Norwich City bond proves a hit. Could it be rolled out again in the future?
Norwich City managing director Steve Stone admits the club's £5m Canaries' bond could be the way forward to fund large scale projects like safe standing.
City supporters have backed plans to transform the academy at Colney, after 735 investors signed up to the five-year, fixed term scheme to hit the maximum £5m ceiling.
Stone believes the innovative model is a viable option for other potential infrastructure projects, with the club open to exploring the possibility of safe standing at Carrow Road – subject to a change in legislation.
“The demand for the bond has outweighed what we would expect it to,” he said.
“But I think it is important that this type of investment is used on capital projects, so it is in the very fabric of the football club.
“Take safe standing, for example, in the future if that did become a possibility, from a legal point of view, that is a way you could fund changing Carrow Road to make elements of it compatible for safe standing, in the same way we have looked at the academy and Colney.
“I would stress this type of investment opportunity is best suited for capital rather than day-to-day operational matters.”
Stone is adamant the scale of the take up for the Canaries’ bond is a ringing endorsement of the club’s vision for the academy.
“We always said this is not a donation, it is about being part of something,” he said.
“I was confident we would hit our £3.5m target but I didn’t expect us to get to £5m as quickly as we did.
“For me, it’s an endorsement of what we are trying to do. We have been very open about what we want to do and that is to benefit the club and the first team in the long term.
“I take this as a sign people recognise that and what to be involved.
“In addition it is also a good investment, we know it’s an unsecured bond but at 8pc interest - 5pc in cash and 3pc in club credit - if you are a fan of the club that is a very compelling investment that enables a return.
“What it will now allow us to do is enhance our plans.
“We always looked at different scenarios, from the £3.5m right through to the £5m.
“How we could spend the money, what we could do in terms of enhancing the infrastructure at Colney, and better facilities for those who visit Colney to watch the games.”