I hate Robert Chase.
I really do.
You may find at this moment your larynx start to spasm as it begins to form some raucous shouts of agreement but, for the time being, put a sock in it and bear with me. Please. Allow me to present the Case against Chase…
Robert Chase – more like a laughable cast member from 70’s sitcom ‘Doctor in the House’ than Hugh Laurie’s suave sidekick in ‘House’ – joined Norwich City’s board in 1982. Three years later he took over as chairman from legendary old-schoolian Sir Arthur South. Although not a majority shareholder, Chase effectively ‘owned’ and ran the club for more than a decade – and during his tenure wasted more chances of major City success that at any time in the clubs history.
In 1987 Norwich City finished fifth in the top division (now the Premier League). Despite minimal investment.
Two years later he got lucky again, this time finishing fourth. A first class journey on a third class ticket.
And in 1993 he finished third, despite selling the club’s best player and moaning about the ancient but influential midfielder Walker barely managed to get on a free-transfer! Incredible.
It wasn’t only the political repercussions of the Heysel tragedy in 1985, and England-wide European football ban that followed, that prevented Norwich from failing to create their own European legacy during this period.
City suffered because Chase ‘sold all the best players’ and failed to commit to any potential success. Missing opportunity after opportunity to support the management and playing staff on their quest for trophies. No other chairman or owner has got so close and missed by so much. Not. Even. Close.
Player sales were frequent and unnecessary (see list below) and failed to create a secure financial base for the club, certainly not in the way that successful TV money would have done. Hopefully the current incumbents have better luck at maintaining a self-funding model.
Added to Chase’s financial short-termism was the misplaced notion to wastefully splash out on a parcel of expensive wasteland rather than invest in another Mike Phelan, Kevin Drinkell, or Robert Fleck. The pitiful toy stand he built to replace the burned-down Main Stand continues to embarrass the club with its inadequacies even 35 years later. I doubt he’d have got round to building a proper one even if he’d stayed.
So, lack of financial acuity, sabotaging any potential club success, destroying the club’s profile, and diminishing the club’s facilities, and making City a worse club to support… There can only be one conclusion to draw…
I hate Robert Chase.
I really do.
(PS. A massive shout out to the inestimable Geoffrey Watling who magnanimously and bravely stepped into the mire to plug the serious financial gap left when Mr Chase removed himself from the club. Without Mr Watling’s efforts at that time there would be no club left to support.)
The list of significant transfer transactions during Robert Chase’s tenure
(NB. To give you a better idea what these figures would be equivalent to in today’s inflated transfer market, try multiplying the amounts by somewhere between 10 and 20 times. That’s the sort of money we’d be talking nowadays.)
THOSE THAT GOT AWAY:
SOLD: £900,000 to Everton in 1986
BOUGHT: £50,000 from Liverpool in 1980
SOLD: £600,000 to Rangers in 1986
BOUGHT: £225,000 from Nottingham Forest in 1981
SOLD: £800,000 to Manchester United in 1987
BOUGHT: £125,000 from Gillingham in 1984
SOLD: £600,000 to Rangers in 1988
BOUGHT: £90,000 from Grimsby Town in 1985
SOLD: £150,000 to Manchester City in 1988
BOUGHT: £35,000 from Burnley in 1985
SOLD: £750,000 to Manchester United in 1989
BOUGHT: £60,000 from Burnley in 1985
SOLD: £400,000 to Millwall in 1990
BOUGHT: £175,000 from Watford in 1988
SOLD: £1,200,000 to Chelsea in 1990
BOUGHT: £300,000 from Southampton in 1988
SOLD: £1.2million to Arsenal in 1990
BOUGHT: £350,000 from Oldham in 1988
SOLD: £1.2M to Rangers in 1991
BOUGHT: Nominal sign-on fee (first professional contract) in 1984
SOLD: £2.1M to Chelsea in 1991
BOUGHT: £580,000 from Rangers in 1987
SOLD: £650,000 to Tottenham Hotspur in 1992
BOUGHT: £325,000 from Watford in 1989
SOLD: £600,000 to Coventry City in 1994
BOUGHT: Nominal sign-on fee (from non-league) in 1983
SOLD: £2.25M to Newcastle United in 1994
BOUGHT: Nominal sign-on fee (first professional contract) in 1986
SOLD: £1M to Wimbledon in 1994
BOUGHT: £500,000 from AFC Bournemouth in 1993
SOLD: £5M to Blackburn Rovers in 1994 (a record British fee at the time)
BOUGHT: Nominal sign-on fee (first professional contract) in 1991
SOLD: £1.1M to Leicester City in 1995
BOUGHT: £800,000 from Manchester United in 1992
SOLD: £1.2M to Derby County in 1996
BOUGHT: £350,000 from Crewe Alexandra in 1994
SOLD: £1.6M to Sheffield Wednesday in 1996
BOUGHT: £1M from Leeds United in 1994
SOLD: Retired injured in 1990
BOUGHT: £333,000 from Queens Park Rangers in 1989
SOLD: Free transfer to Aarhus in 1992
BOUGHT: £350,000 from Aarhus in 1989
SOLD: £325,000 to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1992
BOUGHT: £700,000 from Derby County in 1990
SOLD: £300,000 to Oldham Athletic in 1993
BOUGHT: £925,000 from Port Vale in 1991
SOLD: £550,000 to Stoke City in 1995 (where he scored a stack of goals! Bless ‘im)
BOUGHT: £1.2M from Manchester City in 1994 (banjo and cow’s a*se, for us)
SOLD: Free transfer Cambridge United in 1988 (Later went to Man Utd, Coventry City, Aston Villa, & Celtic for combined fees around £10M, before finally returning to City in 2006 for a welcome and classy two-year swansong. Ta muchly, DD)
BOUGHT: Nominal sign-on fee (first professional contract) in 1985