets, and short of the football-related part that everyone concerned at City missed out on following that wretched year.

From a list of 24 names, to a shortlist of seven, then a seriously considered trio to the one final candidate – all in the space of two days: It will be Mike Phelan’s first day of work as first-team coach at City on Thursday. For the board and McNally, he is the “best in class” coach City were missing. The man “to help us win the league”.

Come the same time, same place, same shareholders next year, everyone will be hoping such words prove more prophetic than last time.

Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey

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47 comments

  • Hi, fans. To CanaryWest I say - I was probably standing on the River End Terrace before you were spawned. To Steely I say - quite right! Replica shirts are naif for all but prepubescent types. Btw; I am in therapy for my pogonophobia.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

  • Norwich outclassed yet again today, this time by Reading. What's the apology for? For being what they are? Which is of course just a less than ordinary club.

    Report this comment

    NB

    Saturday, November 29, 2014

  • I agree with you Swiss. The finances may survive one year outside the PL but a second year will be meltdown time. The club will have to go cap in hand to Mr. McN. for a loan.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

  • The financial situation is OK, for now, but when the parachute payments fade away we will be in Ipswich territory again. David McN got his bonus for achieving the financial targets, well if that was the agreement so be it, a contract is a contract, but the future will get much tougher very quickly unless we get promoted. That the players took a 40% cut and most stayed is great but if we hang around in the Championship for more than this season, things will change quickly. That we are claong an EBITDA of 31% is great, the average football club is 12%, but this is a poor measure for comparing clubs as they seem to vary greatly depending on the desire of the owner to plug the holes that are leaking cash. I don't think that the overdraft is a worry as it is providing working capital and we seem to have it more than covered by cash in hand, and probably in McNally's top draw. The financial position is OK but is not sustainable in the Championship. Promotion or bust, literally.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

  • It was the usual AGM drivel and platitudes. I'm glad the finances are okay and I pray NA can get stop the on field rot with Phelan's help, and we spend the cash wisely from Redmond's sale. But then again I believe that one day I might win the Lottery.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

  • Personally, I like a gamble, and as such that's why Adams was my first choice out of all the names in the hat. 10 weeks ago it was looking like a blindingly good choice, with plenty of points under the belt and some terrific displays on the pitch. Move on a bit and it's gone a bit flat, but by and large there hasn't been much really bad about the play and, as I said on another thread, this season is mirroring our last promotion-winning season in the Championship very well. Mike Phelan joining the coaching team with his pedigree is a real coup for the club, Mr Hooper is up and running giving more attacking options, Mr R Bennett is coming back online giving more options in shoring up an admittedly brittle defence at the moment. There's plenty to be optimistic about and hopefully the resurgence will start this weekend. As a wise man once said, never mind the danger, on the ball city.

    Report this comment

    LittleYellowBirdie

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

  • If the board had sacked Hughton thirteen months ago, waclor, they would not have needed to look far for a replacement because the man who replaced him with five games to go was already employed by the club. Knowing what we know now we can only speculate how that would have ended. Now, as this board tends to do, we have another rookie experiment ongoing and its anyones guess when they will call it a day. Right now Pulis is on standby. Leave it a while longer and Phelan could step forward as the next experiment. Still curious about that overdraft announcement. £3.6m to tied us over? That's a kind of debt isn't it, although I admit to never having read a book on business, gruff. And if we fail to gain promotion? Increase the debt - sorry overdraft? It all comes down to how much our debt free status depended on PL football and I suspect the board is more desperate for promotion than it is letting on.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

  • Before you throw too much abuse at the board, you have to be a bit objective about their role. It was about thirteen months ago that the mumblings of a few fans calling for Hughton's sacking became the clamour of a majority. You do however have to consider who the replacement would have been then. Appointing a new manager is easy isn't it? Look how well man U are at it and think how much they won between Busby and Ferguson. I think there were six or seven managers between these two, all of whom were sacked. I have often said that there are only three men who have managed more than one club to the top of the highest league in England and they were Chapman, Clough and Dalgleish. Just because a manager has a good record does not mean he would be good at Norwich.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • The German model is the way football clubs should be run: by fans and for fans. The Bundesliga has big clubs, well run and sensibly managed and financed. They have always spent within their means and many of their stadia are huge, enabling them to keep admission charges down, allowing ordinary fans to afford to continue watching their teams. This model has over the years enabled the likes of Bayern to become one of the true giants of European football. It has taken time but it has worked and I am sure German football will continue to grow and flourish under these conditions.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Thanks for the advice Mellow Yellow. Sadly where I work failure doesn't earn a bonus. No wonder there's no desire from the exec for success on the pitch if that's how they are rewarded. I'm not happy even if you are, it's a flippion disgrace.

