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ROUND-UP - DAVID MCNALLY WEBCHAT

19 September 2012

Read through webchat held at 4pm September 19

3:54pm - David McNally: Good afternoon to Canary supporters everywhere this is the first of a regular series of Q&As with myself and my fellow Directors this season. I will do my best to answer as many of your questions as possible this afternoon in the next hour.

We asked for some questions in advance via @norwichcityfc on Twitter and on our official Facebook account, so I'll start by answering a few of those - but please keep your questions and comments coming on here.

Canaries.co.uk:First question received on twitter from @sparksjay ‚ÄŹ - #NCFCask On a matchday, what particular moment (other than a FT win) is your favourite?

David McNally: Dear sparksjay, clearly the final whistle when we have won a game is far and away my favourite moment on a matchday. A distant second would be confirmation that Carrow Road is once again full!

3.57pm - Canaries.co.uk:Next question from @hampackter ‚ÄŹvia Twitter - In your opinion what is the best and the worst thing about modern football and especially the Premier league? Btw gr8 job! #NCFCask

David McNally: Hi, one of the best things for me has been to see the FAPL become the biggest and most exciting league in the world in a relatively short space of time. All of the games are exciting and on any given day, any side could potentially beat any other. The worst thing for me has been the way in which many supporters have been priced out of the game. Our game should be for all and should be truly inclusive.

4.00pm Comment from Lee - Did you have a plan in place for when Lambert left, and did Hughton figure in that plan all along. Or did you just react once you had to?

David McNally: Hi Lee, in any business it is really important to have a succession plan in place for your senior colleagues. At our football club we believe that the most important position is that of football manager. And so yes, we did have a succession plan in place and, as has already been reported, Chris Hughton was always our number one target.

4.04pm Comment from Billy - Is there any ruling saying that seating cannot be built in front of holiday inn hotel?

David McNally: Hi Billy and a few others who have asked about the hotel. We continue to look at all possibilities for stadium expansion. We would like to put a small stand in front of the hotel, however the decision-making process involves a number of stakeholders, some of whom may need some convincing that it is in everybody's interests to put some seats in front of the hotel! However, discussions continue and we will keep you informed of any progress.

4.07pm Comment from Rixy - Is there a plan to expand carrow road as Norwich City has such a massive fan base? Comment from tom whiting: Is there any plans in the future to expand carrow road??????

David McNally: Hi Rixy, Tom, Cliff and others who have asked about expanding the capacity at Carrow Road. We have been convinced for some time that there is sufficient demand to expand Carrow Road. Strategic decisions of this type are hugely important and so we asked the University of East Anglia to research the opportunity for the Club. Empirically, their findings support the move to expand Carrow Road by at least 7,000 additional seats. This independent research project is really important as it deals with facts, such as population growth, and real numbers, such as socio-economic data, and not instinct or intuition.

And so we are convinced that an expansion of Carrow Road is something that the Club should contemplate. However, circa 7,000 additional seats could cost approximately £20million. Currently, every spare penny is reinvested in the first team squad and this is something that the Board wishes to continue in the short term. Once we have become an established FAPL team then we may consider it viable to invest in the development of Carrow Road. In the meantime, we will look at a number of alternative schemes in order to ensure that we are properly prepared for expansion as and when it happens.

4.15pm Canaries.co.uk: We'll quickly pop to Facebook for a question - thanks for all your questions so far keep them coming in. We aim to answer as many as we can. Matthew Ted McCarter via Facebook - why has the family open day been scrapped? have asked directly via Twitter twice with no response.

David McNally: Hi Matthew, in the midst of our financial crisis of 2009-10, we did cut back on a number of loss-making activities because we had less than no money! Unfortunately the Open Day was one of those activities. However, in better financial times we have reintroduced a number of popular days for the supporters. These include the very well-attended recent open training day at which our footballers spent as much time as possible signing autographs and meeting the fans - it was a great day. Also our next fans forum is here at Carrow Road on October 4 and we are happy to listen to suggestions from all supporters regarding future events.

