Norwich City’s top brass pledge to get it right after failing this season

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls admits mistakes have been made at Carrow Road.
Picture: Matthew Ushe

Norwich City chairman Ed Balls admits mistakes have been made at Carrow Road. Picture: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Matthew Usher/Focus Images Ltd

Ed Balls admits Norwich City have failed from top to bottom this season but pledges the club's top brass will get it right.

Alex Neil's shock exit, on the eve of a 2-2 Championship draw against Blackburn, signalled the end of a turbulent period. City will unveil a new corporate structure this week, which marks a departure from the chief executive model, ahead of stepping up the search for Neil's successor.

'We failed, and that is a failure of the management, the players and the board. I am not going to make excuses. It didn't work,' said City's chairman. 'We will show in the weeks and months ahead deeds that demonstrate we are serious about getting back up. All I would say is we are as ambitious as the fans to show a community-focused football club can succeed in modern football. It is not easy and sometimes things can wrong but we are not settling for second best, where this is a comfortable Championship football club.

'There are some who said sack the manager last summer or you will fail. We didn't agree. Some said move players on and we did, but that is hard to do. We had a big-spending January window in 2016 and that didn't work and presented a big financial challenge to us. We have no debt, but there was no big pot of money to make up those gaps. Look at what Newcastle have spent, but conversely at another big club like Aston Villa it has not worked this season, so there is no simple formula. We have to learn and move forward.'

City retained the bulk of their Premier League squad to plot an immediate top flight return.

'The truth is we felt, and Alex felt, we could do it this season. We believed the squad was stronger, and should at least have got us into the play-offs and pushing for the top two,' said Balls. 'We got relegated last season and that brings a massive fall in revenue, even with parachute payments, and a squad with players on contracts that are expensive in this new world, but not necessarily players other teams want to take up. That in itself requires a huge adjustment.

'We need players who can go to a wet night in Bristol or a bumpy pitch somewhere, maybe in Rotherham, and do the business. One of the things we have definitely learned over a number of years is we need to make our recruitment more strategic.'