The complex, the frustrating and the what happens next at Norwich City?

From left, majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, chief executive David McNally and chairman Alan Bowkett.
 Photo by Simon Finlay From left, majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, chief executive David McNally and chairman Alan Bowkett. Photo by Simon Finlay

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
11:24 AM

Norwich City writer Michael Bailey surveys the latest public address from the City board, as the relegation inquest continues…

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Players tend to produce defining moments on the pitch – but those key figures in other parts of the club have to rely on different arenas. And for Norwich City’s directors, that tends to be in interviews or meetings.

For majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, along with chief executive David McNally, history could yet apply that to their public broadcast on Radio Norfolk Monday morning – depending on what happens at the club over the coming months.

There was the chance for some supporters to put forward questions. Sadly, there wasn’t the chance for everyone – or any other journalist – to join them in the debate. There’s no point hiding the obvious – that strikes me as a huge shame.

It also leaves us to pore over what was said, what it means and inevitably interpreting between the lines.

Firstly, there were the headlines – primarily on where that new Norwich City manager is. After all, he was originally to be appointed by the end of last week. That’s not a dig – it was a deadline volunteered by the club in their own statement the previous weekend.

Why is it taking longer – and why has a new manager arriving in a couple of days on Tuesday night continued into a couple of days this Monday morning? All we know is it’s “complex”, according to Delia. Maybe that’s all that can be said while someone like, say, Malky Mackay takes a bit of time over his options. For example. But there we are. These things sometimes take longer than you envisage. It’s just hard to be convinced the City board of three years ago would have volunteered an initial time line so readily.

In truth, that was about it for the headline stuff. The rest was reflective – and almost certainly a final addressing of last season’s disappointments before all of us look to move on.

And let’s be clear – moving on has to be the goal. It was the hangover from the previous season’s discontent that probably led to relegation this season. Any such hangover in the Championship, and the Canaries will find themselves more akin to the class of 2005-06 than 1985-86.

Wynn Jones wants to see more youth players given a chance – and that’s entirely understandable from any City fan. It’s a silver lining and an excitement.

McNally conveyed the right emotions generated from relegation: the frustration and embarrassment. We all felt and feel it. Delia too. We know she gets it.

But possibly the split comes in January – and Delia’s unshakeable belief that while the board were wrong not to sack Chris Hughton then, there simply wasn’t a candidate to replace him. I’m not so sure everyone shared her view – and arguably, hindsight proved they may well have had someone extremely close at hand to step in. Someone they felt confident enough to give the job to with just five games to go. Sadly football isn’t played with hindsight, like it’s not played on paper.

A common sentiment across some on social media once yesterday’s broadcast was done, was that it was great for the trio of directors to get their word out. And absolutely it beats saying nothing or hiding – especially after such a dispiriting season. Other clubs simply wouldn’t countenance the idea.

At the same time, it’s hard not to think of the praise former chief executive Neil Doncaster used to garner from similar public exercises.

Once he departed, it became a stick to beat his reign with.

Likewise, the current regime achieved their reputation – and arguably, success – by getting on with the necessaries behind closed doors. By being decisive.

It’s a knack they will need to rediscover as soon as possible if next season’s push for an immediate Premier League return is to end in Championship success.

But even with directors, it’s results on the pitch that will decide how their term is viewed – and where their public views and messages will sit in history.

38 comments

  • Delia out, how can you have a woman running a football club what a joke

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    Canaryinslovenia

    Sunday, May 25, 2014

  • What a joke! Delia must go now!

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    crispycanary

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • N A! nah can't believe it.

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    cutty

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • SHOCKING... well done Norwich City once again for a total lack of vision. NEIL ADAMS???? NEW MANAGER???? GIVE US A BREAK... League 1 here we come. What is the point. We might as well shout for Diss Town.

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    Hucks1960 .

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

  • Lincs - great summary of the reasons why NCFC under its current ownership cannot expect to attract the right manager and coaches to thrive or even survive longterm in the EPL. PL used NCFC to make his name short-term and move on. This is likely the best we can expect again, which I would rather see (for now until our rich new owner comes along) than someone who is more experienced but has lost his job for non-performance.

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    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Sorry, forgot to use backslash, hope you can work it out!

