Norwich old boy backs Norwich City’s Premier League vision
Norwich City's former Championship title-winner Mathias Svensson insists his old club are on the right path to the Premier League.
Svensson has backed the Canaries' long term strategy to reach the top flight as Paul Lambert's men prepare to face another old club Portsmouth at Carrow Road this weekend.
Now a director of football at leading Swedish outfit, Elfsborg, Svensson admits he has been 'saddened' by Portsmouth's financial spiral and believes Norwich's board are right to preach growth by stealth.
'It's very, very important at any club that you have the right people in the right positions – whether it is the right chairman or directors or manager,' he said. 'There isn't anything wrong with bringing in a player for big wages if you think they are going to bring that much to a club like Norwich. Not only in their own performance but also to maybe help the younger players along as well. I don't have any problem with that.
'The problem is a lot of clubs in England don't have a long term plan. Its always 'we're going to go up next year,' but you know only a small number of clubs will get promotion. To hear they are talking about doing it over a longer period tells me they have the right people in charge of the club. A board with patience will make the best decisions in the interests of the club.'
Svensson warns Portsmouth's recent implosion is a stark warning to the rest.
'It's been a big rollercoaster what has happened there and it is sad,' he said. 'In Sweden they have a thing whereby the supporters must own 51% of the club so you can't have one owner who can buy the club outright. In England it is difficult because you can have owners who come in and out all the time and they come in promising success straight away and that they will fund new players.
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'Suddenly it can turn and you get relegated and then it's difficult to keep hold of those players because they are earning too much money. You just hope now they can turn things around because they have great supporters. The wage bills at English clubs have been just growing and growing and it has become a problem. It's now almost ridiculous, but if the club thinks a player is worth it you can't blame the player. Everyone would do the same in whatever job you do.'
Svensson cites City's own loyal fan base as key to the club's bid for top flight football again.
'It's great to see how well Norwich have progressed in the past season and a bit,' he said. 'Perhaps the biggest factor is that everyone is pulling in the same direction. During my time at Norwich I can honestly say that was my most favourite spell in my ten years in England. The supporters were with us in the good times when we won the Championship but they were also there in the worst times like when we got relegated from the Premier League.
'To lose on the last day at Fulham as badly as we did and know they were still behind you is a wonderful feeling. You know at the end of the day they will back you. I'm sure with that backing and the way they are looking to plan over the next few years they can get back with the big boys. There is a lot of Championship football on in Sweden and they wanted me to be a television pundit but I'm just too busy – although it means I can see quite a lot of my old clubs like Norwich and (Crystal) Palace which brings me a lot of happiness.'