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Sausage rolls and survival prove key issues at Norwich City’s AGM

23:07 24 November 2015

Norwich City Football Club hold their 2015 AGM at Carrow Road.
 Pictured, from left, is financial director Steve Stone, joint majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, deputy chairman Michael Foulger, chairman Alan Bowkett, chief executive David McNally, manager Alex Neil and director Stephan Phillips. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Norwich City Football Club hold their 2015 AGM at Carrow Road. Pictured, from left, is financial director Steve Stone, joint majority shareholders Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, deputy chairman Michael Foulger, chairman Alan Bowkett, chief executive David McNally, manager Alex Neil and director Stephan Phillips. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Attracting top-level players, the prospect of expanding Carrow Road and problems with half-time sausage rolls – all just part of another Norwich City annual general meeting.

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Shareholders had their chance to grill the club’s board of directors at Carrow Road on Tuesday night and often found they were receiving a similar answer, whatever their issue.

Preserving top-flight status is key to all of the ambitions the club’s hierarchy and supporters have, with chairman Alan Bowkett jokingly turning to manager Alex Neil and saying with a smile: “All we need is for Alex to make us a regular Premier League club and then we’re home and dry!”

That message was no surprise, emphasised further with chief executive David McNally’s illustration of the club’s “revised vision” with a football-shaped graphic.

At the heart of that was the message “we are Premier League”.

So when the issue of expanding Carrow Road’s current 27,244 capacity was raised, the answer remained unchanged. An investment of over £25million, which would take over 10 years to pay off, is not the priority in the club’s first year back at English football’s top table – but it remains in the board’s long-term hopes.

McNally reminded supporters that another year in the top flight would be worth around £65million in broadcast revenue alone, having earlier said: “It wouldn’t need too many things to go right to double our income year on year.”

That was emphasised by revisiting the annual accounts, revealed earlier this year, which showed City’s income was forecast to grow 91.6pc, from £53.6m to £102.7m, for the 2015/16 financial year.

When it was pointed out that the Canaries currently sit 16th in the English football pyramid but only have the 30th biggest capacity, McNally took a different tact.

“Our facilities at Colney have to be improved, we have not got a choice,” he said. “It has to be best in class if we want to attract and attain some of the best players in the world.”

Neil has been telling supporters the same thing ever since the summer transfer window and agreed that the club’s training ground at Colney must improve if he is to attract fresh talent in January.

“Six years ago this club was in financial turmoil and was rescued by a lot of the people sitting here and is now looking to get back established in the Premier League – and that is a phenomenal achievement,” the Scot said. “Although the first team went up through the leagues, behind the scenes it hasn’t caught up.”

The formal business of the night was concluded smoothly, with chairman Alan Bowkett and deputy chairman Michael Foulger re-elected to the board.

The absence of fellow director Stephen Fry for a second successive year was raised, with financial director Steve Stone passing on the actor’s apologies for his absence.

The evening started on a sadder note though, as a round of applause was given in the memory of former AGM stalwart David Batley, who passed away recently.

But the AGM finished on a quirkier note, although an issue which will be important to many City fans.

The problems of long half-time queues in the Jarrold Stand and food not being ready until 2.15pm at some games, when the stadium opens at 1.30pm for a 3pm kick-off, prompted McNally to pledge action.

“The queues are too long and that is not good enough, we have got to do something about it,” he said, adding that more tills and staff are needed.

Joint majority shareholder and celebrity chef Delia Smith added: “If I could come down and give you a sausage roll myself, I would, and like David said, we will investigate it.”

It summed up a relaxed night and encapsulated perfectly that although the Canaries are in a great position, plenty of hard work is still needed if the club is to continue on an upward trajectory.

For more from the AGM, see tomorrow’s Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.

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36 comments

  • #Ivor, you cant mean Keith O'Neill, he loved a sausage roll

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Ah well , its all good, dont worry about increasing the capacity of carrow road , we have to spend the money on improving the training facilities again. PS its only Norfolk so get them on about sausage rolls for half an hour and we wont get questions about football

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • All sourced from Suffolk y'know . . . . . exceedingly bad taste !

    Report this comment

    Ole Tommy Buster Custard

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Sex and drugs and sausage rolls.

    Report this comment

    Ivor

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • If Alex Neil does manage to keep us up . I'm convinced he'll sign for another club that will give him a larger budget.

    Report this comment

    pug

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Also, why do we appear to have Sadam Hussain at one end of the table and Ronnie Kray at the other?

