Here are some comments from Twitter. All very recent. All genuine. All entirely predictable.
“As things stand, our beloved old club is not rich enough to succeed in the modern game.”
“It’s the owners’ fault. You could stick any manager in, and we would still be getting the same issues time and time again: lack of investment.”
“This is such basic economics: invest in immediate improvement and there is a very clear path to recover those costs and much more.”
“To those who say, ‘go and find a buyer then’, I say: unless owners actively look to sell the club then nobody will appear.”
“We can protest and push Delia to put the club up for sale.”
“What do you expect when you are shopping at the bargain bucket every transfer window. You have to put your hand in your pocket as an owner these days. It’s modern football.”
“It’s surely right to point to our overall current position as an owner/insufficient investment problem.”
“Who has been the constant during the years of apathy?”
“No ambition from the owners, again.”
“At what point does our placid fanbase say ‘Enough is enough’, and protest?”
Obviously I tidied up the spelling and punctuation. Oh, and I changed “owner” to “owners” and “Marcus Evans” to “Delia”, because those are all comments by fans of the Suffolk club who fell out of the League One play-off positions at the weekend.
Marcus Evans is worth about £800 million. When he took over at Ipswich, in December 2007, the club’s indebtedness was £32m. Ipswich had overspent in the Premier League and, when relegated went skint – because they couldn’t sell four big earners: Hermann Hreidarrson, Matt Holland, Finidi George and Martijn Reuser.
The club’s debt is now £96.3m. Or, to put it another way, Evans has put in almost £100m over 13 years.
All of the money is owed to Evans. He has not converted any of it into equity. Instead the growing debt is treated as a loan by Evans, on which he charges the club 5.4% interest.
The point is a simple but undeniable one: having a rich owner, prepared to “invest” is no guarantee of success. Because, when you think about it, pretty much every club in the top four divisions is owned by one or more wealthy individuals, and they can’t all be successful. In fact, season after season, most of them must fail.
For instance: the teams fighting with Norwich at the wrong end of the Premier League table all have multi-millionaire or billionaire owners: Brighton, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Watford and West Ham.
Many Norwich fans ignore the example of the strugglers and point instead at the good results achieved this season by Sheffield United. There’s always someone to point to, for a season or two.
Yet look over a longer time-scale and it becomes clear that no club outside the top six or so can think of themselves as established in the Premier League, no matter how loaded the owners.
The proof is provided by a “rich list” of owners outside the Premier League. The top of that list is:
1) QPR: Tony Fernandes, Lakshmi Mittal (combined worth £11bn)
2) Stoke City: Coates family (£6.9bn)
3) Barnsley: Chien Lee (£6.9bn)
4) Fulham: Shahid Khan (£5.3bn)
5) West Brom: Guochuan Lai (£2.8bn)
So four of the five richest owners outside the Premier League have seen their clubs relegated since they took bought them.
Even if having a wealthy owner were a guarantee of success for a football club — it can’t be, as I’ve shown — there are two more good reasons for not throwing money at a football team.
The first is that it often makes you skint. In the Premier League era there have been 56 instances of English football clubs becoming insolvent and entering administration and/or a company voluntary arrangement.
On 31 occasions, the insolvency led to points deductions — and always the clubs end up paying only a fraction of the money they owe to local firms and organisations such as the St John Ambulance.
There are well-known examples of clubs enjoying success after periods in administration — either as a new club or as the original club with new owners. Crystal Palace are currently sustaining a long period in the Premier League despite twice going into administration (in 1988 and 2010) for instance.
But, equally, there are examples of clubs being so damaged by insolvency that they do not fully recover. Portsmouth and Wimbledon provide stark examples.
Portsmouth went into administration twice in three seasons as one rich owner decided to stop spending so much of his wealth on his hobby.
Wimbledon’s period of administration followed their controversial move to Milton Keynes and they emerged from admin as MK Dons, by which time fans of Wimbledon had started their own club from scratch: much like Stockport fans did inn 2014 and Bury supporters are trying to do at the moment.
The second reason why it is dangerous to throw money at a football team is that, after years during which rules about “financial fair play” have been widely ignored, there now appears to be a real appetite to take the issue seriously and to stop what has been described as “financial doping”.
