Update: Norwich City to announce new manager in next “few days” but refuse to reveal shortlist
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Norwich City chief executive David McNally has confirmed the club’s new manager should be confirmed in the next “few days”.
A statement had indicated that the club’s board were looking to make an announcement “within a week” – a timeframe which expired last night.
McNally has now confirmed that a new manager is not in place, saying: “It will probably take a little longer but not a lot. We are pleased with the way the search is being managed, it will perhaps take a few days longer than indicated but that is days and I’m sure Norwich City fans are more concerned that we do the right thing rather than hit a deadline.”
The club’s joint majority shareholder Delia Smith said: “It will be any time now. It’s actually very complex, we don’t want to rush it, and the only thing that is going to occur is that we wouldn’t be able to please everybody but we are voted every year to the board of this football club at the AGM.
She added: “I would say that whoever you appoint as a football manager will be a risk, nobody has a crystal ball, nobody is going to know.
“The reason we all go to football matches is because we can’t predict what is going to happen. If we could and did it would be boring. So off we go, it’s a roller coaster but a roller coaster we all love.”
• Delia Smith admits board considered changing manager in January but “got it wrong”
• Board intend for Neil Adams to work with new manager, although he remains in the running for the job
• Technical director will be appointed to ease demand on first-team manager
• Director of football role is not being considered
• David McNally’s role as chief executive is not under threat
McNally confirmed the club had a shortlist of potential candidates but did not reveal any names.
He said Neil Adams is “definitely” still a candidate for the job but that if he isn’t named manager then he would “certainly be involved in the management team going forward”.
McNally, along with joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones, were speaking on BBC Radio Norfolk.
McNally was also asked if former City defender Malky Mackay is the frontrunner for the job, saying: “As a man I don’t know him (Mackay) very well, Delia and Michael probably know him better from his time at the club, I know his place in Norwich City folklore and his success as a Championship player.
“I think it’s unfair on any candidate to confirm or otherwise because somebody is going to get the job and others won’t, and I don’t think that’s right.”
McNally also re-emphasised that the club’s board have been hurt by the club’s relegation.
“We’ve said from the moment we were relegated that we feel frustrated, hugely disappointed and embarrassed that we’d been relegated to the Championship,” he said.
Smith also admitted that the board had initially been considering sacking manager Chris Hughton in January but felt there were no credible options available to replace him.
“There wasn’t anybody else out there,” the celebrity chef said. “We didn’t feel at that time there was anybody out there so we had a decision to make, do we bring in a kind of caretaker, so there were one or two names we were looking at, or go with a manager who is winning home games?”
She then added: “Yeah we got it wrong. It might have happened that if we got a caretaker manager in that we might have stayed up.
“But I would challenge anybody to sit round that table and do what we do and get it right.”
McNally repeated his belief that the club should have a ‘technical director’ at the club in future, to deal with football operations which the first-team manager does not necessarily need to be involved with.
Wynn-Jones added that this will not be a director of football role, similar to structures used by clubs elsewhere in Europe.
He also pleaded with City fans to have faith in the club’s board, saying: “All supporters have a right to criticise, to air their views, I rather like it when it’s informed views rather than through prejudice.
“You mention the overall history we’ve been directors for 18 years or so and I’ve supported this club for 61 years and I know in Norfolk terms that’s not a lot but nevertheless, it does give a certain sense of perspective.
“It doesn’t diminish the frustrations of going down, but we’ve been involved on the board for three relegations and three promotions and now we’re looking to make it 4-3 (for promotions).”
Smith also made it clear that she felt McNally was a key man at the club and would be a huge loss, having previously helped guide the club to successive promotions from League One to the Premier League and improving the club’s finances to the point where the club was clear of all external debt.
Wynn-Jones added: “It’s an opportunity to bring on the youngsters, as well two or three who have played first team there’s a few others that are signed on professional terms already, and I’m really looking forward to seeing them in action.”