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • From the photo above, are the tight-fisted board not paying Alex enough to afford to buy a suit?

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    waclor

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • There are a few Norwich City style ways to solve the sausage roll problem: 1. Ignore the problem as if it was a leaking defence. 2. Make a public statement that sausage rolls are not compatible with Alex's preferred playing style and we will try and sign a few vol-au-vents. 3. Send the sausage rolls out on loan until they are ready, 4. State publically that the club were unable to attract any sausage rolls to the club so you will have to borrow one until January. Any other ideas? Come on Brew you have the appearance of a man with plenty of experience of sausage rolls.

    Report this comment

    waclor

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Fair comment el dingo. Perhaps I should have used Bruce ( Gillingham ) Drinkle ( Grimsby ) etc rather than Spurs reserves as examples to make my point. The problem today is that fringe players at the Spurs of this world are so comfortable & earning more than they would at Norwich , that there aren't many rich pickings at those clubs anymore Even if the players are ambitious & hungry to play it's more likely to be a loan deal. On the question of the clubs ambitions , I agree it does appear they would be quite happy to yo - yo as long as the fans keep turning up. Why would it take 10 years to clear the £25,000,000 spent on ground improvements when we have only spent a small proportion of the PL " jackpot money " estimated to be £ 60,000,000 +. Thank goodness for AN. If anyone can keep us up under the current regime , he can. I hope I'm proved wrong in the Jan window , but I doubt it. Everyone was identifying our problems pre season & so it has proved. '

    Report this comment

    Victor Bullimore

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Bournemouth have a much smaller crowd capacity but more money available for players....[Big money backer].

    Report this comment

    Richard Bonham

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Apparently this is not the first time the subject of sausage and rolls has been raised at board level. The last time was just before the rapid and surprising departure of one BJ. Be careful what you wish for, sausages have got many a man in deep doo doo, just ask George Michael !

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Why is it nobody thought to ask : how come Bournemouth, BOURNEMOUTH are able to c attract potential investors but we can't? Sausagerolls...For Christ's sake!

    Report this comment

    pug

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Can anyone actually go to a Premiership club AGM and bring up a question detailing the times that sausage rolls are able to be purchased , the time it takes to get one , how many staff are serving !! For god sake who is this person ? Are there no other channels for this trivia ? Not trivia to him her obviously . Never mind relegation staring us in the face , with the club about to be sitting on a 60 mill surplus. I want my sausage roll !!!!!

    Report this comment

    5th generation

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • ☜♥☞ "I refer the right honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a moment ago" ☜♥☞

    Report this comment

    Ole Tommy Buster Custard

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • 100% correct Michigan. I think McNally hopes that we all have Alzeihmers.

    Report this comment

    Raisedeyebrows

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Corner shop ownership and management mentality. I seem to remember McN saying we failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation last time we were relegated from the PL. Guess what - same owners, board and players. We need new ownership and business management desperately.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • The 'sausage roll' issue (or any other retailing of food and drink for that matter) should be seen as an 'opportunity' not a problem for any good business that values it's clients. Unfortunately, on an increasing number of levels supporters are seen more as an inconvenience to the club than an asset. What were these alleged questions that 'grilled' the board last night ?

    Report this comment

    Raisedeyebrows

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • I wonder when the club stops fans taking in their own sausage rolls . . . . for security reasons !.............ʸᵉᵃʰᵎᵎ े ̡̡⍤⃝  ̢̢ेे ꒳ᵒ꒳ᵎᵎ

    Report this comment

    Ole Tommy Buster Custard

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • What is Norwich's 'Revised Vision' then ? I cannot see any changes. This board has over-seen the biggest turnover in club revenue in the last 6 years than the club has possibly experienced in the rest of its history - Where has it all gone ?

    Report this comment

    Raisedeyebrows

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Premier league survival is directly correlated to sausage roll waiting times, a recent study suggests. If only they had put sausage rolls on the seats instead of paper clappers last time we went down...

    Report this comment

    GossVolley

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Oh Dingo whats happening here? I hope the person who raised the "sausage roll" issue was laughed out of the room. I bet Wee Alex almost pee'd himself.

    Report this comment

    spanishcanary

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • So missing the key issue of squeezing every penny out of the fans, but still a lack of investment in the squad where it matters like the defence. Saying we're behind in regards to facilities is a joke too, considering our facilities are considerably better than a lot of our rivals. How many can boast a large standalone training centre with a separate indoor facility? I know our friends down the road can't! Did we really need to have 4 separate DVD's for one season at £19 each? The kit has gone up in price despite being disliked by many. On top of the £500 plus Season Ticket prices we have to pay PL prices when travelling away, like £50 for Chelsea with £20 travel thrown on top and before Christmas. I thought clubs got a bit extra for us staying up this season? Why wasnt that taken into account for away games like Chelsea? David McNally see's the fans as piggy banks, not supporters. I wish I could have gone last night.

