Supporter Group Meeting with the Club, 8 AprilYesterday, the Canaries Trust was one of several Groups invited by the Football Club to its latest Supporters Group event, which formed one part of the Club's Global Canaries Day. Other groups present included Proud Canaries, Barclay End Norwich, Capital Canaries, Northern Canaries and Norwich City Fans Social Club.
Newly appointed Managing Director, Steve Stone, main Board director Tom Smith, plus six other Club officials hosted the meeting.
Steve gave a brief presentation, which reflected upon the events of the past year, plus, more importantly, the new vision for the future.
The departure of two CEOs, poor player recruitment (over several transfer windows) and underperformance on the pitch, combined with an acknowledgment of poor fan engagement, were recognised to have dented confidence in the Board.
In addressing those issues, the Board’s thinking has focussed on putting expertise in the right places and on balancing the short term and the medium-long term. Critically, the traditional football manager role is all too often focused on just the short term - unsurprising, given that it's a results-based business - at the expense of medium to long term interests of the Club. Hence, the ultimate decision to go down the two tier, Sporting Director - Head Coach route.
As with any structure, of course, its success will be hugely dependent on getting the right combination in place.
An open question and answer session followed - Steve Stone, Tom Smith and Joe Ferrari all contributed to answering the numerous questions from the floor.
A few key points to emerge:
Although helpful, success on the pitch isn't wholly dependent on how much cash you have. It’s how you actually spend it that's critical, Huddersfield being a prime example of doing it right this season with a fraction of the budget of the three relegated clubs.
Squad balance, in terms of age profile, needs to be improved - the Club has major work to do in this area, which will probably take more than one transfer window.
Player development is key and making better use of the loan system for youngsters to bridge the gap between Under 23's and the first team needs to be reviewed.
Though not technically directors of the Club, Steve Stone and Stuart Webber will attend all Board meetings.
All possible efforts will be made to secure promotion next season, the last in which we’ll benefit from parachute payments. Plans are in place to deal with the shortfall if we do not gain promotion, though. Bringing through our own players will be key to maintaining a strong squad.
All questions were answered openly, and it was stressed that wider and more frequent fan engagement is high on the Club’s agenda.
PS It’s too soon to talk about the identity of the new Head Coach, but the intention is to appoint him as soon as possible at the end of the season. And the Club will make every effort to keep Mitchell Dijks!