Another Norwich City fans’ group is set to call it a day
Another of the Canaries' long-standing fans' groups is all set to fold.
The Independent Norwich City Supporters' Club is likely to be wound up at next week's annual meeting, on the recommendation of its own committee.
The news comes just days after the Friends of Norwich City Youth confirmed their organisation had folded, bringing an end to 16 years of fund-raising for the academy at Colney.
INCSC officials blame falling membership, the growth of social media and a lack of dialogue with the club for the winding-up proposal. In a letter to members, also appearing on their website, they said City were 'not prepared to engage with supporters groups'.
The Canaries rejected that claim, said the club was 'totally committed to communicating and engaging with our supporters' and said they had invited INCSC representatives to their next meeting of supporters groups, on Friday night.
But chairman Robin Sainty said the group's annual meeting on Wednesday, September 19, was likely to be the last – 17 years after being formed as Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association.
Their statement, issued yesterday, read: 'The organisation was formed in 1995 at a time when there was significant unrest among City fans, resulting in a demand for a vehicle that could provide a unified means of communication with the club. It also acted as a channel for fans' concerns following the club's relegation to League One, as well as raising funds for the club via the efforts of its committee.
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'However, with the club now on the crest of a wave, and the instant communication available via the Internet and social media such as Twitter, the committee feels that the organisation has become anachronistic.
'Efforts have been made to develop the social and charitable elements of the association and significant sums have been raised for our chosen charities, EACH Quidenham and the Darren Huckerby Trust, this year, but the fact is that membership has not increased. Consequently, while the committee feels that the association could be kept alive for some time yet, the correct, and braver, decision is to wind up now.'
It added: 'The world of football has changed radically since 1995. Football clubs are now run more strictly as businesses and, inevitably, are keen to have absolute control over the way in which they communicate with supporters. Access to players and management is virtually non-existent and therefore direct interaction with the grass roots fan has declined. We understand this but, of course, it leaves no role for organisations such as INCSC, making our decision inevitable.
'Over the years many people have given up a huge amount of their time on a voluntary basis. None of us would have done it had we not loved our club, and we will all continue to do all we can to support and help Norwich City FC.'
City rejected claims that they were keeping fans at arm's length.
A club spokesman said: 'The club is sorry to hear that the Independent Norwich City Supporters Club has decided not to continue. It is disappointing to see that they have claimed that in addition to their declining membership, the club 'not being prepared to engage with supporter groups' is a key factor behind their decision to close.
'The club e-mailed INCSC chairman Robin Sainty and secretary Kathy Blake on August 20 to invite them to attend our latest supporter groups meeting to be held at the club this Friday evening, September 14.
'These regular meetings are open to all registered Norwich City supporter groups from Norfolk, the UK and around the world, offering their members the chance to consult directly with the club's owners, directors and senior staff.
'While we're sorry to hear that INCSC have decided to close and will not be attending, we are delighted that groups such as Capital Canaries, Kent Canaries, Scandinavian Canaries, the Norwich City Shareholders Association, the Norwich City Supporters Trust, the Norwich City Associate Directors Group, United Arab Emirates Canaries, Forces2Canaries, Scottish Canaries and Irish Canaries are able to attend.
'The club looks forward as usual to frank, robust and constructive discussion on a range of issues with all of these supporter groups on Friday.'
He added: 'Norwich City remains totally committed to communicating and engaging with our supporters. The growth of social media means the club is interacting on a daily basis with up to 50,557 fans on Twitter and 39,856 on Facebook.'
City are holding a supporters' forum on October 4 with manager Chris Hughton, chief executive David McNally and other board members. Before that, McNally will hold a live webchat with fans on September 19.