City chief Paul Lambert has been handed a second, huge transfer boost on the eve of tonight’s nPower Championship trip to play-off hopefuls Leicester City.
The Canary boss has already found his coffers £2 million the richer thanks to the generosity of long-serving Canary director Michael Foulger and his share purchase ahead of January’s transfer window opening.
Now the City faithful have played their part too by renewing their season tickets in record-breaking numbers.
With the ‘emergency’ loan window still open and the Canaries very much still in the hunt for one, final piece to see them across the finishing line, Lambert can now act in the certain knowledge that he has a guaranteed revenue stream already in place – the kind that keeps any watching bank manager on-side as the club ponders its options in the Premiership loan market.
Do they stick with what they have got? Or do they twist once more – now armed with the financial certainties that comes with 20,500 season ticket renewals being confirmed by last Saturday’s first deadline?
It is a very nice position to be in as the Canaries travel to the Walkers Stadium for this evening’s latest crunch encounter.
Though as Lambert and the club’s chief executive David McNally would be the first attest, it is all very well having the means at your disposal – you still have to persuade the Premiership clubs involved to let the required player out.
Not to mention the small matter of persuading said player not to go to a Cardiff, a Forest or a Leeds – all of whom will be knocking on the door of the same clubs, for the same players.
That all said, that 20,500 figure is another magnificent example of the unwavering loyalty the Canary faithful demonstrate towards the Norfolk club.
It is a 2,000-strong improvement on the figure for this time last year – helped, no doubt, by the tantalizing possibility of Premiership football returning to Carrow Road next season.
It is, for the record, also significantly higher than the 19,250 total number of supporters who bought season tickets to watch City in their last foray into the top flight under Nigel Worthington in 2004-05.
Little wonder that chief executive McNally could be found singing the supporters praises last night – his hand strengthened once more when it came to the ever-delicate conversations with the bank.
They, you now hope, will grant the Canaries the kind of breathing space required to pursue that Premiership push to its conclusion.
Season ticket sales are all about delivering guaranteed revenue streams. And City supporters have delivered – big time. And early, too.
Earlier than many a Championship rival.
“These figures are once again testament to the brilliant supporters we are privileged to have at Norwich City,” said McNally.
“We had to make some big decisions when we reviewed our season ticket strategy for the 2011-12 campaign,” he added.
“We increased the price of ground season tickets by £1.50 per game in most areas and by more in some areas like the lounges in the Geoffrey Watling City Stand, where we are undertaking an exciting refurbishment of the facilities to bring them up to Premier League standards.
“We changed the starting age for adult concessions from 60 to 65, but we also froze prices for our young supporters in the Under-21, Under-16 and Under-12 categories in recognition of the tough financial climate for families and the need to encourage future generations of City fans to come to Carrow Road.
“The response from our supporters has been superb. Our pledge to them is that every spare penny generated by season ticket sales everywhere in the ground goes straight into Paul Lambert’s playing budget.”
The manager also added his own word of thanks on the eve of Foxes’ battle.
“As I’ve said before the fans are huge to the football club. What they’ve done in supporting us both home and away has been fantastic during what has happened in the 18 months here,” said the City chief.
“To sell over 20,000 season tickets already just underlines their superb support and commitment to the football club.”
Zak Whitbread remains the biggest doubt ahead of this evening’s game. The American centre-half fell heavily on his back in the 1-1 draw with Preston North End at the weekend.
Rob Edwards looks in line to make his first, full Canary start since his loan switch from Premiership Blackpool should Whitbread not make the cut.