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    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • You make a valid point PaulWho concerning financial play rules which kick in next season. Teams who were in the Championship last season have to submit their accounts for 201314 by 11214. Any losses above £3m have to be covered by the owners injecting capital. Failure to do so results in a transfer embargo until such time as the club's affairs are in order. In certain cases tens of millions would need to be injected. The promoted clubs (Leics, Burnley + 1) are fined if they have overspent but escape the embargo. We still don't know how rigorous the authorities will be but assuming they apply the rules correctly a number of rich owners, including Evans at Ipswich, will be severely tested. Fair Play is meant to bring financial order but it could cause chaos if some of the sugar daddies decide their loyalties don't stretch to paying off debts. Our owners do not have a club bearing the immense debt of others and combined with the fact relegated clubs have a year's grace before having to meet Championship rules we do have an initial advantage over most teams in our league. However, and this is the point Michigan keeps making, a return to the PL would again see us as the stand out minnows. Also bear in mind the Fair Play rules are considerably more complex in the PL and we have already seen Man City taking a deliberate hit in pursuance of their European ambitions. I would also like to make a point regarding British v Foreign owners. I do not see one being preferable to the other, all that matters is the owners are ambitious for the club. Bates, not a universally popular figure, sold out to a Russian who has given Chelsea fans their most glorious years. Last time I checked nine PL clubs had British owners but all outgun our owners financially by a considerable amount. And it is that vulnerability which could be at the root of delays over our next manager, ie an inability to go the extra financial mile.

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    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • What the books say for tax purposes and how that ties into the fair play rules are all in the eys of their accountants, and where they want to lose and make money. Although a lot of people are decrying the rich owners, I don't hear the fans of those clubs decrying them unless the club doesn't perform at the top level, eg Liverpool a few years back. We have performed at the bottom level of the EPL this season and are decrying our club, so I for one am ready to try the other end of the spectrum in terms of ownership, and see what that can bring.

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    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • To me the key off the cuff comment in this whole debacle goes back to the infamous interview McNally gave on TV when he said of Hughton - "...his job is to keep us out of the bottom three". That's all he and the board cared about. Let's not kid ourselves that once the Premier money started flowing in it was anything to do with playing football "The Norwich Way". It just wasn't. It was al about keeping out of the bottom three. They became so fixated with that target that it wasn't until the last five games that they woke up to the realisation that, even with dull negative football, their darling wasn't going to hit his target. they would have been quite happy to have leave us with another season of tedium if it meant the tills were still ringing. Let's stop kidding ourselves.

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    Mikey B

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Don't the Financial Fair Play rules put a bit of a kybosh on sugar daddy owners anyway? I just look at other owners and see how they are funding the clubs. Very little of it is a gift, the vast majority is by way of loans so that the club is getting deeper and deeper into debt. If the owner loses interest he'll want his money back.

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    PaulWho

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • Lincs - looked it up. That is amazing, and puts us in a much weaker position than I had realized. In fact of the data shown only 3 in league 1 (and only by 3M) are shown with less net worth and none of those few shown in league 2. It further says if we want any success going forward we need new owners, as the money side is only going to become more necessary. It is the loyal home fans and EPL TV who have made the club solvent, and only one and a quarter parts of those two is available to us next season.

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    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • On Wikipedia there is a list of English club owners and their net worth (not available for every club). The list shows our owners net worth would place them bottom of a PL wealth league. It also places them bottom of a similar league of Championship clubs. So whoever the next manager happens to be will be affected by how little the owners can contribute beyond the income generated by the club.

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    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

  • VM I think future transfer dealings will actually show that CH dealings in the transfer market are not as bad as you think. When it comes to selling them on I think they will all be sold at a profit and yes that probably includes RVW because there were a host of clubs willing to pay that and more, before we did. Redmond Olsson Fer etc will dwarf what we paid for them when we sell them on

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    GPL

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Considering how many millions relegation has cost the club I think asking any unemployed manager should have been given more thought just imagine you are Roberto Di Mateo for instance an offer of say 2mill to keep us up might well have gotten his attention ( much less than it has cost ) still water under the bridge now .heres hoping our new leader goes back to the Lambert style of play ( attack being the best form of defence ) and. Not giving up once we go a goal down we deserve nothing less after the last 2years ,sadly our last managers CV won't reflect how badly he performed in the transfer market and what a very poor manager he was

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    Victor meldrew

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • OK Hughton was failing, everyone could see it... so we are to believe Delia did as well... so why did she allow the humiliation of the man when he was being pelted from the crowd, and cries of "You don't Know what your Doing" ring out, and Mc Nally saying so long as we are out bottom three.. well I say excuses...excuses.. blah... blah, if anyone believe this, well.. the board were living in dream land, head buried in sand and a firm believer of Hughton, who was still adamant he would have saved City from the drop, the fact is they had full faith in him till it was to late.. we know where the blame lies, so don't make up lies to cover up your failings.

