And so the transfer merry-go-round begins. Will City be taking the ride and paying for the luxury seats? Or will the club be more content to look on from the sidelines and occasionally hop on in the economy section?
While some fans seem convinced that spending big bucks is the way to Premier stability, others – including myself – would prefer a more cautious and pragmatic approach to squad building and strengthening.
For the first season back in the Premier League in 2011-12, the club spent tidily but not big – at least compared to some. The result was a thrilling and ultimately successful adventure.
In early 2012, Ipswich youth product Ryan Bennett cost top dollar at £3.2 million but has never cemented his name on the team sheet under four managers – just 30 odd league games under his belt.
Clearly David McNally and Paul Lambert saw great potential in a young and upcoming English defender and we should applaud them for that.
It is difficult however to see Ryan getting his foot in the door now and even more difficult to see the club recuperating anywhere near that three and a bit million if Alex Neil decides he’s surplus to requirement.
Jonny Howson at £2million has taken longer maybe than most expected perhaps to really settle in but increasingly looks like a snip at twice that price. Is Jordan Henderson better? I don’t think so.
Steve Morison cost a whopping £2.5 million – he flickered now and again but since heading off to pastures new has almost disappeared without trace, leaving that price we paid seem a little silly.
Elliot Bennett cost a cool £1.5 million. As with the other Bennett boy, he has never become a favourite under succeeding management teams. Again, a heavy price tag to bear it seems.
Finally, Daniel Ayala at £800k didn’t cut it and was soon on his way. While he was a rock for Middlesbrough last season, Cameron Jerome’s opener at Wembley made our former Spanish centre-back look a bit lightweight.
In summary – with the odd exception – a few million was dished out for little return, such is the ‘no guarantee’ nature of any transfer.
What would have happened if Lambert had stayed? That’s the multi-million pound question with no answer.
As the 2015/16 season all too slowly ticks round, the club is in an altogether different financial landscape to back then.
Parachute payment? Thank you very much although it feels dirty to be rewarded for getting relegated.
Promotion TV money? Again, thank you very much although it does seem an obscene slice of a more obscene Sky/BT pie considering that the aftershocks of the global economic crisis are still being suffered by many outside of the wacky world of the English Premier League.
As the Greek economy teeters on the precipice of catastrophe, the cash floodgates are about to burst open in a flood of comings and goings of proven and unproven talent.
And while on that subject… anyone fancy a vaguely ironic footballer’s anagram?
Clue – defender, 50 odd games in the Championship, worth £8 million quid (apparently).
If anyone wasn’t aware that Bournemouth had a Russian billionaire owner, then surely now it’s obvious.
Yes, after just one full season in the second tier, Tractor Boy Tyrone Mings has put pen to paper and waved goodbye to the dreaming spires of Ipswich (ahem).
It’s an extraordinary price tag for someone so young and so inexperienced. I guess our equivalent would be Ryan Bennett. Will history repeat?
I wish master Mings good luck. I hope his career flourishes down on the south coast now he’s left McCarthy’s bargain bin squad. God knows Roy Hodgson could do with an alternative to Chris Smalling or Phil Jagielka.
And fair play to Bournemouth from the angle of buying British and investing in youth when the overriding temptation with most PL clubs would be to go abroad and go experienced for a centre back at that kind of eye-popping transfer fee.
Meanwhile, Raheem Sterling is valued at £50million by Liverpool.
Crazy money even in crazy money times. For those of a certain age, the phrase “too much too young” sung to a two tone Ska beat springs to mind.
Of course, all of a yellow and green persuasion are still suffering from the shock of eight million pounds worth of striker scoring just one goal before heading across the Channel on loan.
The hype that was built up around him at the time seemed a bit silly but in hindsight was embarrassing. Who knows, Ricky van Wolfswinkel may even get a second chance over the coming months, become a firm fan favourite at last and earn every penny that eight million pounds worth of transfer brings.
But I’m not holding my breath.
Ultimately, what got us to 12th place in 2011-12 was a sensibly assembled squad without big bucks stars under the leadership of an inspired Scottish coach. Same again would be great.
While the tens of millions reward for play-off glory may be in the bank account of Norwich City FC, I hope that we don’t all get blinded by or envious of the multi million pound deals which will be flashing up on our screens.
We don’t want a Greek tragedy on our hands in Norfolk.