4.20pm- Comment from Carl Bedford - Why are ticket prices sky high?? 44 pound i paid for west ham game #shocking

David McNally: Dear Carl, at NCFC we run our business rather like a co-operative. In this way, any spare cash is re-invested into the first team squad. In my opinion, we have the best owners in football. However we do not benefit from hugely wealthy benefactors in a way that many other clubs do and so we can only spend what we earn. I must stress that this is not a complaint and I'm hugely proud that our football club operates responsibly. Ticketing income is a really important revenue stream for the Club and yet we do price the tickets to sell, meaning that the prices are set with a view to the Club achieving a full house. I would like to confirm also that our casual ticket prices are mid-table in terms of the FAPL and this is despite the fact that we discount a greater proportion of our tickets at Carrow Road, with 22,000 season ticket holders, than any other FAPL club.

4.27pm - Comment from East London Canary. Have we been sufficiently compensated for the loss of Paul Lambert? Comment From Andrew David not much has been said in recent weeks regarding compensation package of Paul Lambert. Is this something we are still fighting?

David McNally: Hello to East London Canary and others asking about the compensation issue. The matter of compensation for Paul Lambert remains unresolved with Aston Villa. It would appear likely that this matter will go to a tribunal. We did however agree compensation for the services of Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa.

Comment From Chris Newby  - 
Hi David, Just want to say thanks for the fantastic job that you and everyone else at the club has done since you've arrived, and continue to do. I'm sure i speak on behalf of all Canaries supporters. Many more great times ahead! Thanks again...

4.30pm - 
Comment From Andrew Williams. What are the current commitments to repaying any NCFC debt?

David McNally: Hi Andrew, I'm pleased to say that the outstanding debt with external institutions will, in the main, be paid up by the end of the current season. We are of course indebted to Delia, Michael Wynn Jones and Michael Foulger for their generosity over many years and the Club will still have outstanding liabilities with them.

4.38pm - 
Comment From Thorpie in Geelong, Aust . 
I agree Chris Newby... great job, keep it up and hopefully the team can continue as well.

Canaries.co.uk: Our next question from Facebook - Luke King via Facebook - Why did you change your stance on Grant Holt's contract?

4.43 pm - David McNally: Dear Luke, Ben and others asking about Grant - it really is important to remember how your football club operates. The Board agree the strategy, the Chief Executive runs the business and the football manager is in control of football matters. Clearly it is essential that we all work closely together and are effective in getting the big decisions right. During the last close season we were not helped by the uncertainty over the position of our football manager and this developed at a time when we were about to re-negotiate contracts for a number of players, including Grant.

Following weeks of speculation, Paul Lambert left the Club and Chris Hughton replaced him. Chris was clear from day one that Grant Holt was a big part of his NCFC plans. From here, we agreed a new contract in a matter of days, a contract that in my opinion Grant Holt fully deserves.

We do not have an age policy at the Club - talent, hunger, commitment, desire and well-being are more important to us than the age on any birth certificate.

4.43pm - Comment from Andrew. Is the management team concerned about the lack of goals in the team at current and did the club leave it too late to bring in a more established striker?

Comment From John G - 
Whilst I'm delighted that we seem to be more secure at the back, do you share my concern that our attacking flair and fighting spirit from last season is lacking? We have earned fewer points and have a far worse GD than in the corresponding fixtures from last season, with some tough games coming up.

David McNally: Hi Andrew, John and others, asking questions about our strikers and the development of our squad. Following Chris's arrival, we sat down with him and agreed the areas in which we planned to strengthen the squad. We agreed eight positions that needed strengthening and discussed names for each position. You may be interested to know that Paul Lambert had planned to strengthen in five or six areas.

I'm delighted to say that we were able to sign the eight players. Additionally, and once Chris had had time to work with the squad during pre-season, we decided to bring in another striker and we were really pleased that we were able to secure the services of the highly-regarded Harry Kane from Tottenham on deadline day.

It is worth pointing out that we've signed nine players this summer, two last January and eight last summer. In little over a year this means that we've strengthened the first team squad with 19 new players.

Clearly the plan was to bolster our defence given the number of goals that we conceded last year and it should also be pointed out that we have lost just one goal from last year (scored by Aaron Wilbraham) from last year's strikeforce. 

We now have two senior players for every position. This includes five midfield positions which will allow for a number of different formations. For example in wide areas we have Bennett and Snodgrass on the one side and Pilkington and Surman on the other flank. For the two central midfield positions, we have Howson and Fox and Johnson and Tettey. If Chris decides to play with a player 'in the hole' or with a five-man midfield and a player in just behind the striker, we have two players in Hoolahan and Butterfield for this area. Up front we have Holt and Morison as a number 9 and Jackson and Kane as the other striker.

Clearly, we have a full squad.

