Sadly, there are too many Norwich City supporters who believe that, behind those closed doors, the football club is some sort of utopian fantasy. But, as with any operation led by human beings, the reality is riddled with mistakes and flaws.
Football is like one huge game of poker. Except the risks are higher. And the competition fiercer.
Ultimately the reality is that this isn’t a computer game and the money isn’t fictional. And sadly Norwich have wasted far too much of it in recent years.
I’ve mentioned in a few of my articles the influence of Stuart Webber and how well he has conducted himself in his brief stint at the club; his honesty refreshing and his thinking modern. That said, his head is firmly on the chopping block and his decisions are waiting to be evaluated by 26,000 plus fans at Carrow Road alone.
Despite being drunk on optimism, there is still the unpleasant odour of last season still being churned around Carrow Road, and this season is Norwich’s one chance at redemption – the last drink at the soon-to-be-closing last chance saloon.
The reality is simple and dramatically clear – if promotion isn’t achieved in the upcoming campaign, financially, Norwich are in a mess.
Then players will leave Carrow Road quicker than you can say “sold”; Pritchard and Murphy(s) spearheading the list of assets who will disperse from Norfolk if promotion isn’t attained.
So why don’t Norwich get new investors?
Fans are absolutely right to question why external investment hasn’t graced the boardroom at NR1; personally, I see positives and negatives for this argument.
Firstly, why the financial difficulties maintaining a self-sustained football club has been widely documented, Norwich have spent four of the last six seasons in England’s top tier and in the apparent best league in the world. Before the signing of Ricky van Wolfswinkel in 2014, Norwich’s record signing was Dean Ashton for the basement price of £3.25m.
While I accept it’s all relative in terms of the inflation of transfer fees and calibre of the clubs they were purchased for, my point remains – money doesn’t guarantee success. No City fan questioned Alex Tettey’s price tag as he toe-poked Norwich ahead at Old Trafford, nor when Grant Holt rampaged through Roy Keane’s fragmented Ipswich Town.
And let’s not forget – we bought Wes Hoolahan and Grant Holt for less for a million pounds.
Yet when Norwich have engaged in higher stakes in order to compete, their attempts have often failed. The aforementioned Dutch striker being the epitome of a flawed and imbalanced recruitment system.
Conventionally City have always shopped more effectively when the poker chips have been reduced, the very market currently being delved into by Webber.
Also, foreign ownership has a low risk of success based on evidence currently in the game. Despite the relative successes of Bournemouth, Chelsea and Watford, foreign ownership has been inconsistently frantic and business led.
I’m sure Leyton Orient fans were intrigued and excited by the purchase of Italian millionaire Francesco Becchetti after the disappointment of a play-off final defeat, in which they were one kick away from Championship football. But fast forward three years and Orient are no longer even a presence in league football.
That’s not to say there haven’t been successes.
I suppose it’s the classic argument of being careful what you wish for. Huddesfield Town’s owner Dean Hoyle has shown it is possible to be self-funding and reach the upper echelons of football. But there is an argument to suggest that recruitment and structure was key to their success; not ownership.
Ultimately, it’s easy to peer into the garden of other teams and find a fully blossoming bed of flowers that have been given time and placed in soil which helps them flourish. Money is indispensable in the glamour and sexiness of the Premier League; unfortunately media outlets see no glamour in a Burton away on a Tuesday night.
But what angers some supporters is the apparent lack of acceptance towards external investment. Why can’t Norwich find an independent investor to provide hard cash and get deals over the line? The simple fact is unless the deal financially benefits that individual, it is simply not viable. Sadly.
The recruitment at Norwich has been shambolic, unacceptable and disgraceful in recent years. The lop-sided playing squad and players being brought without fitting the philosophy or dynamic of this side seems strange. Ultimately fans see the amount of money that is floating around the game and desperately wanted to see their football club stick their chest out and risk its financial certainty.
I understand this viewpoint, but I think we are all agreed at the end of the day, we just want Norwich City to be represented on the football pitch. This becomes supremely difficult with a club in administration – see QPR, see Portsmouth etc.
Personally, I think Delia deserves a lot of credit for her reign of this football club. Under Robert Chase, Carrow Road mirrored a North Korean governmental building. Under Delia, you find a perfectly imperfect football club that is constantly learning.
This isn’t a Delia love-in however and I believe, if the investor is right, Delia should sell if she feels the offer benefits the club.
I am sure she would do that anyway. What she lacks in finance, she makes up for in passion.