When QPR were fined £42m for overspending, it was a classic case of a gamble failing. They squandered money in the Championship, thinking that they would get promotion, stay in the Premier League and never be punished by the Football League. But they were relegated and the fine that was waiting for them forced them to rethink their entire player-recruitment policy and has left them struggling to make an impact in the Championship.
Currently Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday and Reading are being investigated for selling their grounds for allegedly inflated amounts to companies associated with their owners.
In Rugby Union, Saracens have been docked 70 points, relegated, and told they cannot display trophies they won while fraudulently ignoring a wages cap. Their owner, Nigel Wray (whom I know) has had all his spending on the club exposed as cheating. He has been broken by the affair.
So we Norwich City fans should ask ourselves whether it is morally and ethically correct to flout rules about profits and sustainability — and also whether it is worth the risk of overspending only to have sanctions waiting for you if you are relegated.
So, to recap: having a mega-rich owner doesn’t guarantee success. Lots of rich owners fail every season. Over-spending carries a real risk of insolvency and “financial doping” now brings the likelihood of tough sanctions.
There has to be another, better way. And that is what Norwich are trying to establish.
Jim Davies says
Thanks Mick. A very lucid summary which might (though it probably won’t) explain some of the facts of football life to the “sell up now” brigade. I particularly like the social media comments – had me fooled! (The TWTD forum is worth a read these days!).
I’ve made the point on this site before that we’ve had (at least) two people who wanted to buy our club. One was a certain Mr Fernandez of QPR fame, and the other was a fake lawyer from Italy. When you see what Marcus Evans has achieved down the road, I thank my lucky stars we are where we are, with owners who do care about the club, and who have brought in a good management team at the moment. I’m not averse to a change of owners, but it would have to be someone with the same standards and with the interest of the club genuinely at heart. I don’t know where you’d find such a paragon.
Jim Davies says
Finally re-discovered the fake lawyer’s name. It was Giavanni di Stefano. Great footballing surname (look up Alfredo di Stefano, if you’re too young to remember him), shame about his morals and scruples. A bullet dodged.
John Holland says
The problem would be what happens if the club stops making money? If we have a prolonged spell outside of the Premier then we will not make profits and eventually the money will run out, we came close last year and 10 years ago. If this ever came to pass then new owners will be forced on us and there will be nothing we can do except pray that we have the right new owners as we can not guarantee dodging bullets in that scenario. Ask Coventry fans
Former away-season-ticket holder says
Stockport fans started their own club from scratch in 2014? Don’t think so.
martin penney says
While we all know about Salford United and that AFC United of Manchester were started from scratch in a kind of breakaway protest movement, events at Stockport were slightly different.
As I understand it Stockport were brought out of administration about 10 years ago but I would hardly call that starting from scratch, at least not as such. A new consortium yes but a new club? Hardly. I don’t think it had very much to do with the fans.
The only reason I know this is that I often used to work in Cheadle Hulme [part of greater Stockport in itself] and the couple of their supporters I got to know said quite understandably that the club was hamstrung with United and City just a few miles up the road so they were not attracting a new generation of support.
martin penney says
Ha! Salford City. My bad.
Mick Dennis says
Yes, I was wrong about Stockport. Sorry.
Former away-season-ticket holder says
To be fair, Stockport have just been bought by a lifelong fan, so it will be interesting to see what sort of owner he turns out to be – a pragmatic type, or the sort who will throw money to get County back into the Football League.
Very knowledgeable mick good read i think its just human nature to blame someone and the club is paying for Alex’s gambles according to mr webber , but i can understand the resentment when we spent less then 5mill on transfers in the summer that doesn’t smatter ambition to me , but again you have to cut your cloth accordingly hopefully next season will be a bit better .
I think everyone would always like their clubs to spend more on transfer fees but I don’t think you can use that as the only measure of ambition. Other investments in the club shouldn’t be underestimated. For example, City will have spent a decent amount and committed to spend a lot more on the new contracts for our existing players in the summer. All of which should stand us in much better stead when the vultures start circling at the end of the season. And there’s also paying back the fans who invested in the bond scheme for the now improved training facilities. Plus the balance sheet will have been impacted by promotion bonuses and I’m sure I read something about us having to pay an extra £5m for Buendia because of promotion.
