Guest blogs- Day two: In the spirit of balance and because MyFootballWriter is regularly accused of being a’ board apologist’, a haven for ‘happy clappers’ and a ‘mouthpiece of the club’, we offered the MFW floor to one of our biggest critics. He sometimes calls himself ‘Jeff’.
We’re still waiting for said gent to accept our offer but, in the meantime, the gauntlet has been picked up by Martin Penney, who – like Jeff – thinks things could/should be a good deal better at Carrow Road.
Let’s be totally honest, there isn’t a single City fan in the land that shouldn’t be grateful to Delia and Michael.
Okay, she had that unfortunate photograph with an 1p5wich scarf and the couple live the wrong side of the border, but that hardly bothers me. Because at that time, they almost literally brought the club back from the brink of darkness.
My only personal experience of meeting Delia was a strange one. Just before we went “Top of the League at Portman Road“, I vowed to have the Canary crest tattooed on my chest if we made it. I duly did. Ouch.
And then, one afternoon we bumped into her when she was on walkabout in the Upper Barclay bar and my mate’s precocious daughter promptly pulled my shirt up. Delia recoiled in mock horror. She pulled my shirt back down, signed it with marker pen, had a big belly laugh and, after a quick chat with all of us, moved on.
Good fun, I guess. We were ‘Premier League’ at the time and loving it. All of us.
That was then, but this is now.
These days, there are several folk about, like me, who think Delia is the source of a missed opportunity. We have had many chances to become established in the bottom half at least of the Premier League but have failed every time.
While there are supporters out there who would rather see us win in the Championship than survive in the PL, I am by no means one of them. I want to see Arsenal, not Preston.
So, let’s have a personal consideration of Delia and the Board as they exist today.
Lots of folk think it’s a cosy position for people of a certain religious and political persuasion. I don’t do religion but Delia is hardly shy about her left wing sympathies and the appointment of Ed Balls felt like a kick in his surname to some of us.
Why have a politician as Chairman? I agree he’s a personable man and a true supporter, but in my honest opinion it shows a lack of understanding of public feeling. Maybe some of us don’t rate politicians too highly?
Now let’s move on to Tom Smith. What, except to continue the family dynasty, can he bring to the Board of Norwich City? I’ve even heard the word nepotism bandied about, but they are Delia’s shares and she can do with them as she wants.
Peter Cullum was rebuffed, Tony Fernandez was too (quite rightly) and I cannot imagine any incoming investor getting the green light in my lifetime.
Then back to that ugly word … rumour.
Alan Bowkett quit, soon followed by David McNally. The questions are floating around still, but quite naturally confidentiality means there will be no answers. Two extremely astute characters who are unfortunately no longer with us – in the NCFC sense.
The most concerning rumour I have heard – I don’t believe it personally but so many people I know seem to think there’s an element of truth in it – is that we actively don’t want to be an established PL club because of the Board’s financial requirements (for NCFC, not for themselves personally).
And onto the Board’s Achilles’ heel – No communication with the fans. But I have a theory regarding this: There is an Archant man on the Board who maybe sanctions his own people to be fed crumbs. It’s common these days so no implied criticism of anybody, but when the football club and the local media have no regional rivalry whatsoever because nobody else exists is it a little too easy?
A lot of people know it’s a monopoly out there in both cases. A two-way winner apart from the natural reaction from those who see through it.
To anyone who might suggest if I don’t like the Board’s methods or actions I could always go to the AGM and ask a question, I would say this… in roughly 2004 I bought £100 or £200 of shares in NCFC. Primarily to help the club, but also to get what I thought would be a nice certificate I could frame and put on our wall as a symbol of solidarity and pride.
It turned out to be a cheap photocopy that probably got ripped up for shopping lists to be written on the back of. Three of my friends did the same and were equally disappointed. Myself and a friend were at the infamous AGM where the magnificent Mr Roeder responded to a floor question with: ” I presume I missed your tenure as England manager”.
We were six feet from the poor devil who asked the question and walked out. I would never go to one again. I’ve been to seriously serious business meetings in London, Paris, Mannheim, Dublin, you name it, but have never heard anybody treated like that. And the Board of the time all seemed to sit there and condone the comment.
However, I am not one to complain about alleged lack of spending. Against Wolves we had £11 million ( Naismith and Canos) not even in the match-day squad and on the bench were Oliveira and Pritchard (£13 million). That is £24million worth of talent not on the pitch. Something ain’t quite right.
Some folks blame everything from the scouting system through to our geographical situation to the wage structure when we don’t sign player X or Y. Personally I feel if agents were taken out of the equation life would be easier all round, but that’s an impossible dream.
Anyway it seems we are stuck with the Smith dynasty for the foreseeable future but, whether we like it or not, when we go to games we must get on with it and get behind the team, as most of us always do…
If only just one single member of our Board was a real “football person” I would have a little more confidence in them as a collective. But not a single one of them is and in my mind that doesn’t bode well for the future.
Nothing will stop me from being at Carrow Road for the Rotherham game – or any other home match come to that – and I’ve missed just three home league matches in 28 years (notice how I established some belated cred there?).
The Board are basically an irrelevance in that respect. Love ’em or hate ’em, we all love our team. And that’s what it’s still all about, not just the folks with the serious money.
Many thanks to the MFW team for allowing me the opportunity to express my views.
I guess I’ll be the one in the camouflage fatigues and tin helmet in Bacton Woods for a few days, but that’s what this site is all about and more power to it’s elbow.
Thanks to Martin for his thoughts. I’m expecting a busy day on the ‘comments’ 🙂