The full transcript our live Q&A with Chief Executive David McNallyNORWICH City Chief Executive David McNally took part in a live online question and answer session with supporters on Tuesday.
Between 10.30am and 11.30am, David replied directly to fans' queries on issues concerning the Club live on Canaries Wall.
View the full transcript of the Q&A below.
Topics covered included:
- The backing of Neil Adams
- The team's form this season
- Annual bonuses
- January transfer policy
- Season ticket prices
- The fans' anger after the Reading game
- The long-term future
- Stadium expansion
- Plus many more...
From Chris Jennings - Why are you doing a question session online after a win and not after Reading?
DM: Hello Chris, the live Q&A was always planned. We didn't pull it forward to when we were top of the league! Seriously though, we have more contact points and feedback from our supporters than any other club. Both Paul (Lambert) and Chris (Hughton) commented when they joined NCFC that they couldn't believe the number of opportunities we give our supporters to converse with the Club. That's what happens at NCFC and it will continue through good times and bad.
This season we've already met with the supporter groups and in the space of two months we will have had the AGM, this live Q&A and a supporter forum to be held at Carrow Road one evening in January as I said earlier. This is in addition to all of the other ways of contacting the Club - either in person, by phone or via social media.
From Jarrolder - Would David care to comment on the reputed interest in investing in Norwich City shown by Terry Pegola, the American billionaire who owns the Buffalo Bills? Are approaches from the likes of Mr Pegola welcomed by Norwich City?
DM: Hello Jarrolder, we haven't had any contact from the people that you mention.
From kilburnboy - Have the present owners/board taken the Club as far as they can? Is it not time for more money to now come in and take the Club to another level?
DM: Hello kilburnboy, in Delia and Michael we've got the best owners in football. They are two of the most experienced owners in football and they have a great understanding of the business of football. They are not the richest owners though and so our model is to try and raise as much cash as we can ourselves and re-invest every spare penny in football.
It's worked for us in the past and I see no reason why it can't work for us again in the future. Meanwhile I can confirm we've had no approaches from anyone offering any new investment.
From dorandoor - Are you looking to bring in any wingers in January?
DM: Hi dorandoor, we have the ability to trade in January and if there is an opportunity to improve the team, we will invest. That being said, we have reasonable depth to our squad and so any incomings are likely to be matched by outgoings. All positions are constantly under review and so we reserve the right to look at positions to strengthen the nearer we come to the transfer window opening.
From william - What is going on with Sebastian Bassong, also Ricky Van Wolfswinkel?
DM: Hello william, let's not forget first of all that Seb was our Player of the Year in 2013. By his own admission his form was disappointing last year and we accept this.
The deal for Ricky to go and rediscover his form with St Etienne was a good one for all parties and we are pleased to see him starting to score goals for them on a regular basis. Additionally, we sat down with every player at the end of last year and reminded them that we were in for one hell of a fight in the Championship. We expected and needed 100 per cent commitment from anybody remaining at the Football Club.
We were delighted that the majority of players were up for the fight. A few that weren't have either now left the Club or are on loan at other clubs. There are other players that are on loan purely to get games of course, such as Elliott, Jacob and a number of youth players.
From ElliottKing1994 - Do you think football at Carrow Road is value for money? Or are loyal supporters taken for granted? Is it possible for there to be more deals and offers for season ticket holders on a wider range of things, on a more regular basis, to ensure value for hard earned money?
DM: Dear ElliotKing1994, good question. What is perplexing is our current home form versus away form. On our travels, our form has been pretty good, being the only team to win at Ipswich and Brentford this year and one of only two teams to win at Wigan and Cardiff. This needs to continue.
However, we are all concerned at our current form at Carrow Road - normally it is a fortress, but this year, despite dominating many games, we've failed to turn performances into wins and this is something we are looking to address, starting on Saturday against Huddersfield. Clearly our home form does affect perceived value for money and yet we will continue to offer season tickets to a greater proportion of our ground than any other clubs and of course season ticket holders enjoy a healthy discount compared to casual matchday prices.
From Wirral Canary - Hi David, are you happy with how the season has gone so far?
DM: Thanks for the question Wirral Canary - no. I think we all agree that we've not got the points the performances deserve. Currently we are averaging about one-and-a-half points a game and if we are going to get promoted this needs to be closer to two. Quite simply, that's the name of the game.
From Paul - Hi David. If we don't manage to get promotion this year, what is the future plan for the club? Has there been a period of consolidation built into the contingency? Are you prepared to give Neil Adams a few seasons to build the squad?