My main disappointment is that we could have made better use of the investment in the loans of Roberts, Amadou and Fahrmann. But you can’t get them all right and I imagine if we were to sell Byram now the profit would cover any losses.
It is a fact that the established teams in the premiership are all owned by multi billionaires. Like it or not this is the competition and I would suggest City will need similar access to funds if we wish to watch premiership football on a regular basis.
The current self funding plan will I’m afraid only unravel after we’ve been in the championship for two or three years and we discover we might not be able to fund a championship club once the parachute payments stop.
I notice that people still blame previous managers for our current predicament whereas the responsibility for past failures lies squarely with our current owners.
I might also point out that West Brom and Fulham, two examples of financial failure are both doing very well at the moment.
Are there a crop of youngsters coming through the academy who match the quality of Godfrey, Aaron’s, Lewis and Cantwell? Where is are next free thirty goals a season striker coming from?
I’m afraid the self funding plan means that we’ve just missed a golden opportunity to seek new owners and establish the club in the premier league.
Derek P says
Football, at some stage is going to crash and burn. As an industry it cannot continue to treat it’s “customers” so badly with inflated prices and an inferior competition. Liverpool 22 points clear as an example. Add in VAR and it’s not hard to see why said customers might vote with their feet.
When that happens, and the TV companies start to cut back on the ridiculous sums of money they throw at football because of the lack of atmosphere at grounds and the lack of genuine competition, I know which sort of Club I would rather be supporting at that point.
A club that has a realistic outlook and plans and spends accordingly or a club that throws absurd money at mercenary footballers in a desperate attempt to stay in the PL..
A club that builds from the academy and promotes home grown talent or one that tries to buy success with unknown foreigners who have no affinity to the club.
I applaud our owners for having the foresight and courage to have a plan which, if successful, will eventually be copied by many others. Actually, it already is successful. We are competing in the PL, and we have a stable club. Unlike, as an example, Aston Villa, who’s money men must lie awake at night fearing relegation.
FWIW, I don’t think we’re done this season yet either.
Dave Bowers says
“So we Norwich City fans should ask ourselves whether it is morally and ethically correct to flout rules about profits and sustainability — and also whether it is worth the risk of overspending only to have sanctions waiting for you if you are relegated”
Obviously Mick missed the annual reports that showed we overspent by 10m’s of quid in the hope of promotion (and no it wasn’t all bonuses).
We recently had Stewart’s piece saying wins weren’t important…
“ A final word about style – and here I’ll hold my hand up to a charge of inconsistency. As my Twitter followers are no doubt sick of hearing, in politics it’s all about winning. I’m not so sure in football.”
And we have Mick suggesting money isn’t important.
Yet we spent the last three seasons trying to secure wins for promotion to avoid dire financial consequences.
Is it odd that Delia’s most ardent fans appear to support her position in the face of what we all know we needed this season – money for a few extra players and points to stay in the league.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that a few would prefer a Smith led Norwich City in the third tier to a top-flight club owned by somebody else.
John Holland says
The irony is that it is only Premier League money that has enabled the current ownership to continue. In a way that is a positive as it sharpens their decision making. The small but vocal few that you mention are probably people with a personal knowledge of the owners. They defend them like family because to them they possibly are but they can not see that the club has probably around 30,000 who attend matches of which 99% have little or no contact with anyone on the Board or on the pitch
Tim Ball says
Great piece Mick.
I have tried to make similar points, but struggle to do so because when you do it seems to me you get accused of being a Deli fan or a happy clapper. I fall somewhere in the middle in as much that I think Delia & Michael have done some fantastic things for this club but some mistakes as well.
Gunny being appointed manager for the second time after he led us into the 3rd division was just plain madness, the ticketing fiasco at the start of this season and and perhaps just a little more money for Daniel Farke this season would have been possible without putting ourselves in financial difficulty.
But all in all the I think the board have done a good job. ( Tin Hat time !!) My only worry is that if a investor approached the club, and Wolves, Leicester have proven you can get decent owners, would the board be prepared to listen ?
Even with all that said as you have proved it will not guarantee success, your figures for the debt Ipswich owe Maurice Evans really surprised me, I knew it was big but not that big !! Personally I feel a version of “self funding” may in the future be the way most clubs will have to go.
