Norwich City playing squad comes first - then Carrow Road expansion, says David McNally

Norwich City will not rush into expanding Carrow Road – but independent research has backed the club's long-term wish to increase the stadium capacity to 35,000.

Chief executive David McNally has told supporters it would cost �20m to add 7,000 seats to the existing ground, and that the playing squad must remain the short-term priority.

In a question and answer session on the club's official website, McNally reasserted that City need to become established in the Premier League before considering redevelopment.

He said: 'We have been convinced for some time that there is sufficient demand to expand Carrow Road.

'Strategic decisions of this type are hugely important and so we asked the University of East Anglia to research the opportunity for the club.

'Empirically, their findings support the move to expand Carrow Road by at least 7,000 additional seats. This independent research project is really important as it deals with facts, such as population growth, and real numbers, such as socio-economic data, and not instinct or intuition.

'And so we are convinced that an expansion of Carrow Road is something that the club should contemplate.

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'However, circa 7,000 additional seats could cost approximately �20million.

'Currently, every spare penny is reinvested in the first team squad and this is something that the board wishes to continue in the short term.'

City have looked at the possibility of extending or rebuilding the Geoffrey Watling City Stand, while exploring other short-term options such as putting a temporary stand in front of the hotel in the Barclay Stand-Jarrold Stand corner, which at one stage was said to be a possibility for the latter stages of last season.

'Once we have become an established Premier League team then we may consider it viable to invest in the development of Carrow Road,' said McNally.

'In the meantime, we will look at a number of alternative schemes in order to ensure that we are properly prepared for expansion as and when it happens.

'We continue to look at all possibilities for stadium expansion. We would like to put a small stand in front of the hotel. However, the decision-making process involves a number of stakeholders, some of whom may need some convincing that it is in everybody's interests to put some seats in front of the hotel.'

In answering other questions, he also revealed that City were still fighting for compensation from Aston Villa for the exit of former boss Paul Lambert.

He said: 'The matter of compensation remains unresolved with Aston Villa. It would appear likely that this matter will go to a tribunal. We did, however, agree compensation for the services of Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa.'

On the change of heart over a new three-year deal for skipper Grant Holt, McNally said: 'Chris (Hughton) was clear from day one that Grant Holt was a big part of his NCFC plans. From here, we agreed a new contract in a matter of days.'