Seven seasons of highs and lows for David McNally as chief executive of Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
David McNally's time in charge at Norwich City may have come to an end today but his seven seasons as chief executive at Carrow Road will not be forgotten.
Three promotion seasons, a first Wembley visit in 30 years and a huge improvement in club finances will ensure McNally will be remembered for some excellent contributions during his time.
He was appointed in June 2009, replacing Neil Doncaster after the Canaries' were relegated to League One, and soon built a reputation as a tough operator – sacking manager Bryan Gunn after only two matches of the 2009/10 season, following a calamitous opening-day 7-1 defeat to Colchester.
McNally turned to the man who inspired that embarrassing defeat, Colchester boss Paul Lambert, and by the end of that season City were celebrating winning the League One title.
Another promotion followed the following season, with Lambert's team finishing second in the Championship and three years of Premier League football followed.
That spell in the top flight was well ahead of schedule for an initial seven-year plan for becoming established in the Premier League but came to an end in 2014, with manager Chris Hughton sacked with five games remaining and Under-18s coach Neil Adams unable to steer City away from the drop.
Again McNally's ruthless streak would come to the fore though, with Adams removed in January of last season despite being firmly in contention for a play-off place.
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In came Hamilton manager Alex Neil, a relative unknown who had come to McNally's attention through his links with Scottish football – having previously worked as sales and managing director at Celtic – and the appointment proved inspired for that season.
After narrowly missing out on automatic promotion in third place, Neil's team sealed promotion via the play-offs, memorably beating local rivals Ipswich in the semi-finals and then Middlesbrough in the final at Wembley – the club's first match at the national stadium in 30 years.
With frustrations in the transfer market last summer, over £23million was eventually spent in the January transfer window as McNally and Neil tried to salvage a season which was slipping towards a relegation battle.
The impressive outlay could not prevent a run of 10 matches without a win and appears to have been too little, too late, as City now know they will be relegated if Sunderland win either of their last two matches.
McNally arrived in Norfolk having previously been managing director at Fulham, as well as his time at Celtic, following a career working for a number of blue-chip companies including L'Oreal and Max Factor.
He leaves behind a club which has improved in many areas and in strong financial health compared to when he arrived, when worries about administration had risen with debts of around £23m.
McNally and former chairman Alan Bowkett were able to proudly announce that City were free of all external debt when announcing annual accounts in 2013.
However, with the Canaries now looking likely to be relegated, they will miss out on a huge influx of broadcast revenue which Premier League teams will enjoy from next season when a new TV deal worth around £8.3billion kicks in.