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    OLDYELLA

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Maybe we should be going for Dodd and Williams for growing the youth teams further?

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    MichiganCanary

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Maybe we should be going for Dodd and Williams for growing the youth teams further?

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    MichiganCanary

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • …..You stupid woman!....Norwich is the centre of the world!...Everything else that happens, does so, around us!....'Dint you larn nothin in skool?....things can only get better now that ooton is out of the way!.....I'm quite surprised you've surfaced again...but then again I've noticed slugs are re-appearing in my garden.....if it's any comfort Tea Bags are plentiful, and reasonably priced, so there is hope for moron haters!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Not sure why everybody is against the bigger EPL clubs. Definitely we do not want a Cardiff meglomaniac, but I think Abramovich is Chelsea through and through - he is at most games. The Glaziers are running Man U at a loss, but I am sure that is book keeping for U.S. tax laws, which are pretty good for owning stuff overseas. The right rich owner who wants their club to succeed in English soccer is what is needed. Their egos need success, not mediocrity, and they would certainly not have stood for two seasons of what we have just had. I don't think you can have a successful soccer club keeping the "old boys" employed and being too nice to fire non-performers in English football today.

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    MichiganCanary

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I totally agree, lyb.

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    Cecil

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Carra Rudd and Archie don't appear to hit it off just now. That's just possibly why the Club chose the radio outlet - the one with the greater credibility in the eyes of the Club, perhaps? Only allegedly and only my personal opinion of course. I like Radio Norfolk too.

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    el dingo

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • LYB I'm in the same boat. I'd rather our OWNERS bled yellow and green but made mistakes rather than attempt to be Chelsea and end up like Portsmouth. They realised they were in need of help and got in McNally who has transformed the club. Hoooton aside, he's not put a foot wrong. And as for Lambert - he would've gone to Villa irrespective of the budget we gave him. Lerner would've just increased his Villa budget to tempt him away.

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    Dan

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Michigan, I get the impression that you're quite in tune with the whole Man City, Chelski ethos of getting a sugar daddy to bankroll the club to success. Personally I hate it. Norwich is a proper club, not just a rich man's personal toy with everyone else pushing their noses up against the window.

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    LittleYellowBirdie

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I sort of agree with GPL but I really don't know how Hughton could have stayed after the debacle at the end of the WBA match, would he have turned up at home games wearing a crash helmet? Michigan, be careful what you wish for, do we want the kind of new owners that Man Utd or Cardiff got?

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    PaulWho

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • What a load of rubbish the Board Members churned out at that meeting yesterday. They tell us they should have sacked CH in January is only because they know thats what a lot of fans wanted to hear. The fact is we were well clear of the relegation zone for the most part of the year under CH and they thought he would have kept us up. They even thought he would get us mid table. They were all licking their lips at the thought of another annual £1million bonus each. Then when we go down they claim they should have sacked CH in January. I beg to differ. I think the football was not great but I think if they had stayed with CH then he would have kept us up and then we could have parted company around now and with our Premiership status in tact. The board panicked and went with an untried inexperienced man against the top sides. Adams became the whipping boy because they knew the fans would not blame him if we went down. These board members have been great for Norwich City but lets not forget they are being well remunerated for their endeavours. CH became accountable for our bad season. As far as i see it they have not and continue to be well remunerated still

