The absence of anything concrete concerning the involvement (or otherwise) of Mark Attanasio in our football club has obviously left the door wide open for speculation. And sure enough…
While MFW is far from alone, we (I) have managed to fill a whole week’s worth of articles based almost solely on the fact that Attanasio and his people were present at the final home game of the season.
That there were seven people in Attanasio’s delegation, appears to suggest discussions had at that stage already gone beyond the initial ‘sounding out’ – why send seven people over for something that is a long way from happening? – but that is literally all we know.
The precise structure of any prospective deal also remains a complete unknown although a piece on The Athletic in the week suggests that initially Attanasio and co are just interested in buying Michael Foulger’s 18 per cent stake in the club.
If true, this would, of course, mean that the only beneficiary of the initial deal would be Foulger himself who would walk away with a sum he deems his 18 per cent worth, while Team Attanasio’s reward would an ‘in’ to Norwich City and a minority stake in the football club.
In other words, no new money.
While this (to me) initially appeared a little underwhelming, in reality it appears a sensible way forward. What this football club needs right now, even more than cold hard cash, is to be refreshed and reinvigorated.
Different voices in the boardroom, ones that have overseen a seismic change to a baseball team considered of similar in stature to Norwich City, would bring with them fresh ideas and some impetus -something we desperately need as we dust ourselves down from the season from hell and embark on yet another Championship promotion quest.
That tentative beginning would also give Attanasio and co a chance to take a close look at Norwich City and its workings, just as Norwich City would be able to take a close look at them and how they operate.
My initial thoughts were that the US investment would arrive in the form of the take up of some of the 1,000,000 unallocated shares – thereby bringing new money into the club – but have since been informed that those who invest in English football from across the pond tend to do so cautiously at first before, if things work out, gradually increasing their stake.
And I get it, or rather I got it… eventually.
If, still a big if, Stuart Webber and Dean Smith can pull together a squad capable of top six or even better, and if said squad achieves promotion at the end of the 2022-23 season, that would be the point at which we would need to start doing things differently, and by differently I mean not via the smallest net Premier League budget known to Man.
That would be the time for new money to come into the club; money that would enable us to strengthen the team for the here and now rather than two or three seasons hence; money not just used on transfer fees but also to be able to make us competitive when offering Premier League wages.
All hypothetical of course, dream-like even, and all predicated on the notion that Delia and Michael are planning to loosen their current vice-like grip on the club.
The other thing that new money could do (and this time I have allowed my imagination to run wild) is for some of the new money – based on Attanasio and his people purchasing a significant chunk of the unallocated 1,000,000 shares – to be used to put that much-needed second tier on the City Stand.
Like I said… dreaming.
And on that note, one thing we must accept is that any involvement from Attanasio would certainly not involve him coming in and throwing cash around willy-nilly in a Sheikh Mansour / Amanda Stavely / Government of Saudi Arabia style.
Simply not going to happen.
So let’s not even think about doing that Ipswich Town ‘we’re f#@$%*! loaded‘ thing while waving around crumpled fivers at opposition fans.
We’re better than that… I hope.
Attanasio’s positive impact on the Milwaukee Brewers has been based on a Moneyball-type strategy that identifies talent based on data, and by bringing in outstanding individuals to coach and manage the team – not by simply throwing money at it.
Also, given that Brewers fans are apparently unhappy that some of his money appears to be heading across the pond rather than into their organisation, there’s zero chance of him being an investor who’ll turn Norwich City into Checkbook FC. And I reckon we’re all pretty cool with that.
After over two decades of self-administered austerity, I’m not sure any of us would be ready to go full Abramovich. That’s not us.
So for now, we wait… and speculate… and dream.