4.57pm - Comment From Morti. As much as I like this new webpage, and its a woke in progress... is there any plans to have a forum pages.. and how far off are we having a mobile verson of this site?

David McNally: Hi Dave, Morti and others who have asked about this website (canaries.co.uk). Are we happy? In short, no. Despite a lot of work from our media team at Carrow Road, we've been let down by Football League Interactive (FLi) the company which manages this process on behalf of 86 clubs.

Whilst we are mostly happy with the look and feel of the site, we are hugely disappointed with its functionality and the lack of current support for some mobile devices, which in this day and age is not acceptable. Clearly this cannot continue and we will relentlessly pursue FLi until all matters are resolved to our satisfaction. In fact, I have written to them this week to this end. Please do keep the feedback coming in, as the NCFC website is a hugely important part of our communication with supporters.

5.04pm - Comment From Chris. Are you disappointed with the choice of photograph used for your responses? It's not the most flattering picture! :)

David McNally: Hi Chris, on the contrary, I selected it personally. It looked suitably mean and moody and you'll be pleased to know that I rejected any smiley photographs that the team had available!

5.05 pm - 
Comment From Essex Yellow. Have we been successful with the Academy "upgrade" to category 1? Comment From Andrew. Is there a concern over the lack of players progressing into the first XI from the Academy in the past 5 years. How are the club going to ensure this is addressed?

David McNally: Hi Essex Yellow and Andrew, we have applied for category one status within the new Academy system. We have recently been audited and expect to hear whether we have been successful or not sometime next month.

The lack of players progressing to the first team from the Academy and the restrictions on NCFC as part of the old system are inextricably interlinked. The old 90-minute travel rule restricted our reach to approximately 2million people. Most other clubs would have a reach of at least 10million people and in many cases a reach of 15million-plus. This restriction definitely hindered our opportunity of unearthing good young talent. We delighted to say that we can now recruit nationally and have recently employed some of the most talented people in youth football to support Ricky Martin in his efforts to improve the NCFC Academy.

5.10 pm - David McNally: Hi everyone, I'll answer a couple more questions before I go as we're over the hour allotted now.

Comment From Yellow Belly - Can we please scrap this goal music this season - it makes us look a bit "amateurish" IMHO. Comment from Dan. why do we still have goal music when everyone hates it?

David McNally: Dear Yellow Belly and Bucks Canary, the matter of goal celebration music seems to divide supporters. As part of a recent poll there was a small majority in favour of scrapping the current goal music. A significant minority was in favour of retaining the current music whilst there was an additional clamour for the goal celebration to remain, but for the choice of music to change. It's a tricky one but at the moment supporters have a number of mixed views on the matter. Additionally we get complaints each match that the music is either too loud or too quite and I remain convinced that this is an area in which we will never please all of the people all of the time.

In order to try and move forward though our media team colleagues invite your views via polls on here, on canaries.co.uk's homepage and on our official Facebook account.

Comment from Jack. I like the goal music

Comment From Jack Bryant. Please don't remove the goal song!! I've been used to hearing it ever since i started going to football. It would be too quiet without any music!

Comment From Tom Blazak. I hate the goal music personally, but agree, there should be some supporter consultation to ensure the wishes of the majority are fairly represented. Keep up the excellent work David.

5.16pm - Canaries.co.uk: For our final question we go to Facebook and Adrian Smith - What information can you release about the Club's strategic plan for the next five years - both if we remain in the Premiership and the contingencies if we don't.

David McNally: Dear Adrian, good question and one that we will end on. 

A brief summary of our key strategic points:

- We are operating as a co-operative and so we can only spend what we earn
- All spare cash is invested in football
- We aim for continuous improvement, as a business, on and off the park
- Stay in the FAPL
- Embrace our community - we aim to help anyone who is disadvantaged in Norfolk and never before has the Club and its friends at the Community Sports Foundation been so aligned in this regard. The recent Sporting Light appeal, which is designed solely to help the disadvantaged in Norfolk, has already raised over £100,000 and this money is being put to great use throughout Norfolk.

5.27pm - David McNally: Thanks ever so much for all of your questions. See you at the Fans Forum on October 4 and please keep your questions coming into the Club via Twitter, Facebook, online, e-mail, telephone or in person. We aim to respond to all customer service queries by the next working day.

I hope to see some of you at Newcastle on Sunday.

Canaries.co.uk: Thank you everyone for your questions during today's chat. 






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