If we look at this seasons results it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that for next season we may have Spurs, Man Utd, Everton, Wolves, Leicester, Arsenal, Chelsea all fighting for 2 Champions League positions ( Liverpool & Manchester City are someway ahead at the moment) surely they cannot all spend their way to success. I feel clubs will have to be more reliant on bringing youngsters through.
And am I right Mick that if Aston Villa are relegated a big fine may await them ?
Inside Right says
The bottom line Mick is this:
An owner – or owners – either have to invest or attract investment. Delia & Michael, as nice as they are. do not. Therefore they serve little purpose. This is the Premier League and this season we have treated it with contempt.
There has to be a better way, because this season has been another wasted opportunity, of which we may not get again under the current owners.
While I would not wish NCFC to become a club full of £100K + a week mercenaries, the club is in danger of dying in its own nostalgia.
The club needs owners who accept football for what it is, not how it used to be. While wealthy owners needn’t be reckless, the current set-up is unsustainable for consistent top tier football, so the club needs to be honest about where it really sees itself in the longer term.
Needless to say, I’m far from convinced it is the Premier League.
Tony Moore says
Very well put may I say. Mick talks about investing money does not guarantee success – so very true. By the same token, not investing in the club guarantees failure.
Could you tell us, please, what set up is sustainable for consistent premier league football? Because outside the top six only Everton & Arsenal can be said to be consistent. So you have eight historically huge and well (sometimes extraordinarily well) invested teams, the rest of whom, despite 100s of £m, are no more consistent than any other. The next longest ‘consistent’ team outside that eight clubs is West Ham, who’ve only been in the EPL for eight years. And how are they doing?
We have to try something – we can’t get big money (and if a big money investor came in we’d certainly be told by that investor) so self funding is the only alternative. Why do we have to be doom and gloom about being a club that produces and sells good talent? Then repeats?
Colin B says
A great article Mick.
There is a grain of truth in everyone’s stated opinions. I think that we need to define what success looks like for Norwich City. Something that the majority agree on. There is a view that we should establish ourselves in the Premier League. The only clubs that are really established are the top 8 or so. The rest look over their shoulders hoping they avoid relegation. You only need a season with lots of injuries and suspensions and poor VAR decisions and you are down.
I think the top 26 ambition and strategy based on that are realistic and sensible for a club of our size. The Weber plan is part way there. We have been in the austerity phase of that plan, using young players and cheap imports. That has got us out of a financial pickle of highly paid under performing players.
I think that the real test of the plan comes this Summer when we sell many of our highly rated players. This is when we can invest more in player recruitment and improve the quality of the squad.
We have continued to buy young players from other clubs just like we did with Maddison, Godfrey, etc. Not all of them will succeed but a number will. We have a good reputation for young players being developed, given good loans and support during those loans, and fast tracking them into the first team. I believe that stands us in good stead.
My biggest concern is not about the club’s ownership. It is how we replace Webber and Farke when they decide to move to bigger and better opportunities. I suspect that Farke gets more job satisfaction in developing a young player than in buying an expensive mercenary. Yes he would like a stronger squad to cover for injuries but it brings its own problems in keeping those not playing happy, Amadou is probably an example of that.
So is success for Norwich a top 17 club or top 26 club? I would be interested in a poll of MFW readers.
martin penney says
This everlasting, contentious issue rears its ugly head again.
Don’t get me wrong, Mick Dennis wrote an excellent article and explained things very well from his viewpoint and I have total respect for that.
My view is slightly contrary I am afraid.
Every season we gain access to the PL we seem to roll over like my Jack Russell if a bigger dog comes along and puts her in her place. The Patterdale would not do that as he never gets wrong with other dogs anyway [bugger your luck if you’re a rat, rabbit or a squirrel though].
It’s just like we’re only along for the ride. We don’t want to be there, certainly make no creative effort to stay there, shoulders are shrugged and it’s a case of “life isn’t fair”.
Of course football life isn’t fair and I’d be the last to say that it is.
Aren’t we all thoroughly sick of hearing about the achievements of, say, Sheffield United?