    Report this comment

    Bookface

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Nice one Lincs----don't forget in this so important season they actually gave him a THREE YEAR CONTRACT

    Report this comment

    superfan59

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • If Mike Phelan is the "best in class" coach why was he not brought in instead of Robson before the start of the season? He was available

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • What an unlucky little fellow Mr. McNally is.Only a Bonus of £367,000 for his biggest failure in 32 years.This was the man who would prefer death to relegation if you remember.Instead, he receives a life changing sum of money for it.I shall anxiously wait to learn of the Charity that he will be donating this sum to.

    Report this comment

    irongloves

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Gruff - I have also been thinking the same.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • When the accounts were first published it made mention of one director earning £1.6 million. I'm not sure if that includes or excludes his £370k bonus. Let's remember that he used to be a banker. Brew is not in the picture and he would never wear a replica football shirt. No beard either. Too old to be Mattias.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Nor question each others pay outs, for obvious reasons..

    Report this comment

    Gruff

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Oh don't be negative Lincs, if you read a book on business you'd know that everyone at board level will rarely undermine each other nor appear divided in front of the pl**bs

    Report this comment

    Gruff

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Mellow Yellow...that's quite funny, If I remember correctly you have been fighting negativity and and as of late uttering your platitudes for as long as Chrissy was in charge. I don't remember you from happier times.. I remember you as a fully paid up member of the church going Zealots of those dark days.. So we've gone from a good a fighting unit with a brilliant showing in the prem to where we are now in 3 seasons. You don't want any negativity? Is that saved for teams in League 1? Try not be too abrasive with any comments as you might be mistaken for a metamorphosed tea lady..

    Report this comment

    Gruff

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Bowkett says our future isn't rosy, income has collapsed, but we can survive. Oh, btw we now have a £3.6m overdraft. And the chief exec got a fat bonus and the players a pay cut. Well hang on, I thought that even if results on the pitch were awry we at least had healthy finances as succour. Enough to provoke outrage at the agm you might think but apparently not, just a few awkward questions about Stephen Fry. So we move on with owners in control who have delivered just four top flight seasons, 14 in the Chump and even one in the third flight for the first time since the days of Ron Ashman.Before that, during the "bad old days", in 24 years since Ron Saunders took us to Div One, we spent 20 years out of 24 in the top flight. Anyway, back to the mysterious overdraft (wasn't that Chases undoing?) and why? Obvious really. We have lost PL tv money which is what paid off our debt. PL status was lost because the board dithered over Hughton then, with their man still 5 pts clear of the drop zone, sacked him. His temporary replacement so impressed in securing 1 point from 15 they gave him the job permanently and now we expect an ex Man U coach to turn round the season. To those who say the club is in safe hands be very afraid. We are back in debt and run by the same people who delivered us Div One football. Next time there may not be a Lambert.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • C West, how ever long Phelan lasts for, think we all agree its a bit of a coup for us to get him and has boosted our spirits.

    Report this comment

    Jimhow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Dont get too excited about Mike Phelan's appointment guys. Remember how optimistic we all were when Joe Royal joined us? How long did THAT last? Well, who is to say Phelan will be here any longer if he does not like what he sees or if a bigger fish comes calling.

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Morgan's_tight_pants dont be daft. Mad Brewer does not actually ever go to Carrow Road.

    Report this comment

    CanaryWest

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Pondlife

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Michael. Please check your usage. Relaid?

    Report this comment

    Pondlife

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • I believe it's unfair for anyone to criticise fans for having conflicting views. Most Boards must envy our fan base..Carrow Road is full for every game and I'm sure would remain so if we increased capacity. This is the same whether we are in the prem or Division 1. Just because some have contrasting views to the Board doesn't stop them from supporting their club with their hard earned. I feel a bit for Adams now..If results don't pick up (and fast) he'll be out of a job..If they do pick up, the credit will go to Phelan! I just hope, one way or another we can turn this around and get a run of results before the new year. Otherwise I can see one or two players leaving without the ash being reinvested. I genuinely believe we must get pronoted this season, otherwise we will have to settle for chump mediocrity for years until we find another miracle worker to take the hot seat

    Report this comment

    Irish canary

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Victor - over a million mate for our great failure leader , about 7x the prime ministers pay, frankly it's absolutely disgusting . The Board should be ashamed of themselves, sack the parasitic lot

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Victor - over a million mate for our great failure leader , about 7x the prime ministers pay, frankly it's absolutely disgusting . The Board should be ashamed of themselves, sack the parasitic lot

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • The word bonus infers that McNally gets a salary as well ? How much does he take out of the club in a relegation season? £367,000 plus ?????????

