New Canary director Sharon Turner was in a confident and robust mood as she joined City chief executive Neil Doncaster and the club's director of finance, Shaun O'Hara, at yesterday's accounts briefing.
Yes, there would be a ?7 million shortfall in next year's accounts as the Premiership parachute payments dry up; yes, that shortfall would be met; that hole will be plugged.
Yes, there certainly was money available for hard-pressed Canary boss Peter Grant to make a loan signing; he only had to ask.
No, Norwich would not have to sell a player to make ends meet; no, she did not have any qualms about the level of the chief executive's salary and benefits package – revealed for the first time this year following Doncaster's elevation to the board.
?The accounts really relate to a period prior to our invlovement, however they reflect the difficult position of football clubs – particularly in the Championship.
?And particularly when the parachute payments have stopped,? said Mrs Turner, who alongside husband Andrew joined the Carrow Road board this May – just as the 2006-2007 year end was arriving on May 31.
In those 12 preceding months City recorded a profit after tax of ?100,000, down from ?2.4 million in 2006. Turnover, too, dipped by ?300,000 to ?23.8 million; the overall debt position eased slightly – down from ?19.2 million to ?17.6 million.
As ever, the devil – and the fun – was in the detail. Another ?800,000 loan converted into shares by Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones to take their overall share- holding as of May 31 this year to 61.2%; 327,000-odd ?1 Ordinary shares that, when trading at ?25 a share, represents about ?8.2 million invested by the couple in the Carrow Road club. Give or take.
And then there was the first ever appearance of Doncaster's remuneration which would appear under the title 'Aggregate emoluments (including benefits)' and weigh in at ?174,424 – plus ?11,692 in pension contributions.
That always was the flip-side of joining the board and becoming the lone executive director – having your pay-packet on display.
For those wishing for a comparison, the last set of Ipswich Town accounts – published last November for the 12 months ending June, 2006 – revealed that Town chairman David Sheepshanks and Portman Road chief executive Derek Bowden were paid bonuses of ?25,000 and ?46,000 respectively to take their overall earnings – boosted by benefits and pension payments – to ?114,000 and ?214,000 apiece.
The same set of accounts revealed that the Suffolk club were just over ?36 million in debt.
?Neil's remuneration is consistent with other chief executives of other Championship clubs and is, in fact, in many cases less,? said Mrs Turner. ?We feel his remuneration fairly reflects his contribution to Norwich City Football Club.?
There was another interesting comparison on offer yesterday as Premiership leaders Arsenal unveiled their own set of accounts for the year ending May 31, 2007 – their first in their new Emirates home.
The Gunners turnover rocketed to just over ?200 million – some eight times that of Norwich – with group operating profits finishing at ?51.2 million. Or twice Norwich's total turnover.
Back in the real world and Mrs Turner revealed that plans were in place to combat that ?7 million black hole – without player sales. And having already dipped into a family fortune estimated by the latest Sunday Times Rich List to be worth ?275 million, the co-founder of Central Trust wasn't ruling out extending their financial commitments beyond that initial ?2 million interest-free loan.
Quizzed as to how the club does, exactly, bridge that ?7 million gap without flogging a Chrissy Martin to the first bidder, Mrs Turner insisted plans were in place.
The 'post balance sheet events' included the note that: 'On 26 July 2007 the group secured planning permission on phase 2 to build further riverside flats and to convert the test bed building into a mixture of commercial and residential units'. There's one Chrissy Martin equivalent.
?That's one of the things that we – and the management team – have been working really hard on, looking at ways we can do that,? said Mrs Turner.
?Looking at ways we can do that without selling players, without cutting costs and looking at increasing our income,? she said, citing the rebranding of the old 'Scores' bar into the new 'Yellows' restaurant as one example of extending the club's non-football income.
Wiht the best will in the world, that will only make a tiny dent in City's ?7 million shortfall, but she was very confident that forced player sales wouldn't happen. ?That will not happen,? she said simply – given her tone of voice, she was almost in danger of guaranteeing that.
?We will find a way of generating additional income.
?We already have a plan which shows that we will break even next year by generating additional income through-out the business – other than the business of football – and we don't plan to be in a position where we have to sell players.?
The other point to remember is that the more you see and hear from Mrs Turner – and, indeed, husband Andrew – the more you can't help wondering whether they are not getting more and more bitten by the football 'bug'.
Given that their ambitious plans also include turning Central Trust into a ?1 billion business by 2010, the whole financial landscape of the club has changed. It's just not in the accounts – it's in the people.
Would they be adding to that ?2 million loan? ?We won't rule it in, we won't rule it out,? she said. ?We're open minded about that – it will depend on what is required to take the team forward.?
Three or four more bodies, was the manager's verdict on that front after Saturday's wretched 2-0 defeat at Wolves – his chase for a new centre-half would continue right up until three hours before tonight's Carling Cup kick-off.
Give us a name and we'll sort something, appeared to be Mrs Turner's message – even if it is of the ?500,000 loan fee and ?15,000-a-week variety. Give us a name.
?The board will consider that once Peter has put a proposal to us,? she said. ?And there will be money available for loans.?
Shareholders will have their own chance to quiz the Canary board as to the latest set of accounts at the club's annual general meeting which will be held at Carrow Road on October 18, 2007. Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones – plus the Turners themselves – are all up for re-election.
Also up for grabs will be ?1 million worth of ?1 Ordinary shares in the football club is passed – provided the resolution authorising the release of 33,333 new shares is passed.