It could – and should – be us in their position. They progressed. We didn’t. Folks can massage the figures all they like but if you can’t borrow on a sensible level against the revenue generated by at least one PL season plus parachutes why bother with NCFC at all?
Two or three decent incoming players could, and I stress could, have made such a difference.
But we don’t have the nuts for it. I have always believed that the joint majority shareholders are frightened of the PL and ignore the fact that many loyal and hardened supporters would like to see us give it a good old go.
But we never do.
Webber and Farke came in with their eyes open, no doubt. And they will leave the same way. Maybe sooner than they’ve committed to on paper.
The fact that the joint majority shareholders ostensibly don’t want to establish NCFC in the PL upsets me and I know I am by no means alone in those thoughts.
While any Smith is in situ we will be starved of success.
Dave Bowers says
Very true on the Sheffield front.
If we were in their position then I’d expect Webber and Farke to be here a long time. As things stand we may get one more year.
Then it’s onto the next gamble in the Smith management lottery.
martin penney says
Dave I’m afraid that’s the localised world of football in which we are decreed to live by those who “know better”.
I feel it is so short-sighted that some folks simply do not want to see, let alone realise, potential and the reason for that is obvious from where I stand.
Just as a simple example there are teams in La Liga and the Bundesliga who are doing just fine thank you without being particularly “trendy” or within a certain geographical location.
If like me you enjoy boxing you wouldn’t want either of Cromer’s Walsh brothers to enter the ring with no binding on their gloves and a second who looks like Uncle Albert from Only Fools.
We should be THE BEST WE CAN BE.
And in a changed regime with a bit of care we truly could be.
But I’m not holding my breath because I might well have snuffed it before that ever happens. Progeny and all that.
It’s so frustrating.
Superb comment Mr P – especially your last 2 paragraphs!!!
For me, you absolutely ‘nailed it’ when you said – ‘ if you can’t borrow on a sensible level against the revenue generated by at least one PL season plus parachutes why bother with NCFC at all?’
I can’t remember if it was in one of your articles or elsewhere that I read that Delia doesn’t want us to be established in the PL and sad to say that is becoming quite obvious, by not taking a ‘calculated’ risk once we were guaranteed promotion.
I was reading only the other day that Leicester accumulated 22 out of a possible 30 points in their last 10 games, but EVEN in my wildest dreams, I cannot see us replicating that feat, especially when you look at some of our away fixtures.
At least I’ve got myself a ticket for the FA Cup game against Spurs, so I’ve got that to look forward to!! 🙂
martin penney says
Thanks Ed – it’s not my article it’s Mick Dennis’ but I have to say that I don’t want us blowing £8 million on a Naismith or anybody of that ilk. Of course I don’t.
But just a small statement of some kind of intent in pre-season would have gone down well. I guess that the £750k they spent on Sam Byram might be perceived as a good investment because after a decent season he’s worth ten times that now.
But as for the rest of the summer signings? Money down the khazi. It doesn’t always work out of course as we all well know.
Enjoy Tottenham – glad you got your ticket.
Tim Ball says
I have to agree Martin that the lack of 2-3 quality players coming in the summer is what could have made the difference and I am hopeful the club will learn from it if we do get another promotion.
Got to say though I also wanted all the players from last season to be given a chance, unfortunately a few haven’t progressed as we had hoped.
On the subject of Sheffield United their entire back five have only missed 2 Premier League games between them.
martin penney says
I agree Tim.
The Stieperdude, Jamal and Onel haven’t really cut it, Mo is off the radar for reasons we can only speculate on and there’s not been a lot of space for Tommy T.
But each and every one of those players could be important for us next season.
Don’t expect them to learn anything. They [via Stuart and Daniel] will be aware of the problems but they will do nothing to counteract them.
Because it would mean spending money. And we don’t do that.
Colin B says
It is all well and good to say that we would have benefitted from getting in 2 or 3 quality players. I assume that is in addition to the 3 loan signings and Sam Byram. So that is 6 or 7 players coming in last summer. So how does that square with giving last season’s squad a chance to have a go at cutting it in the Premier League.
Remember last season’s success was built on team unity. Remember it was a team that had a number of players who had been given a second chance to build a successful career. Think what bringing in 6 or 7 players would have done to individual confidence and team unity. Think about how long it would have taken to bed in that many players into Farkeball.
