Munby fears for the worst

Norwich City chairman Roger Munby has admitted the club would be foolish to ignore the potential impact of Championship relegation.

Norwich City chairman Roger Munby yesterday admitted the club would be foolish to ignore the potential impact of Championship relegation.

Munby's reality check came on the day Norwich announced a 3.6% increase on season ticket prices for the 2007/08 season.

The Canaries' chairman described a drop into English's football third tier as an 'absolute worst case scenario', but revealed Norwich must plan for the inevitable financial implications.

“It's a fearful prospect,” he said. “However, if we chose to ignore it the club would be burying its head in the sand. No one can accuse us of being complacent and it is not something anyone would want to stomach.

“People point to the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa many years ago and Notts Forest more recently. Ultimately a club settles at a level. It's my belief that is the Premier League - which is a view shared by the manager.

“If we were relegated then, of course, we would have to assess how many tickets we could sell and the overall detrimental impact on our commercial activity.

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“The club is undeniably going through a crossroads at this moment in time but we will resolve this and come through the other side.”

With Norwich currently languishing in 17th place, Munby confirmed the club could also have to budget for a potential estimated £6 million loss in Premiership parachute payments next season following the Canaries 2005 top flight relegation.

“Undeniably that is an issue we must address,” he said. “It would have a cost impact throughout the club because we need to balance our costs and manage them according to our revenues. At the same time I believe we have other areas of the business which are capable of growth, which is a testament to the work going on at the club.

“Some might say we are obsessed with off-the-pitch activities - and we are - but solely for the reputation and the profitability that those bring to the club. You can call it financial scenario planning. We must budget for a variety of situations.”

Norwich would also miss out on a share of next season's re-negotiated Premiership broadcasting deal should Peter Grant's squad fail to mount a late Championship promotion push.

Munby refused to be drawn on whether the club would be forced to cash in on prized asset Robert Earnshaw.

“It's a hypothetical question,” he said. “The board would not intervene in that matter - it would be for Robert, his advisors and Peter Grant to discuss. Ultimately the decision rests with the player, as was the case with Dean Ashton who felt his future lay elsewhere.

“Should Robert wish to leave in the future the board can assure everyone we would firstly negotiate the best deal we could for the club and, secondly, the money we receive would be invested on bringing in the best replacements.”