Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones back Alex Neil to the hilt at Norwich City
PUBLISHED: 09:40 05 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:35 05 November 2016
Norwich City’s majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones insist Alex Neil is the right man to plot a Championship promotion push.
Neil and his squad aim to bounce back from last weekend’s humiliating 5-0 defeat at Brighton when they face Leeds United on Saturday at Carrow Road.
Smith and Wynn Jones, in a wide-ranging interview covering their passion for the Canaries, which they will eventually hand over to nephew and director Tom Smith, and the state of English football, told the Times Neil can count on their full support.
The pair revealed they visited the away dressing room at the Amex Stadium last weekend to offer their backing to Neil following the heaviest defeat of his managerial career.
“Alex was devastated,” said Wynn Jones. “We really believe in him. He can be (intense) but he’s an absolute charmer. He’s really intelligent.”
Smith added: “My dream is to have a manager for ten years. If we could do that it would be wonderful. If I had my way now I’d give him all the time he needs. I would. But you see in football, now . . . we’re fourth, and they (fans) want us out. And him out. We’re fourth. It’s amazing.”
Smith confirmed they intend to pass their majority shareholding to their nephew in the future.
“The supporters will be very disappointed to hear that. But no way will we sell. We don’t even listen to any enquiries,” she said. “Our nephew, Tom, is now a board director. He’s 35. He’s a very good board director. He’s a very passionate Norwich City supporter and he will be the recipient of our shares.”
Smith is in no doubt the vast sums of money fuelling the Premier League is changing the game.
“Football in England is not looked after,” she says. “You could put all the problems back to the creation of the Premier League. There’s all that Premier League money washing into people’s pockets and going back out to Europe, not into here because we’re buying foreign players.
“I fear that (the game is losing its soul). I really do feel for supporters. They’re treated so badly. They book their hotel rooms and get cheap prices for their travel tickets in advance. Bang. Oh, that game’s not on that day any more. The average age of a supporter goes up and up. Families have to share a season ticket: one child can go one week, and another the next because they can’t afford it. I’d love to see supporters worshipped and respected because otherwise it’s going to end up on television.”