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Why Norwich City’s financial clout is only one part of the story at the club’s annual general meeting

07:29 25 November 2014

Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett will be part of the club

Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett will be part of the club's board at Tuesday's annual meeting. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant

Norwich City’s fiscal health will be lauded at Tuesday’s annual general meeting but PADDY DAVITT outlines why the focus is firmly on the pitch.

Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett said it best of all when the Canaries unveiled another healthy set of financial figures from their most recent accounting period.

Judged in purely fiscal terms, Norwich City is in the strongest position they have been at any time in their proud history. City’s revenue in the year ending June 30 2014 was £95.5m. Profits, after tax, were £6.7m, a figure distorted somewhat by a reduction in performance-related costs due to City’s relegation from the Premier League after a three-year flirtation.

But Bowkett, chief executive David McNally and first team manager Neil Adams all know the focus at this evening’s annual meeting is firmly on the pitch, not in the boardroom or on the balance sheet.

City’s corporate excellence offered fertile conditions to try and minimise the damage from top flight relegation, but a positive start to the fightback has stalled abruptly during recent months.

Adams can expect funds to trade again in January to inject fresh momentum into a campaign rich in early promise. The City boss was rightly feted for his ability to limit the close season turbulence and mould a new-look squad with a refreshing outlook to winning games and entertainment. Now many question whether he is the right man for the job on the back of one league victory in the last nine.

That is the vicious nature of top level management; where short-termism is the prevalent culture and Adams’ relative inexperience or the board’s wisdom in appointing him to the top job is routinely questioned.

Neither were an issue when City sat top of the Championship prior to the first international break of the season, but what has gone before will not insulate Adams or the Canaries’ top brass from criticism.

Norwich’s productivity where it really matters has dropped alarmingly, which is why a set of accounts that encompass increased revenues and profit formally presented to shareholders this evening only tells part of the story.

Supporters trooping away from Carrow Road after Saturday’s 3-3 Championship draw against lowly Brighton crave good news on the pitch; the feelgood factor from a Gary Hooper match-winner or a John Ruddy shut-out will sustain them far more than headline numbers on a balance sheet confirming the long-stated goal of clearing the club of external debt has been successfully achieved.

Norwich’s ascent through the leagues brought financial rewards which McNally and his executive team have harnessed to the Canaries’ benefit, but there is a reason why City’s summer transfer activity was geared to plotting an instant return. The path to sustainability and self-sufficiency is simply not possible in the Football League, with its drastically reduced revenue and broadcast streams.

“Due to our strong balance sheet we are able to totally focus on planning our return to the Premier League,” said Bowkett, speaking to the club’s official site following the the latest set of accounts. “We believe we have the human and financial resources to achieve this.”

City now possess an enviable financial infrastructure in their bid to sustain a concerted promotion push, certainly compared to their Championship rivals, but they are failing where it matters at present.

Adams and Norwich’s board have set the bar high. Promotion is the premium standard, and that is the true measure supporters will judge them over these coming months.

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26 comments

  • Given we were just about debt free before getting promoted to the Premiership ahead of schedule, plus at that time the board were expecting to get relegated, I would hope that failure to get instant promotion should not see us return into debt. We all want a return to the big stage but the most important thing is to stop the slide back to oblivion, division one.

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    TrevorKeith

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • In a nutshell the agm told us there is no external debt, the board is committed to an early return to the PL and Stephen Fry is a great ambassador for the club. What more did we expect?

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • From what I have witnessed of late, NA isn't going to get to spend any money in January and a good job too judging from his previous purchases. Clueless stubborn man who refuses to accept that he's made a mistake even when 26000 fans can see it clearly!

    Report this comment

    baguio

    Wednesday, November 26, 2014

  • Be saturday 3:00 pm soon enough. Then shall we see

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Adams is the Manager appointed by Mc Nally and approved by the board...to get us back to the PL. Adam's is a first time manger so we get support for Adams in the Name of Joe Royal...JR leaves....why have we not got replacement support for NA...as a first time manager.

    Report this comment

    Chirpy 'Yellow'

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • The Board ARE to be congratulated for putting the Club on a good financial foundation at last. But , how long can this last as a middle of the table Championship side? One would venture that with the loss of T.V. Revenues and when the parachute payments expire, then the cost base of this Club will be unsustainable. Even if the Supporters keep the faith and continue to fill the Carrow Road, which would be unlikely. The Board must recognise this , surely? They have to gamble big and soon on a rebound season back into the Premiership, or else. Or else everything will have to change. No money for player purchases, no cash to support a huge squad and no cash for "star player" wages. The only way would be to sell off assets. Assets like the kind of talent which COULD get us back into the big game. Assets like Redmond, Tettey and anyone else that with their sale will generate revenue and lower the cost base as their wages will be paid by someone else and cheaper hopefuls can be brought in as replacements. The true intent of this Board will only be revealed when the transfer window reopens. If they sell big and buy cheap then they have settled for Championship mediocrasy; if they buy in some talent and can retain what we have then perhaps they have true ambition for this Club. As it is there are too many unanswered questions about the Board appointment of Neil Adams, the inexperienced Manager brought in to see us to promotion, to give any Supporter confidence in their motives.

