Plenty of reasons for cheer if you are a Norwich City fan
I didn’t attend the Norwich City AGM last week as I was at Aldiss Park in Dereham watching the fledgling Canaries pitting their wits against the Magpies.
It was a well contested and entertaining match which went to extra time and ended up 1-1.
Full credit to Matty Henman’s men for holding the Norwich Under-21s – and the Mid Norfolk side could easily have nicked it.
I was encouraged by a lot of the performances among the new breed of City players and I can certainly see why there is so much excitement about the Murphy brothers.
Away from the biting wind of Dereham, there was a lot more warmth in the temperature inside at the meeting at Carrow Road and by all accounts also plenty of warmth in the atmosphere among supporters.
Coming just days after the amazing victory over Manchester United and with CH’s team on such a good run, there was little surprise at that.
Most fans feel there is very little to moan at and looking around the footballing world at the moment, I’d say Canaries followers would probably be close to the summit of a “most content supporters” league table.
I was amazed by the reaction given to Rafa by the Chelsea fans at the weekend and there is plenty of discontent at Arsenal too.
It’s not all roses at Old Trafford and the Etihad either and so the list goes on.
Of course we are a fickle bunch and if results take a nose dive the mood around Norfolk may alter. But I really don’t see that happening.
I think the club is generally being run well. CH is proving an excellent acquisition and the squad looks good.
Defensively the team looks really solid and the one well documented concern is about the lack of goals.
My plea – especially after hints at the AGM by the top brass – is for them to think very, very hard before deciding on season ticket prices for next year.
David McNally said the cost is likely to go up, while adding they were working on ways to pay fans back for their loyalty.
Delia told fans they have to expect to pay more to be in the Premier League.
Yes, there is an argument that you get what you pay for.
However, I want to appeal for real restraint and consideration of a price freeze.
While mega bucks are being poured in to football, especially at the top table, the vast majority of normal fans are finding things tight as everything seems to be getting more expensive.
The most recent financial accounts show a remarkable improvement in Norwich City’s fortunes. In 2011/12 turnover was £74.3m, profit was £13.5m and overall debt was £11.3m.
Over the last eight years, the debt level has been as high as £23m, profit has been as low as –£5.75m (yes, a grim loss in 2009/10) and turnover dipped that year to £17m.
Well done to all involved for the fiscal fightback – and it has to be said that the supporters have played their massive part.
Having more than 21,000 season tickets gives the money men at Carrow Road a huge boost to be able to plan finances.
Clearly that great work can’t be undone with reckless abandon.
But assuming City survive at the end of the season, there will be another gigantic rise in the amount clubs get from the TV companies thanks to the newly-renegotiated deal.
I accept a lot of the costs – especially wages – will rise further, but I feel there simply has to be enough to allow a zero per cent increase in what the fans have to shell out.
I’m no mathematician but if my ticket goes up five per cent, I would face paying roughly another £25 a year. A 10 per cent hike would add another £50 to the bill. Crudely, even if you multiply the higher figure by 21,000, it would make about £1m.
Yes that’s a huge sum of money which could potentially be put in the coffers. However, it is a tiny fraction of the pot of gold coming from the TV deal.
Meanwhile, thanks for all the feedback after my column two weeks ago about possible striking options in the January transfer window.
Mackail-Smith and Chamakh were the latest names thrown in to the mix.
Any other thoughts?
Finally, I am grateful to Phil Ramsay for pointing out a slip-up I made last time. After the draw at Reading, I said it was the first clean sheet away from home in the top flight for 18 years.
Of course I forgot the shut-outs at Spurs and West Brom in the 2004/5 season.
The punishment for my error will be to watch a DVD of ITFC’s season so far (well at least that will only take 15 seconds)....
• PILKINGTON PULLING THEM IN ON TWITTER
Twitter has been a big story in footballing circles this week.
Police have been called in after reports of racist abuse aimed at Sébastien Bassong in a message posted after his equaliser on Saturday.
I’m very glad the club has confronted the issue so quickly and I trust it will be resolved as soon as possible.
On a lighter note, well done to Holty for winning his challenge to reach 22,000 followers after getting back on Twitter. And that signals bad news for a certain Mr Paul McVeigh...Good luck with the boxing match Macca....
The rise and rise in popularity of Robert Snodgrass in his first few days on Twitter has also caught the eye.
And it got me thinking about who are the most popular players on the social networking site.
Well, here are my findings in the City top 10 most followed – and arise Sir Anthony, the undisputed Twitter King at Carrow Road.
• TWITTER LEAGUE TOP 10
1. Anthony Pilkington 75,797 followers
2. Sébastien Bassong 42,992
3. John Ruddy 40,393
4. Elliott Bennett 26,360
5. Grant Holt 24,296
6. Simeon Jackson 13,172
7. Robert Snodgrass 10,274
8. David Fox 9,662
9. Ryan Bennett 7,895
10. Javier Garrido 6,442
• Hero of the week: I wonder how many times the headline Bass-on Song was used after the battling draw at Goodison Park? It was great to see Séb get his first goal for City and what a player he has been this season. I can’t think of too many better defenders we have had at the club for a long time. Strong, quick, skilful, a great leader – and now goal-scorer.
• Villain of the week: I’ve got a soft spot for Sunderland and especially their fans. I guess it started at the “Friendly Final” in 1985 and has gone from there. So my boo boy gong goes to whoever decided they should play at Carrow Road on Sunday at 4pm – after exactly the same kick-off time at Fulham. It just proves there is no thought for supporters from the game’s administrators and TV companies.
• Highlight of the week: You just can’t beat a late goal to grab a win or draw (and the leveller on Saturday felt like a securing a win). There were times – especially early on – when I feared we may get a bit of a hiding. But the resilience is so strong now in CH’s team and it was brilliant to extend the unbeaten run to seven games.
• Funniest moment of the week: A bloke goes into a travel agents and asks for advice on a good holiday destination. “Well it depends on which football team you support,” said the adviser. “I’m a Manchester United fan,” replied the man. “Well you can’t beat the Canaries at this time of year,” added the travel agent with a chuckle. Comedy magic.
• Prediction of the week: I’m becoming well known as a pretty bad tipster. However, I am the Lionel Messi of the forecasting world compared with Mark Lawrenson. Looking at his current form, I don’’t think Lawro could get his own name right. If you followed his predictions, Norwich would be second bottom with just seven points and QPR would be 11th with 17. If you like a flutter then look at his score guesses – and bet on the opposite.