These days a permanent signing wants a minimum of a three year deal. Given the risk of Norwich being in the Premier League for only one season, would they be prepared to accept a contract with a clause with a huge drop in wages on relegation. If they were good enough I think they would go elsewhere to get a better contract. Look at what the better, not best players, in the championship have negotiated with Premier League sides and what their fees have been, say Maupay.
I am not an apologist for the Board and owners. However, I do trust Stuart Webber to have developed a plan that gives us the best chance to achieve the aims set out in that plan, given all the constraints the club has to work with. He is part way through the implementation. Do we trust his plan or not?
Gary Field says
Martin, your comment, “if you can’t borrow on a sensible level against the revenue generated by at least one PL season plus parachutes why bother with NCFC at all”, is pertinent, not least because that’s precisely what happened previously between 2013 and 2016.
A quick scan of the charges listed at Companies House against the Club with Barclays (which take some reading) show that advances were taken against future Premier League TV monies.
There’s nothing wrong with taking advances on future receipts, but you can only spend it once and to do so badly can have serious consequences, especially following relegation.
martin penney says
Thanks for that Gary.
Your final par is spot on. For every Pukki on a free there’s a Naismith for megabucks and inflated wages.
I don’t think the recruitment team 2013-16 were quite as sharp as the current bunch!
Alex B says
A very interesting read and varied comments in replies.
As I have mentioned many time my second team is and always will be Spurs owned by Joe Lewis estimated worth £4.9bill, but leaves the running to a savy Mr Levy.
Levy believes in self financing (never over pay for a player, keep wages low) and over the years has spent to improve their lot and took the great financial leap to build a ground that could help achieve that aim, now their are many spurs supporters champing at the bit for more money to be built on a squad that is a top 6 if not a top 4 club.
Now City have been doing the self financing about the same time as spurs who’s old White Hart Lane had a capacity of 32k not much more that cities at near 28k, and his aim as he has stated the income had to grow to take the club forward so surely city need to increase the capacity of the ground.
LIVARPOOL found away to expand capacity without effecting capacity while the work as being done, a few years ago the EDP said that the price to rebuild the city stand was upwards of £20m so how much has that increased and how much revenue has been lost by not doing the work, it was also said that a sustained periord was needed to pay for said work but there seems no plan in place to achive either a lonh period in the Premiership so means no money for ground expansion or improvements.
Delia Smith the cook says that all things have a shelf life once that is reached disgard as it isn’t good for purpose, the same is in business owners have to be realistic and know when they have reached across roads and can nolonger take it to the next step, the Smith’s possibly reached that a few years ago and just couldn’t or wouldn’t hand it over to an interested party.
We all read about the so called failed bids, we also see clubs in much worse situations than city get good offers of investment or takeovers, but we only hear that there is no one interested in city.
The question is why are there so called no offers has the owners put up strick conditions that need to be met, asking to much money, or wanting to stay on, city had the potential to be a permanent fixture in the Premiership on a few occasions over the last 10 years Lambert and Houghton did it with big signings as did Alex Neil but all spent big and who wasnt successful so now no spending.
The rumour was that the 3 loan signings weren’t cheap Amadou was £6m aloan and this was to be taken of any permanent deal, I hope this if true was spead over the season otherwise it looks like another Naismith moment and the GK was a £2m loan plus full wages.
That £8m could have possibly got 2 experienced premiership players that could have possibly helped to keep us in this league another error in judgement who will take the blame.
Onwards and upwards
Colin B says
Sorry but I don’t see your logic in your last point. We needed a quality keeper either as first choice or back up to Krul. Fahrmann fitted the bill as experienced and available. There was a need for a defensive midfielder with some physical presence. Trybull is a bit lightweight and there was doubt that Tettey’s knees would hold up. Where do you get an experienced Premier League defensive midfielder for £4 to 6 million on reasonable wages, who is willing to come to Norwich and has a future resale value?
What we did need was a good back up striker. I remain to be convinced by Drmic. However, look at the quality you get for £20 million plus: Joelinton, Wesley and Haller.
