Grant decision was carefully considered

In most businesses, the recruitment of a senior member of staff is a considered, sanguine and measured process. In football, typically, the opposite is true.

With Norwich City now joining Manchester City, West Ham, Fulham, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Leeds, West Brom and a host of other big names on the sidelines of the Carling Cup, what impact does our exit really have?

Peter Grant made it clear just how seriously he regards cup competitions, stating "I want to win everything I am involved in."

Unfortunately, despite a third clean sheet in a row, our exit at the third round stage extends to 11 years our absence from the fourth round of the Football League's cup competition.

There are those who would argue that the cups are an unnecessary distraction and that being able to "concentrate on the league" may be a good thing. However, cup competitions remain a considerable source of unbudgeted income - Sheffield United are believed to have made around £2million from being losing semi-finalists in both cup competitions in 2002/2003. That's serious money in a league where total annual television income is only half of that sum.


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Aside from the obvious glory and excitement of a good cup run, that is the most persuasive argument for taking the competitions seriously. They can help to finance team strengthening to substantially bolster a club's ambitions in the League.

I am delighted that our new manager values the League and FA Cups. I am most definitely not one of those who, in the words of a caller to Radio Norfolk's Canary Call on Tuesday, see our cup exit as a "blessing in disguise."

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Unfortunately, we played out our three ties this year (at Torquay, Rotherham and Port Vale) in front of an aggregate crowd of less than 12,000 people.

With no prize money on offer in the League Cup and with the substantial travelling expenses involved in each trip, we actually made no money whatsoever from the three ties and would have been far better off playing just one tie at home in front of our excellent home support.

Away from Carrow Road, this Friday sees a meeting that could shape the future of one of England's great institutions - the Football Association. At a meeting of the FA Council, the great and the good of the football world will be assembling in London to talk about the Burns Report.

For supporters whose main interest is in the fortunes of their local team, the idea that anything involving the constitution of the FA could be of even remote interest to their side might seem slightly strange.

But events at the Jury's Hotel, Great Russell Street could well have repercussions for every single club side in the country. The Burns Report, commissioned by a UK government horrified by successive scandals involving English football's governing body, was an independent review of the FA. Faria Alam's affairs with former FA chief executive Mark Palios and Sven Goran Eriksson seemed to lead directly to a call for something to be done. And lo and behold, Lord Burns was asked to recommend the future shape of the venerable institution that is the Football Association.

Lord Terry Burns is renowned as a safe pair of hands - a former permanent secretary at the Treasury and chairman of the National Lottery Commission - he seems to have an appetite for controversy, chairing the government's inquiry into fox-hunting back in 2000.

The Report led to a number of recommendations being put before the FA Council. These include the appointment of an independent chairman; delegated powers from the FA Board to a new Professional Game Board to look after the whole professional game; and, most importantly, the Football League to have equal representation with the Premier League. For those who claim that the Football Association is heavily influenced by the Premier League, the last of these recommendations could be hugely important to the future of the game. Let us hope that the FA Council approves the recommendations this Friday.

On The Ball, City!

CUP WOE: Port Vale keeper Mark Goodlad celebrates his side's penalty shoot-out win against City on Tuesday night.

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