Norwich City reveals annual accounts - and its hopes for the future

Norwich City outlined aims for a 35,000 stadium and a 'self-sustainable' football club today at an upbeat unveiling of its annual accounts.

The figures up to the year ending May 31 2011 showed a �4m loss.

But that was down to the welcome situation of the club having to pay out more than �4.3m in player and staff bonuses when promotion to the Premier League was achieved.

And the overall debt is on a downward curve, reduced from �20.9m to �16.8m, thanks in large part to the sale of the orange car park to Broadland Housing Association.

At the most upbeat announcement of the accounts in years, chairman Alan Bowkett and chief executive David McNally talked positively about the future.

Mr McNally promised that manager Paul Lambert would have money if he wanted it, to spend in the January transfer window on 'one, two or three players'.

He added that tomorrow's home match against Swansea would be 'a new record attendance in the all-seater era'.

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And Mr Bowkett gave an insight into how the club's at-times tense relationship with its major creditors - Axa and Lloyds - had improved in line with City's fortunes.

He said: 'The relationship has changed. They smile at us a lot more. And we've taken them out to lunch because we can afford it.'

The pair said the club hoped to begin work on turning Carrow Road into a 35,000-seat stadium 'if we stay in the Premier League for three years'.

Mr Bowkett said the main focus of that work would be redeveloping the City Stand from 4,400 to 10,000 seats.

Mr McNally said the 35,000 figure would 'produce a self-sustainable Premier League football club', but the current capacity of 27,000 would not.

Revenue in 2010-11 was up to �23.1m, from �17m when the club was in League One.

And the final link with former directors Andrew and Sharon Turner has been cut, with the club able to pay off a �2.5m loan made by the couple.

Mr Bowkett said: 'While everyone is aware of the outstanding football performance last year, I am pleased to report this improvement has continued off the field of play.

'Revenues and normalised operating profit are up while net debt is down. This trend will accelerate this year.'

? For the full story and analysis, see tomorrow's paper.