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The decisions made now by the board will define Norwich City’s future

PUBLISHED: 20:00 20 March 2017

Norwich Chairman Ed Balls gives Media interviews on the restructuring of Norwich City Football Club before the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich
Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267

Norwich Chairman Ed Balls gives Media interviews on the restructuring of Norwich City Football Club before the Sky Bet Championship match at Carrow Road, Norwich Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd +44 7904 640267 18/03/2017

©Focus Images Limited +447814 482222

It was an unusual feeling as I waited for the train to Norwich on Saturday.

I wasn’t looking forward to the game. I just felt empty.

Barring a miracle, City’s hopes of making the play-offs this season are over. It was a game of little consequence.

I’m also disappointed with the players for performing so poorly that the manager has been sacked.

The two goals we scored barely raised a smile from me. I don’t think I was alone in my apathy – the atmosphere at Carrow Road matched the dull, low-key fare on the pitch.

Hours before kick-off, the club had announced how it would be structured in the future.

This sparked chatter about who would be the sporting director, how much say the head coach will have on transfer targets and whether this model has ever worked in this country before.

The trouble is, the answer to all of those questions as fans is that we don’t know.

We won’t have a say on who gets what job, and with the definition of the sporting director role, there’s a strong chance few of us will have heard of the person that eventually fills it.

We’ll never know if the head coach has much of a say on player recruitment because such matters are never publically disclosed.

As for whether this structure has ever worked in English football, that’s a topic for the pub and has no definitive answer.

I have no idea if this model will work, but I’m willing to give it a try.

I don’t know who should take on these jobs. My overriding feeling is of worry. The decisions the board make in the spring of 2017 could determine whether we are Championship mid-table mediocrity – or worse – for the next decade or back in the Premier League.

There’s a lot at stake and I live in hope they get it right.

Until there are people in place, I think it is inevitable that the actual football will feel like an irrelevant sideshow.

That empty feeling will remain with me on matchdays while this season stumbles towards its conclusion.


  • The problem remains as over past 20 years. Owners with their own personal interests above the success of the club have put together a board of friends and family who do not vote against them and run the club as a dictatorship. This on its own is worrying but when added to the fact that the collective knowledge of the board on modern day football is virtually zero and they and they alone are going to make this apparently crucial appointment, which could end in another epic fail to match the past 2 seasons.

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    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

  • While we have to accept the reality that only a handful of clubs can end up being promoted or win a cup, what has made this season hard to bear has been the level of expectation again the actual levels of performance. Other clubs look enviously at our squad on which An was reputed to have spent £55 million. Yet AN and his squad have not just under-performed but at times, especially away from home, failed to perform at all. And that has been the real worry - the lack of effort, belief and commitment are unacceptable at any level. We don't expect everyone to be on top form all season and fans can accept below par levels of technique. But there can be absolutely no excuse for the kind of weak surrenders the loyal away fans have had to endure in the last two years. Whoever takes over as sporting director and head coach need to sort out and remove those with the wrong attitudes. That should be the first step towards stabilising the dressing room and the club. From there it is a question of deciding the way we play and seeking the players who will carry out their requirements. No ifs. No buts. Discipline is needed along with encouragement especially for the best younger players who I hope at long last this club will see as having a future here rather than being loanees and then moved on.

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    malaga flier

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

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