    Report this comment

    The original Victor Meldrew

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Living in North Wales i do not see as much live football now as i used to, although a season ticket holder for some years the 600 hundred mile round trip to CR is now a little beyond me, so i now manage to get my Norwich City kicks (excuse the pun ) on here. Everyone has a right to express opinions we all have them, but over the last month or so the negativity has really got to me, i know not all in the garden is rosy but it will turn around just a little patience is required, i believe the appointment of Mike Phelan to be a positive step in the right direction, it will give all concerned a boost over the busy Christmas period, and hopefully some new faces in January. I am not lacking in ambition but would prefer to be a good Championship Club than the whipping boys of the Premiership, i am sure we can soon strike the right balance, finally i read a very interesting article on Sunday by Harry Rednapp regarding Southampton's scouting system and how impressive and productive its been this is the kind of blue print we should strive to copy with no better person to lead us than N. A, who will know what young talent we have and when to fully blood them, again with the knowledge of M. P. i still think we are only a fraction off course. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Colwyn Canary

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Can't we just get rid of Stephen Fry? His ego is bigger than the club and what does he bring to it? Apart from an abscence and a swallowing of the dictionary. Yes, I am a shareholder!

    Report this comment

    shareholder

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Interesting mention of McNally’s £367,000 bonus. I wouldn't mind that kind of a bonus scheme myself !

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • I've always envisaged MB with a beard

    Report this comment

    Mikado Kember

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • The man in the home strip in the photo above is either Matt333 or Mad Brewer.

    Report this comment

    Morgan's_tight_pants

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Bookface.....read a few more books. I suggest from the 'Business' section of you local library.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • malaga......couldn't agree more. Opinions are always welcome but they do need to be based on fact. Otherwise they are just heresay, pointless gossip and-or rumour. Too many posts here fall into that category.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • £367k bonus for guiding us to relegation !!!

    Report this comment

    Bookface

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • malaga......I couldn't agree more. I just wish those who feel the need to constantly criticise and twist every word reported based their opinions on fact rather than the first thing that comes into their head. Also this tendency to knee-jerk and call for scalps as soon as we have a bad run of results is nothing but short-sighted.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Chirpy - we did have the 5th cheapest 'most expensive' ST last year in the Prem? And only 1 of 2 clubs that actually reduced prices from the previous season ........... works both ways to quote statistics. Hopefully there was a discussion at the AGM, it is an important topic

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Fantastic that our finances are so great !! Can I ask if a discussion took place on season ticket prices ? Why is the board agreeing to charge 46% above the championship average ? The current foot balling events are important...but should it be at such a cost to supporters ?

    Report this comment

    Chirpy 'Yellow'

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Agreed Malaga flier

    Report this comment

    JB

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Some people read comments and criticisms as negative but I think most are fair and reflective of the problems that nobody can say do not exist! While we may not always agree with view expressed here it is healthy for fans to have somewhere to exercise their right of expression. in the past football chatter and gossip would have been conducted in the pub. So fans opinions have always been part of the game. Always was thus. So let's not get at each other's throats. After all the bottom line is we are all Norwich fans and want the same thing - a successful club on and off the pitch.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • TK.....it took about 1 week to replace Robson didn't it? I don't see that as being lengthy at all given that arrangements would needed to be made, interviews had, and contracts drawn-up. I personally think it was a very decisive and swift appointment.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Congratulations Mellow Yellow on being the first with a totally negative post.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • A bit surprised with the statement that despite being debt free, the club has a £3.6m overdraft. Given all the high cost player sales, I thought we would have a flood of cash right now. However, I am sure the board know what they are doing business wise. Just a shame that it has taken so long to replace Robson as I fear Phelan will need at least a couple of weeks to get to grips with his particular task at the club.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Mellow I can well understand your cynicism and for sure it will appear. The only question I would have asked had I been there is why doesn't NA employ Josh more and why is he following his predecessor with either too late or non appearance of subs. I think Mike Phelan will be the missing link to a more professional attitude on the pitch. I hope the players take note!

    Report this comment

    Bogaz John

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • I suspect that within 10 minutes of me posting this the usual names will infect this page with their daily dose of negativity, criticism, and limp deadpan humour.

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • While I admire the Board for its financial management I don't pay as much heed nor feel comfortable with some of its footballing pronouncements and decisions. I hope Phelan has, however, been a good and appropriate appointment. Time will tell.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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

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