Munby: Watch this space

CHRIS LAKEY Canaries chairman Roger Munby insists there are good times ahead for Canaries fans, despite the disappointments of the past two seasons and the loss of £7m in parachute payments.


Canaries chairman Roger Munby insists there are good times ahead for Canaries fans, despite the disappointments of the past two seasons and the loss of £7m in parachute payments.

City's failure to get back into the Premier League since their top-flight demise of 2005 means the parachute payments which softened that particular landing have now run out.

But Munby says money isn't everything and believes City fans have plenty to look forward to.

“I'd say to the fans, stick with it, of course - but watch this space,” he said. “I believe the football club may have some pleasant surprises in time to come. What I mean by that is a higher standing in the Championship.

“I won't put a time dimension on that, it would be stupid too, but watch our space and stay with it. Together we can go places.”

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City's board were heavily criticised in some quarters for their failure to dismiss Nigel Worthington last season, rather than leaving it until 10 games into the current Championship campaign before making changes at the top. Peter Grant came in - and fans are now waiting to see what changes he is able to make in the summer.

Money will be tight and the days of City paying £3m plus for the likes of Dean Ashton and Robert Earnshaw are, for now, gone, but Munby says City can follow the example of Reading and Watford and reach the Premiership without breaking the bank.

“To take £7m out of revenue is a challenge - we have met the challenge,” said Munby. “Peter has been on board with the challenge, and therefore with the amount of budget he has, all the way through and whilst we would love to be able to spend more he is content with that as a challenge it represents.

“When we were promoted in 2003-04 we were promoted with only the 14th highest wage bill in the Championship.

“The team who had the highest wage bill it was four times ours - and they were not promoted.

“Think of the achievements of Reading last year and Watford last year - Watford's wage bill was less than the one we were promoted with, so it is not just a matter of money means all.

“In anybody's book, in the Football League, thee Championship, Leagues One and Two, money doesn't necessarily buy success. It does in the Premier League, with the correlation between the biggest spenders and coming top or second is a perfect one. It is not the case in this league.

“What counts in this league is to be cleverer and I think we can be cleverer. We have the management talent, we also have the administrative talent with to be cleverer than most.

“I think also we have the benefit of stability and consistency. That starts with Delia and Michael, runs through the rest of the board, and includes me - this board has been together 10 years.

“Those are the components: I think clarity, confidence, feeling that you are permanently upwardly mobile and taking every step possible to be cleverer and understand the nature of the budget, being in control of things, is the way forward. All of those ingredients I am confident are in place.

“It is management, it is grip, it is certainty, it is confidence, and amongst many things that struck me this season which translates into the future is the amazing support that fans, this community of fans, have given the club, as if to say, 'we are with you, this is a participative venture, and providing you put in, you the club put in all the effort and commitment you should, we are with you'.

“I hope I am not stretching that too far in some fans' minds, but I sense that. Given the fact we are now over 17,000 on season-ticket renewals and given the fact that the waiting list is now over 1300, the fans of Norwich City Football Club have yet again set an agenda of their own for us to follow.”

Munby admits the past two seasons have been frustrating, but says the changes made last October have made a difference.

“The difference is what Peter Grant has done since his arrival, in terms of developing an understanding of what is needed, developing a rapport with the crowd, undoubtedly an intense rapport and togetherness with the players and I think we all think that Peter and Jim (Duffy), Bryan Gunn and Martin Hunter, they have got an act together in our firm belief which is going to carry us forwards.

So while frustrating and disappointing might be the simple observation when you look at the league table, there is a lot more promise and there are some real differences now compared to last season and, with that in mind, I can't wait for next, stressed out as we are.”