I also felt we needed a number 10 as I felt Steipermann probably was not good enough for the Premier League. Duda looks good enough but I suspect to get him in the Summer would have cost £15 million.
Alex B says
My point was that we seemed to have spent a lot of money on players that possibly weren’t going to be in cities future planning.
I agree with you on the positions we needed to strengthen and needed premiership experience not a DM that couldn’t get into a Sevilla side or a GK that had said prior to signing he would be back in Germany next season we needed players that wanted to be at city and fight for a place.
Simply naming three or four well-backed sides hovering above us in the league as proof that money doesn’t buy success is disingenuous. There are two leagues within the Premier League. We are in the second league, a league of one. Of course, two well backed teams will be relegated, we can’t go down alone.
Money and investment cannot guarantee success, but sure as eggs are eggs no money and lack of investment guarantee failure.
Why on earth do some people believe that Delia Smith and her various relatives are the only people with a divine right to run Norwich city FC?
Twice on the Smiths’ watch, the club has been on the brink of financial meltdown, then and only then do they seek sensible advice to pull it clear of trouble. Add to this the unholy spectacle of Norwich City in the third division for the first time in my life and it’s not all roses around the door and happy clappy people.
The gamble that Farke can perform another stunning success against the odds and drag our carcass back into the top flight against a backdrop of player sales and minimal “investment” could well backfire dramatically, and if Premier League football isn’t regained, the debts will soon pile up once again like last season.
How will you seek to justify that?
Alex B says
Something that would help the coffers is selling the naming rights yes I know that is not what the supporters want to hear but it might just bring in money for a player or 2 not a packet of 20 that would need real money up front lol
Mick, a most interesting article.
But spending around £1m on transfers on gaining promotion, sadly shows a lack of intent by those who make the financial decisions.
This will result in relegation, possible loss of DF who must feel after what he did last season on a shoestring ,he has been let down. Best players gone!
So the question is, what is the point of ever getting promotion in the future, if there is the same lack of financial backing by the club.
Mick Dennis says
I’ve now left the country (!) for a fortnight and don’t intend to debate each point. But as a point of information, you cannot borrow to spend the money on players. There is only one commercial lender in Europe who loans for players, and they only deal with teams who are pretty much guaranteed Champions League football each year. The risk for other lenders is that the players don’t succeed (Fulham last season, Villa this etc), the club is relegated and defaults on payment. Because the football creditors rule doesn’t apply to lenders, and because so many clubs have become insolvent, it’s just too big a risk for lenders. It simply doesn’t happen.
John Holland says
Wealthy owners are not a guarantee of success but a lack of cash would cause us to fail. An analogy would be that of being a youngster from a poor background. We do not have the bank of Mum and Dad to support us so everything get has to be from our own graft so we have to get a well paid job (like being a club in the Premier League) and as long as we keep it or find one before the redundancy (parachute money) runs out we are fine. But we are very vulnerable to a drop in income, unlike our friends who can borrow a few quid from the family reserves, if we run out of cash it is serious, we could lose our home etc. The lack of funds to develop might mean we did not take chances we could have done (study, investing in a business etc). Having wealthy parents doesn’t mean you will be a success in life just like wealthy owners does not guarantee football success but it does help and it does mean that we can ride some tough times out. Without Evans Ipswich would be playing Kings Lynn
Former away-season-ticket holder says
Late to this thread. Have to say I share the views of the excellent Martin Penney far more than the Delia-cheerleading Mick Dennis, who – to my mind – has never written a single critical word about the club during her time.
That said though, I agree with the whole “you can’t spend money you haven’t got” argument as long as we are saddled with our current, unambitious owners. What I don’t agree with, however, is this almost hysterical belief in some quarters that we are going to make lots of telling signings this summer and will bounce straight back next season. Even if that were to happen, why should our Premier League survival hopes for 2021/22 then be any better of those of 2019/20? We would still be at a total financial disadvantage to our rivals.
Smith and Wynn Jones are about to preside over their fifth relegation in just 16 seasons. For the most part the reaction around here seems to be much hand-wringing, accompanied by a few comments along the lines of “Well, what can you do?” It wouldn’t happen anywhere else – would the likes of Newcastle accept another season of poorly conceived, exploitative and unfair ticket membership schemes? Don’t think so…