Norwich City chairman Ed Balls believes Premier League stability is within reach
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
New chairman Ed Balls believes Norwich City are on the cusp of securing Premier League stability – if the club can reach out and grasp its opportunity.
The former shadow chancellor and Labour MP replaced Alan Bowkett as City chairman in late December and says he has been impressed by what he has seen behind the scenes at Carrow Road.
'We are now a debt-free club which has been in the Premier League three seasons in four, that's a huge achievement,' Balls said.
'The thing that has been very striking to me is, I knew about the passion and the pride of the supporters and all the colleagues here at the club, but it is matched by a real professionalism. The commercial side down at Colney as well, the whole sport science thing, it's second to none and what we've just got to make sure is as a board we do everything we can to keep improving, keep making things better.
'All my life I've been a Norwich fan, for 48 years, and we've gone up and down, up and down, and there's a chance we can secure Premier League football for the long term.
'That's what we all want and you only do that at a club like Norwich by being better than everybody else in every department you possibly can and the commitment here to do that is really striking and impressive.'
The Norwich-born financial expert is keen to stress that he does not deserve any credit for City's success in the current January transfer window, due to his recent arrival.
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The lifelong Canaries fan believes the five signings made to improve Alex Neil's squad, for a total estimated to be around £20million, deserves credit though.
'At the beginning of the transfer window, I'd just been appointed,' Balls continued. 'A few weeks before that, I had every fan's expectation of what I thought we needed in the transfer window and shared the view that many fans had and probably the club had as well, that we didn't do as much as we wanted in the summer.
'I think that, for me as a fan, my expectations have been surpassed this transfer window now in terms of what we've done at right-back, centre-back, attacking midfield and Matt Jarvis coming in as an attacker as well. I don't think we're finished yet, I still think there's potentially more to be done.'
With chief executive David McNally and first-team manager Alex Neil working alongside head of scouting Lee Darnbrough, who joined the club last July, Balls feels City have made real strides in their work in the transfer market.
'This is the time when if you don't quite get the deal it's hugely frustrating but I think the thing that is very impressive this time around is that already you can see we are bringing in the deals and already you can see the change.
'The squad will be stronger at the end of this window than at the beginning and that's all you can ask for.'
Balls is also still feeling confident about City's survival hopes this season, despite losing their last two Premier League games.
'In the end you don't know how it's going to go, you can't forecast the results,' he added. 'But everybody here is going to give it their best shot and I think we've got a real chance.'