Over the last few years, Norwich City FC have proudly, if quietly, waved the banner of self-financing. All the noise has come from critics, many from within of course. I’m not a fan of the concept myself, but I obviously know that some of you lovely MFW folks and others elsewhere are quite happy with our taking what appears to be an idealistic path.
MFW regular Alex Bain put a question to me the other day as in did I think was it G for Good or B for Bad. I didn’t have a definitive answer so what more can I do other than hand the floor over to Alex himself, as in is the concept working, is it an opus in its infancy or is it doomed a bud never to blossom?
So without further ado, here’s what Blackpool’s finest NCFC supporter has to say on the subject. Take it away Mr B:
Prior to Stuart Webber being appointed to a new hierarchical system, our previous managers had been purchasing over-priced, so-called stars to keep us in the Premier League [the likes of Robbie Brady and Steven Naismith – Martin] but also bought in low-fee players with potential such as James Maddison and Ben Godfrey, while there were already others in the Under-23s making a name for themselves such as Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell alongside the slightly older Murphy twins.
Maddison was sold for £20million to Leicester, Godfrey for £25m+ to Everton, Jacob Murphy for £12m+ to Newcastle, Josh Murphy for £10m+ to Cardiff and Lewis for £15m+ to Newcastle. [sounds like a cool £80 million-plus to me all told – Martin].
So from the outside, all looks good and self-financing looks like it’s working. From the above, only two had a purchase fee against their names, as in Maddison’s £3m from Coventry and Godfrey’s £250k from York City – so large profits even after the sell-on clauses are accounted for.
All those funds are said to have covered big dark holes in the Club’s finances from previous years and have prevented our going to the wall again. So all well and good for self-financing?
Since the new style of management has been in place we have also lost numerous players at a loss or paid them to leave to clear a burden from the wage bill, such as Timm Klose, Tom Trybull, Moritz Leitner and Marco Stiepermann. Josip Drmic is on loan in Croatia and we, it appears, are paying the majority of his wages.
Sebastian Soto, Melvin Sitti, Danel Sinani and Rocky Bushiri were all signed on free transfers or low transfer fees but would most likely have received signing on fees and had their salaries paid by us while on loan, Soto and Sinani are out on loan with an option to buy for the host clubs at the end of the season – neither has seen a first-team game for City, Sitti and Bushiri have both left on free transfers.
Emi Buendia is the shining light for our present recruitment team in an otherwise dark period but that is a poor return for the team against those returns of the previous era.
There was an excellent article in the EDP by MFW’s very own Robin Sainty extolling the virtues of how City are being run in comparison with the background of all the mess at Newcastle. I fully agreed with what Robin said but in a football world of the mega-rich compared to the ultra mega-rich, our self-financing model will never survive.
On opening their new stadium, Daniel Levy announced that Spurs were going to be self-financing with the increased capacity and multi-use of the facilities. The estimated income on a full stadium from food and drink is £800k per game and on top of that, there are shops selling merchandise whenever the stadium is being used.
Estimates vary, but it’s said that this means £25m a season for 10 years. Now that’s self-financing!
I don’t know if City have tried to sell naming rights to the ground. I’d guess not as that would constitute outside investment and we don’t do that.
This summer we spent £50m+ on transfers but got back £30m+ for Buendia and according to recent media reports, there is little in the pot come January as money will be needed in case of relegation.
City have no debt, so we are told, and if we get relegated we wouldn’t be able to service debt. We are also told no one wants relegation and the club is striving for a long-term future in the Premier League. If all of these things are true, then it needs to show ambition. For me, self-financing shows a lack of it
So, there are the thoughts of Alex B. Don’t be shy in telling MFW what you think folks – we always love to hear your views. There’s only one thing I can leave you with really. I hope Alex doesn’t mind as I haven’t asked him.