    Report this comment

    kenfoggo

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • The much maligned board have only gone and done exactly what McNally's long-term described. The external debt is cleared and we are building for the future with the academy but it said that we might suffer a relegation on the way to establishing ourselves in the top flight. All that has happened (apart from establishing ourselves in the top flight) and also ahead of the paln which did not include back-to-back promotions. If I was running the club I would be breathing huge sigh of relief about the finances and knuckling down to getting the first team rocking. This might take another manager, it will take more money but money isn't everything. Please let us use Southampton as our model not QPR. I am as frustrated as anyone about the way we are playing now but it can change. My CEO took a bold gamble to get us to punch above our weight and now we are all paying for the failure with 500 jobs lost on my site alone. Right now caution looks good to me.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • The bar is set so high, a dachshund could trip over it.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • By "Limiting the close season turbulence" does he mean keeping our premier players at the club? Sadly Ruddy has lost form, Hooper doesn't get a game and Olsson has lost form and gets too many starts.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • What's a "Big Chander"? Is it anything similar to a chunderer by any chance?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Rvw is still our player bring him back give him a go he can't do any worse than what we have pair him with hoops could be a good pairing in the championship justa thought otbc

    Report this comment

    pete22

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Crikey the negativity on here is almost overwhelming. Get a grip on yourselves you so-called Norwich 'supporters'. It's almost as if you all would prefer the club to be in deep debt with the bank threatening to foreclose. Jeez!

    Report this comment

    Mellow_Yellow

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Surrey Canary: it is both! The squad which was feted as being the best in the Championship has proved unfounded because so many players are either making basic errors, failing to concentrate or forget their roles. Some also hardly seem good enough for the Championship. On the other hand the team fails to function as a unit which is the fault of the manager and coaching staff. Even an average squad, well drilled and motivated, would be far more able. That has been proved time and again at various clubs (including ours under PL). The Board must also bear responsibility for on-pitch failings. Having stated its intention to "bounce straight back" they then appoint a rookie manager. I feel these are the factors that have conspired to create the present downward spiral.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • it is time for adams to go. he has reached the end of his credibility and knowledge as a manager. it is also time for ruddy to be pushed aside as he is getting worse weekly. the signings adams made has not improved the club and we must not sit back any longer. big chanders are needed now.

    Report this comment

    AOTWAY@BTINTERNET.COM

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Now we are going to gove Adams even more Money to waste???? jeeeez! Have we learnt nothing???

    Report this comment

    Norwegian Canary

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Can anyone say that any of adams buys have been a success. Unless the situation improved dramatically he is not to be entrusted with wasting any more money

    Report this comment

    Canaryinslovenia

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • The fact that everyone is talking about the need to buy in January sums up the significance of the problems. A squad was created in the summer for promotion - it is clearly not performing as a Championship winning squad. Either they are not good enough or they are under-performing. Either way it is indicative of wrong decisions having been made. A glimmer of hope is that Hooper scored on Saturday - good timing for him with Phelan coming in. What is clear is that here we are, a third into the season, and there isn't yet clarity what our best back four is, or our best striker combination. Seems as though Howsen has risen to the occasion - future captain?.

    Report this comment

    Surrey Canary

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Its a shame, that despite making sackfulls of money, us mere supporters are still paying the highest season ticket prices in the Championship and yet being served up relegation football right now.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • When you look at the 100s of millions spent by Liverpool and Sours in the summer and look at their positions in the league you see that money doesn't always buy success. Southampton have been best with their academy and seeing Josh sitting on the bench week after week is wrong. It must be worse for him seeing Jacob playing and scoring for Blackpool. They may be bottom but at least he's playing. Think the board should look to the pitch if they want to maintain their million pound a year salaries.

    Report this comment

    Bogaz John

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Steely, my understanding was the distortion was higher due to the lack of win bonuses paid out last season (sadly). That was how it was explained in the published accounts.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Glad to see they've got the finances under control maybe they should make a bid for Aviva and forget about football, product adjustment so to speak. (can't be a'sed to see if I've spelt Aviva correctly)

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Well said DT too. How right you are. It's a tight circle at the top, don' cha know?

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Totally agree with Steely. If anything brings back Brewer it will be the picture at the top!

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Agree with DT. Paddy has written one or two good articles recently but this is not among them. One comment that makes no sense to me is that the profit was distorted by a drop in performance related costs. Distorted higher or lower ? A reduction in costs would result in higher profit. Maybe LincsStats can make some sense of it. Also panning forward a year how much is our profit going to be distorted by the loss of some £60m in tv income ?

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • The club's finances might be sound but that does not make us an equivalent to Chelsea or Man City at Champ level. Look at the announcement that accompanied the release of last years accounts and it is clear our January transfer activity will be on a trading basis, that is to say money spent will need to be recouped by sales. If we sell Redmond for £10m then that will allow a splurge on one marquee signing or perhaps a bunch of lower profile individuals who can help those already here. If by January results have picked up then the board can gift Adams the money to spend as he sees fit. Their dilemma if he is not delivering on the pitch will be if they want him to go on a spree or hold on to the cash and decide what to do end season.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

  • Another article to plant the EDP's tongue further up the @rse of our board. They may as well have submitted that and just left the few minor mentions of disgruntlement with Adams out of it.

    Report this comment

    DT

    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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

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