You’ll know what I mean when I say I wish Jonny Rowe would stop doing Jonny Rowe things.
Not only has he stormed his way through the first three months of the Championship – even in a team that’s stuttering – but he’s now started to make a name for himself on the international stage.
To have been selected for England Under-21s for the first time was an honour in itself, but to then make his debut in a late 20-minute cameo and score his first goal will have elevated his profile into new circles – those where before he was merely a name on the Norwich teamsheet.
And with the January transfer window but two-and-a-half months away, for City fans this is anxiety-inducing stuff.
We know the score. Such is the financial state of our club, we know only too well that any player of value is immediately flagged by those in power as saleable. And right now Jonny Rowe is *very* saleable. With an England Under-21 cap and a goal added to his CV his value is soaring by the week.
I’m guessing the WhatsApp group of the City bean counters will have been abuzz on Thursday night as Rowe’s header nestled into the back of the Serbia net, and the office will have been high-five central first thing on Friday morning.
I hope, of course, that the club chooses not to cash in in January – it feels like we’ve only seen a fraction of what Rowe is capable of so far – but when you have a financial black hole to fill and you’re Norwich City, that can only be achieved by selling your best players.
The direction of financial travel was made clear in the summer when we received over £30 million in transfer fees yet spent just £3 million. It felt like a neat little snapshot of exactly where we are, and nothing has fundamentally changed in the boardroom to alter that direction.
We’re hoping Mark Attanasio will, further down the line, help alleviate some of the financial pressure but we also know he’s here predominantly to inject ideas and innovations rather than cash. Just ask fans of the Brewers.
And, as I understand it, while he has helped alleviate some of the club’s debt burden by offering facilities at more favourable interest rates, he’s not going to be paying the debt off. A debt still remains a debt.
And Jonny Rowe, I’m sorry to say, is one way of paying off a chunk of said debt. Gabriel Sara is another.
Then imagine heading into February 2024 with neither in our squad.
So forgive me if I nip up slightly every time Rowe or Sara do something brilliant.
Ben Knapper, our new sporting director who starts on November 27, certainly has a tricky January ahead and there would be a Norwich-City-tinged-irony to it if his first major decision was to sell our last two saleable assets.
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that but if Delia, Michael, and co thought the natives were restless after the disappointing performance at Coventry, then try selling our two best players in January.
But there are certain things our club is very good at doing and having given them a fair whack for all the things (I believe) they do not very well – like football and finance 🙂 – it’s only right to point out the good stuff.
One such example came on Tuesday last week as the club did its bit to highlight World Mental Health Day.
What they produced in the form of a two-minute video was extraordinary, and has been viewed on X (Twitter) an incredible 52.9 million times, picking up plaudits worldwide including from UEFA who hailed it “incredibly powerful”.
If you haven’t seen it…
The message is clear and *very* important, so credit where it is due to all those involved in making that video.
And it’s not the first time the club has tackled the subject of mental health and managed to get it just right.
Let’s not forget what we thought was going to be the unveiling of the new kit for 2022-23 but was in fact a video, introduced by Stephen Fry, which highlighted the alarming number of suicides.