Much has been written since the AGM about self-funding.
To ensure that our club can proceed as described, many things have to be aligned and that should start with something relatively simple, like getting the supporters and media on side.
Another good starting point would be appointing a clear figurehead to oversee all major decisions and ensure that they are made in the best interest of the club and not an individual shareholder(s). At the moment we have an impasse, waiting on the FA and EFL to agree on the status of the Norfolk Group.
The FA and EFL must have looked into Mark Attanasio for many months before he bought Michael Foulger’s shares, so what’s the hold-up in agreeing to him increasing his stake? Maybe it’s related to the club requesting that waiver around the need for him to make an offer to all other shareholders for a complete purchase of the club, but we await their decision with bated breath.
But with Attanasio’s Norfolk Group at least on board we potentially have a major investor in our midst. We just have to hope that their input will end up being a mirror image of Smith and Jones. Only time will tell.
The following quote from Mark Attanasio (in his Pink Un interview) left some questions hanging still in the air but also offered supporters hope for a brighter future:
“We look at the loans that come from us as self-funding … One of the things that Delia and I were talking about after the meeting was that the plan is still to be self-funded.
“We need to get a plan from Ben (Knapper) as to what he wants to achieve. We had some meetings today about how we can expand the stadium, and the training ground, and all of that requires capital”
So what is this list going to look like? For the last 27 years, the club has been looking at ground capacity but we have been continually told that it needs sustainability in the Premier League and the club wouldn’t go into debt to finance it, yet in the longer term it would have been financially beneficial.
Going back to pre-Delia and Michael, under Robert Chase it was said he had an option to purchase land very close to what was then the new training facility (Colney) and had plans drawn up for a new stadium on said land, with it being fully funded by the sale of Carrow Road.
A lot has changed since then although, interestingly, Norfolk Group’s second seat on the City board is likely to be taken by an American realtor who may see a similar plan to the one Chase wanted to pursue, and with all the regeneration in Anglia Square about to kick off, would the price for the current stadium multiply many times even in these financial markets?
My first question for Attanasio would be:
Where does he see the City ownership going in the near to long-term future of the club? Is he (and his group) in it to take City to the next level and a sustainable future in the Premier League? Or is it a case of a fast buck and big profit while looking to sell on?
My second would be:
How much of what he says are just sound bites to keep Delia happy until he gets control? Or is it scripted by the in-house media following her approval?
My last question would be:
Please explain why he agreed to a three to seven-year handover/apprenticeship to learn from Smith and Jones about how football works when she has admitted on many occasions she doesn’t have a clue.
In terms of the playing squad, Knapper has said he wants to reduce the age of it in the coming windows and David Wagner has said he fully backs this, yet he also backed Stuart Webber when he brought in a group of experienced players. Can we realistically expect to see Danny Batth, Ashley Barnes, George Long, and Shane Duffy walk away without a payoff? It’s not as if we’re going to get a fee for any of them.
Depending on your viewpoint (and how full your glass is or isn’t), the AGM either painted a picture of a club with a rosy future or one with big hurdles to overcome. Much of it depends on Attanasio and the timescales that he is realistically working to. If he turns his loans into shares and takes full control sooner than later, the landscape shifts.
This would of course depend on it fitting in with Smith and Jones’ plans and their anticipated pace of change, also if Ben Knapper is given the tools to take the club forward.
Too many questions and at present no one to stand up and *clearly* answer them.
Finally, a song from a Martin P playlist. Sleep well, my friend.