To all intents and purposes, nothing has changed with regard to the whole Grant Holt saga.
Other than the ‘news’ that his agent, Lee Payne, has told the Evening News that they are awaiting Chris Hughton’s return from holiday before sitting down with the new Canary boss and working out exactly what was what.
“It is difficult to make any comment with Chris Hughton out of the country and I wouldn’t want to comment either way until Chris is back,” Payne told the paper.
But, to my mind, the landscape has changed rather dramatically since the 31-year-old Canary skipper made his feelings plain and first slapped in that transfer request – changes that may yet to deliver the right outcome for all concerned.
The first two points are small, but potentially significant, in the sense that Holt has now seen the new manager deliver long-term security to two of his team-mates at Carrow Road – Russell Martin and Andrew Surman.
And while a third – Adam Drury – might have found himself seeking employment elsewhere, it was all for perfectly logical reasons; 11 years after he first arrived in Norfolk, a significant Championship outfit was offering the 33-year-old a two-year deal. That made perfect sense to all involved.
The point being that Hughton is not ripping up the dressing room that Holt led for the last three seasons – quite the reverse, in fact. He’s already looking after the boys well. That will not have gone unnoticed.
But there is a bigger piece of news ‘in play’ now that – potentially – could have changed the rules of the game altogether since last the parties spoke.
For while BT’s emergence as a genuine rival to BSkyB’s dominance of domestic, live football rights might have done little to help Norfolk’s search for decent broadband, it will have done wonders for Norwich City’s famed ‘seven-year’ plan and the numbers said plan worked to.
OK, so many of them might be contingent on Hughton proving his worth and keeping the Canaries in the top flight next season, but if City get to the start of the 2013-2014 season with their Premier League status intact, then it’s happy, happy days on the finance front.
The new deal – announced whilst Hughton was on holiday – amounts to a 70% increase on the value of the current deal with BSkyB and ESPN; up to £3.018 billion as opposed to the mere £1.773 billion currently sluicing its way through the Premier League coffers.
And there may be more to come; given the global reach the Premier League enjoys, expect further eye-watering numbers to come as Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore turns his formidable commercial powers to the foreign rights market. In many regards, the two Manchester clubs and the extraordinary manner in which last season ended did everyone a huge favour – just how good was that in terms of TV viewing?
At the helm of the good ship Canary, Messrs Bowkett and McNally are probably more well-versed in the ways of the Scudamores of this world than any boardroom pairing the club has seen; both are wholly at ease within such conversations; at one with such numbers.
The interesting point, for me, is when they mapped out their ‘seven-year’ plan and – inevitably, one presumes – factored in a new TV rights deal coming in the midst of such planning, whether even they calculated on a 70% increase over and above the existing deal.
Whether they foresaw be it a BT or A N Other coming in and driving the price of domestic live football rights to such unprecedented heights?
If they did, then fair play; if not and they factored in a mere 40% rise in the game’s TV takings, then there’s 30% of ‘unbudgeted’, potential income that has just landed on their table as their new manager prepares to sit down with Grant Holt and his main man.
The new deal may, of course, have a further knock-on effect on their thinking.
For if the pot of gold that lies at the end of the 2012-2013 rainbow is now at least 70% bigger than the current one, the importance of making damn sure that you stay up this season grows again.
In short, maybe you do rather more of whatever it takes to be in the top flight of English football this time next year; that you ponder pushing the boat out just that little bit further given the enhanced prize now on offer.
It isn’t a case of wholly re-writing the script; throwing proverbial caution to the wind. Just don’t rock the boat more than you have to…
For the numbers have changed of late; the landscape has shifted; Hughton may now have more financial power to his elbow if all that Holt seeks is just one more year on his current deal.
For the little it is ever worth, my money is on Holt staying; a deal being done as the new City chief ushers the Canary skipper back into the dressing room fold again.
And if the Old Man were still in charge, he would announce it in time for the Royal Norfolk Show…