It's rare that the stars of modern football feel this accessible.

Sporting director Ben Knapper stands in extended conversation with one fan for several minutes, a while after Norwich City's latest fans' forum came to a close. His wife waits patiently alongside executive director Zoe Webber as the stragglers trickle out, while head coach Johannes Hoff Thorup speaks casually to local media on the balcony.

Webber herself had spent a good portion of her evening in conversation with fans, not just the structured kind with microphones, cameras and inquisitive questions, but in a friendly fashion post-event.

The time mattered little to Thorup as he signed autograph after autograph, the queue seemingly never-ending as the clock ticked toward 8.30pm. There was nothing transactional about the pictures he took or the moments he spared; this was someone unweathered by decades of football talk.

By the time he reached his final interview of the night, the closing task of an eventful evening, he'd spread his message to thousands of Canaries fans. He'd expanded it for those who'd taken in his initial press conference, and reiterated it for those who somehow missed out.

The importance of that communication was a theme of the forum, at The Forum, and in that sense Thorup will have been pleased. Alongside Knapper and Webber he'd got through a variety of the topics fans are still unsure of, and reassured them of the importance of their support.

Communication was a key themeCommunication was a key theme (Image: Denise Bradley/ Newsquest)

Another of those key areas was style of play, the Dane's bread and butter according to his new boss. Almost without being prompted the pair launched into descriptions of their footballing ideals, and the latter said their harmony on that issue was the biggest reason Thorup has been hired.

Knapper also promised he'd do everything to ensure that was a consistent philosophy throughout the club, from first team to academy to Andy Cook's women's side. He wants fans to know what to expect at Carrow Road, and that pride in identity is something his new charge takes very seriously.

He also said he wanted fans to feel part of their club at the stadium, one Webber says is too costly to expand right now but something they're always looking at improving.

Knapper also pointed to that philosophy of improvement when asked what constituted success next season. In truth it felt like a get-out-of-jail card, but it did allow him to discuss the process focus that will be in place going forward.

Unsurprisingly the topic of transfers came up, and again it was to Webber for her assessment of the financial situation. Things were looking good, she said, and although parachute payments had ended they were ready and had planned for a time without them.

There was also the recognition of making the club's debt internal, owed to joint majority shareholder Mark Attanasio in the main, and the benefits of that. Of course debt is debt, and in any case it's worrying, but Webber was keen to ease any irrational fears of financial meltdown in NR1.

Executive director Zoe Webber says City have planned for their financial situationExecutive director Zoe Webber says City have planned for their financial situation (Image: Daniel Hambury/Focus Images Ltd)

The upshot is that Knapper has little to spend in any case, but he was still clear that City remain active in the transfer market, and that left-back is their main focus at present. Selling players will be required this summer, but there was a refreshing frankness about Knapper's ideas of player trading.

Adam Idah also came up, rather unsurprisingly it must be said. The former Arsenal loans manager sat patiently listening to a very well-researched and critical question about the Irishman before launching a staunch rebuttal in his defence, perhaps the most passionate answer of the night and the first to illicit a clap from the audience.

One common theme was the drive for Premier League sustainability, with many keen to focus on what next if City are promoted. The trio made no bones about the difficulty of getting there in the first place, but were clear that a long-term stay in the top flight remains the end goal.

Knapper's theory on the importance of incremental gains in doing so again highlighted his process point, as did Thorup's observation that aiming for improvement was the culture he'd experienced early on.

Supporters were keen to hear the panel's theories on Premier League sustainabilitySupporters were keen to hear the panel's theories on Premier League sustainability (Image: Andy Sumner/Focus Images Ltd)

There were some more individual matters discussed, with set-piece routines, lifts in stands and Copenhagen's little mermaid statue all on the table. There was also time for a rye smile or two from Thorup, chiefly on the English national team and VAR, before the event officially came to a close just before 8pm.

Then ensued the aforementioned niceties and the near-unsettling accessibility of key figures to fans, the sort that will only build the bond hoped for.

By the time August 10 rolls around and the Championship is back in session, this is the sort of occasion that may be forgotten in the fast-moving world of results and demands. But it laid the groundwork for a new era of communication and openness, an honesty with fans that Thorup discussed in his sign-off.

As one supporter observed midway through, these are just words that need to be backed up on the pitch. But while words are all we have to savour, it's hard to say they haven't been encouraging.