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    GPL

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • This whole saga is so frustrating for supporters. Especially as we are undoubtedly only hearing part of the story. I definitely feel it is time for new ownership - yes Delia and co have done quite well up to now for NCFC, but it is time to move on if we want to be anything more than a semi-successful family business. In automotive business terms, do we want to be Morgan or do we want to be Hyundai? Many mistakes have been made over the past few seasons - back to and beyond the board apparently falling out with Lambert and not backing him. It needs to be the right new owner - someone with great sporting club ownership business sense, not a meddler who knows nothing about running a top tier soccer club. Someone who will make tough timely decisions and employ the right officers, manager, coaches, etc. and let them make the football decisions in a timely manner, but hold them accountable. NCFC needs to be run like top tier business if we are going to get back to be an EPL club, and go on to be at least mid level initially, and not go through the relegation jitters every year. We need to aspire to be like Southampton, Newcastle, Everton, to start with, and we need a solid five year plan to get there. Longer-term must either be consolidation at that level, or more if the new owner has the money. If we don't plan for growth and success, then what is there to keep the supporters coming back week after week? Our target at a minimum should be playing for a Europa league place each year long-term. That would be exciting whether it be from winning the FA Cup, League Cup or EPL position. It can be done. A disappointing season for NCFC supporters should be not making Europe. Sorry for being lengthy but that's what I want from my football club.

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    MichiganCanary

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Maybe the new person has been chosen, but there are some legal ranges to sort out (like compensation for current club). Maybe a club won't release their manager at all and the board have had to go elsewhere. We don't know and won't ever know and speculation isn't healthy. As for lessons not being learned - Worthy was with us for 18 months after AFTER relegation. Hughton was sacked much, much sooner so you could argue its a slight improvement. All I'm saying is I'm 100% certain he board do their best all of the time. No, they don't get it right all of the time but give them some credit for the good they have done as inexperienced footballing people.

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    Dan

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • We did not play well enough as a team to deserve to remain in the Premiership and did not react quickly enough to put things right in January. End of story. Now whoever is appointed Manager let us hope he wants to come to Norwich City and is not diddling us on a piece of string as his 2nd choice while touting himself to a premiership club. Such a man cannot ask others to play all out for the club and its shirt- god (and the board) protect us from the ilk!

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    mardler

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • please forgive all spelling mistakes in previous post...

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    JMH

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • @Bruce87 - Goldie was saying that the choices being mentioned are obvious. Mackey, Sherrwood, Adams etc... but that we should be potentially looking at lower leagues - especially as i believe that all those 'obvious' candidates are hoping for a better team than our beloved ncfc.

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    JMH

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Blimey MG! I was just having the same thought...spooky.

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    JMH

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • I would be happy with Karl Robinson of MK Dons. Think he's young, ambitious and has MK Dons playing decent football

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    Matt Grant

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • goldie, if the candidates from the lower league are so obvious. Who are they?

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    Bruce87

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Is there another Lambert in the lower leagues? It does't seem that the Board has even looked as the possible candidates are so obvious. Maybe too obvious.

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    goldie

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Why do people assume someone will take a job at Norwich and in Norfolk. Lets face it, it is a bit out of the way and you have to consider that with players and management recruiting.

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    Steady On

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • "It was the hangover from last season's discontent...". Please come into the real world! The PROFESSIONAL footballers were not good enough, the leadership at all levels was not good enough and unfortunately the club finished where it deserved to be. Radical change is needed. Mr McNally brought radical change and ruthlessness I hope he can do it again!

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    Nelson

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • Lessons were not learned when they hung on to Worthy for way too long - it's pathetic to suggest it was a tough decision to make back then. It wasn't...the players had lost their confidence by December at the latest. McNasty has now become McNice, whilst Delia and her hubby, in my eyes, are simply not cut throat enough. You can imagine the conversations..."Sack him? Are you kidding? Arrrrr, he's such a lovely chap, I just want to squeeze his cheeks". I appreciate them facing a few chosen q's but, for me, their answers highlight a serious lack of bite (which is more than needed in the future).

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    JimBob

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

  • As posted elsewhere, I guess the Board has to learn from this why they hesitated in sacking CH given the run of results. What was different that meant they hesitated where they might not have done with another manager in the same position. They really need an open and honest debate on that one. They clearly went more than the extra mile in giving CH a chance. Why? I don't think 'no-one else available' whilst it maybe a factor is the whole truth on this. Anyway, now for the future and I for one realise I have not a clue who the next manager is and have realised I don't really know enough to know who it should be. But I do think the Director of Football idea has some merit when it comes to appointments. In any other business you would have people on the Board with experience of the business, a Director of Operations at least.

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    Surrey Canary

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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