Sporting director Stuart Webber ushers in new era at Norwich City as he chops chunk from wage bill
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Moves to stabilise Norwich City's finances and bring a fresh approach to the Canaries' on-field quality have kicked off early – removing around £5m a season from the club's wage bill.
City have announced a cull of big earners which will see goalkeeper John Ruddy and centre-back Ryan Bennett leave this summer.
Ruddy played a key part in City's rise to the Premier League and signed fresh terms when top-flight stability looked secure, while Bennett was also signed when a prosperous future was possible.
However, two relegations in the space of three seasons have left the club unable to clamber out of the Championship and new sporting director Stuart Webber has had to begin cutting the wage bill.
Five other big earners have been told they will be free agents as of June 30 as well, with defenders Sebastien Bassong, Steven Whittaker and Michael Turner, midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu and striker Kyle Lafferty all going.
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Bassong, Whittaker and Turner were all signed in 2012 as Chris Hughton started building for a Premier League future and Mulumbu arrived in 2015 after promotion, which also saw Lafferty's wages rise.
During the 2015/16 season Mulumbu was reportedly earning £40,000 a week and Lafferty £34,000 – stunning figures for a club of City's size and financial muscle.
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While previous chief executive David McNally insisted relegation clauses were always part of contracts at Carrow Road, reducing wages, it shows how costly those disappointing fringe players have been.
Ruddy in particular proved he was capable of high performance when he was making England squads and Bennett has drifted between looking capable and performing badly.
The remaining five made just 22 league starts between them in the current campaign, which leaves City needing to balance the books ahead of another year outside the richest league in the world and entering the final year of parachute payments.
While saleable assets and a stable financial base remain to allow Webber and the club's new head coach to start building for another promotion push, the swift end of seven Canaries careers prove that a new era is very much beginning.