Ed Balls hails the past and looks to a bright Norwich City future

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls showed off his goalkeeping skills in a tour of the club's new trainin

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls showed off his goalkeeping skills in a tour of the club's new training facilities at Colney on Friday: Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls labelled the search for David McNally's replacement the most important signing the club will make.

Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Michael Foulger by the plaque unveiled by Alex Neil on Friday at

Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Michael Foulger by the plaque unveiled by Alex Neil on Friday at Colney marking their 20 years as directors. Picture: Denise Bradley. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

Balls and the rest of the Canaries' board were at Colney on Friday to watch majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, along with fellow director Michael Foulger, officially open the latest phase of an upgrade to the club's training base.

City boss Alex Neil also unveiled a plaque marking 20 years since the trio joined the club's board, but Balls reiterated the focus is firmly on building for the future.

Top of that agenda is making the right appointment to replace McNally, who resigned in the closing stages of the last campaign.

'This is the most important signing we are going to make, not just this summer, but for the next five or 10 years for the football club,' he said. 'That is why we have cast our net wide and been exacting in what we are looking for. If you look for people who are currently employed then you do it quickly.

Norwich City's majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, along with director Michael

Norwich City's majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, along with director Michael Foulger, cut the three ribbons to officially open the new facilities at Colney flanked by Timm Klose and Ivo Pinto in the new away kit. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016


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'It is going very well. These things have to be confidential, because it is people's jobs and careers, but both ourselves and the company driving that process have been taken aback by the quality of the people who want to come and work here at Norwich. We have got a good choice from a really top field.

'It says something about Norwich, that we are ambitious, we are financially strong and we have stable owners but also there is a sense of values and community. A lot of people across football are saying, 'We would love that job.' We have got a difficult choice but we are choosing from the best. I promised we would do this professionally at the beginning and we would bring in real, deep football experience. We are going to do that. There is still more work to do.'

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Norwich made their first fresh summer signing earlier this week when Sergi Canos joined from Liverpool and Balls believes the on-going search for a permanent successor to McNally will not hinder their transfer quest.

'We did two things immediately when David resigned, because we hadn't planned for that,' he said. 'We embarked on a professional process to make the right long term hire and we then put immediate plans in place to handle this summer window. All our indications are the recruitment process is going well.

'I thought the deal we got for Nathan Redmond was a good deal, but we are not a selling club. We have targets and these things takes time and Alex wants to bring the right players in. The fact Sergi Canos had a lot of choices on the table, including staying where he was, shows we are an attractive proposition.'

Balls insisted the new facilities at Colney are a lasting tribute to the loyal support of City's majority shareholders and Foulger.

'It tells you Delia and the two Michaels have invested in the club over the past 20 years but it is also saying as a club we want to be ambitious,' he said. 'As it says on the plaque, we want to strive to be the best football club in the world. They have done a brilliant job. There have been some high points and difficult times but through it all they have shown resilience and passion.

'We are now here celebrating how the last 20 years have laid the foundations for the next 20 years.

'You see those under-11s running around (in the Dome) enjoying it. They weren't born when Delia and the two Michaels became directors but we hope in 10 years time, when some of those are playing for the first team up front or in central midfield, Delia and the two Michaels will be in the directors' box cheering them on.'

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