    Report this comment

    6FingerGiant

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Victor: while I don't disagree with you, every single player from our past you mention was either in Spurs Reserves or well known at their respective level. How could Ian Crook get a game with Hoddle and Hazard in front of him for instance? There is so obviously no ambition here to remain in the PL and I just hope Alex Neil will stay because without him we are in deep doo doo.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • I expect nothing in January in terms of signings. We have to back Alex Neil as he tries to make a 40-point jigsaw with several bits missing. Sausage rolls? Fer Chrissakes.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Villa are already down ? They haven't played us yet !

    Report this comment

    spark

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Neither really KA , just a comment. I think clubs like us have to gamble & hope to hit lucky ( like Leicester did ) It worked with Hucks, Holt , didn't with RVW , Hooper etc. There's more to being a PL footballer than being a good footballer. Brady appears to have it , not so sure about Redmond. A lot of City' most successful signings in recent years ( before the days of Ronnie Brooks !!) seem to have been a bit like this. Perhaps AN & his new regime will have set up a scouting system that will unearth the Bruce , Bowen Culverhouse Crook , Watson Woods Etc. I think our PL survival depends on it

    Report this comment

    Victor Bullimore

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • I cannot work out if you are supporting my point of view, Victor, or criticising it?

    Report this comment

    Kent Anglian

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Trawl the lower leagues for new talent ? Isn't that where Brady , Redmond , Bennett , Howson & Co came from ?

    Report this comment

    Victor Bullimore

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Survival! That says it all! In the Championship we can play attractive attacking football, where as in the Prem it's hang on and try to frustrate the opposition. If we did find any star, match winning players the big clubs would come a calling and we'd be back to square one. Catch 22.

    Report this comment

    cutty

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Maybe Ulloa is Leicester's RvW this season? Record £8 million and only 1 goal in 8 . . . . who knows?

    Report this comment

    Ole Tommy Buster Custard

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Jamie Vardy cost £1.7 million from non-league. He wasn't a top PL player at Fleetwood. He wasn't a top Champ player at Leicester in his first season. They stuck with him instead of spending a fortune. Much like we've done with Grabban and Jerome. They're the strikers to kick start our season, not looking into the Football League for a cheap gamble. Mbokani is brilliant business if we can secure him longer term . . . . if we stay up. NCFC fans have a tendency to not be patient.

    Report this comment

    Ole Tommy Buster Custard

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Villa are already down , Sunderland were on the way , but have appointed Big Sam , Bournemouth still play football of a good quality . Norwich`s survival could hinge on Newcastle`s fortunes .Should they sack The Wally With The Brolly , their results may improve ....as for Stephen Fry - what does he know about football , more to the point , what interest does he have in the game ?

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • Kent Anglian has a point. Top players don't have to cost a fortune - Jamie Vardy has proven that.

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    Johny

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • I agree with you, Lincs, that our training facilities are unlikely to be the governing factor between top players signing or not. Seems a strange comment by DMc to me - if it has been reported correctly. I would say that wages, League position and potential would be more important. I have said it before but we must trawl the Football League, as very few other PL clubs seem to be doing this these days - there must be some good players there ready to step up. I have a feeling that there will be a lot of transfer activity going on in January - probably more going than coming. The last 'window' in the summer may have come too soon for AN, as he had not really had enough time by then to assess who he had and who he needed, plus the scouting structure was not fully formed in time. I think he is fully aware now as to who we need. Maybe a few surprises?

    Report this comment

    Kent Anglian

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • The AGM confirmed what we already know, ie only survival in the Prem can generate the tv money to deliver longer term ambitions. To hasten delivery of these ambitions would need new blood in the boardroom with the means to subsidise living beyond our means. It is the difference between us and most other top flight clubs. Doubt if our failure to attract mercenary players has much to do with training facilities, more likely the pay structure. And dont be misled in to believing the increase in predicted income means we have the prospect of a spend spend window.

    Report this comment

    Lincs Canary

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

  • All seems very satisfactory then, apart from the sausage roll queue. It is also very pleasing that the Canaries are in a great position, financially, however, the PL table position is much more of a concern.

    Report this comment

    Sanjeev

    Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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

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