DM: Hello Paul, our aim is to get back to the Premier League as quickly as we can. Ideally that means this season if at all possible. Football management is a high risk business - the current average tenure of a football manager in the Championship is less than one season. Indeed, based on the LMA's own stats Neil Adams is the 47th longest-serving manager in the Football League out of 72! Quite simply the aim is win games in a results business and in football we are all judged in this way. We're all working with Neil to try and improve our results and our league position.
From CanaryFromAus - Hi David. How's Mike Phelan settling in? What impact - both short and long term - do you expect his appointment to bring?
DM: Hello CanaryFromAus, once we had decided that we needed to make a change to the first team coaching staff, we decided it was imperative the new coach was simply best in class. We considered a number of contenders, who all would have provided an upgrade. However, Mike was the outstanding candidate based on knowledge, experience, skill and attitude and we do expect him to help make a significant contribution to the Club.
From Calum - What are the clubs targets this year? Playoffs or automatic promotion?
DM: Hi Calum, just promotion whether it's by automatic or play-offs.
From UEA Canary - Have all plans for expansion of Carrow Road been shelved unless we get promoted?
DM: Hi UEA Canary, as you are probably aware the UEA did complete a feasibility study for us regarding stadium expansion. The study and ourselves intuitively believe there is a market for extra capacity at Carrow Road.
However the cost of such a project is circa £30million and at present we simply do not have the funds to invest. Currently, all spare cash is re-invested in football and we think that this strategy will need to continue, certainly for the mid-term. Ultimately we would like to expand Carrow Road and to allow all of those on the season ticket waiting list the opportunity to attend games.
From Chris - Are cheap deals are unfair to season ticket holders who commit up front?
DM: Hello Chris, adult season ticket holders receive circa 30 per cent discount when compared to our current Championship casual prices. It was, of course, a much bigger discount in the Premier League.
From York Green - Did the reaction of fans after the Reading game surprise you and/or the players?
DM: Hi York Green, I can only speak for myself but I was not surprised at all. I thought the Carrow Road fans were fantastic throughout the game against Reading and I must say the support at Wigan was simply magnificent. After the Reading game though the fans have every right to boo and vent their frustration when the result is disappointing. And so I fully understand their reaction after this game.
We've got some of the best fans in the land who follow the Club all around the country week in, week out so they have every right to let us know when they are disappointed.
From jimmy87 - Will we still be looking abroad at potential signings?
DM: Yes Jimmy we will look both domestically and internationally when looking to improve the squad.
From Jonny - Hi David. You don't hear it a lot I expect so firstly can I thank you for where you have taken this club which was down and out before you got here! Is your long term future with us as far as you are concerned?
DM: Thanks Jonny, along with the rest of the Board our plan is to fight like mad in our efforts and attempts to get the Club back to the Premier League. We're completely committed to this objective and once we are back in the Premier League our aim is to become a consistently successful top flight club. I remain fully motivated and committed to the challenges at NCFC and I'm certainly up for the battles ahead.
From He_doesnt_like_cheese - Morning David, is there a directive to our players regarding using Twitter? I like to think it creates a rapport with the fans but there's been some abuse, particularly to our younger players, which they probably should not be exposed to.
DM: Hello, whether someone is on a social media platform or not is a personal choice. For me though we get great supporter feedback from a worldwide spread of NCFC fans and this is really valuable information. The issue of 'trolls' on the internet and some of the vitriolic abuse I'm afraid are a wider matter for society and not simply a football issue.
I think social media is a great way for players and fans to interact and yes of course we do need to remind our players from time to time about some of the pitfalls and some of the do's and don’ts.
From Purple Canary - David, are season ticket prices for 2015-16 going to be based on the assumption we are still in the Championship, back in the PL, or some kind of compromise?
DM: Hello PurpleCanary, always good to hear from you! Our season ticket package for next year is currently under review and this, of course, has included consultation with supporters. We expect similar launch dates and timings to previous years, which should mean we'll be announcing season ticket prices and other details for the 2015-16 season in January.
From canarykeeper - Hi David. Where do we stand with the possibility of losing key players in January? As we know the season isn’t going 100% to plan at the moment - will the club look to sell key players?
DM: Hello Canarykeeper, with any January trading the plan will be for the Club to strengthen the squad. This will mean if there are any players joining the Club they will improve us in a certain position and it also means, of course, that no players will be sold against our will.
From conker - Hi David, many fans have wanted to see us have a "cup run" for a while now and more often than not we seem to exit the cups in a manner that would suggest it is not a high priority to the club. Do you feel that we would sacrifice a longer stay in the cup in order to prioritise the league?
DM: Hi conker, like many fans I would really love the Club to be involved in a cup run. It has been too long! That being said, I wouldn't want it to be at the expense of promotion to the Premier League. However, I do believe winning games becomes a habit so I see no reason why we can't win league games and cup games.
David McNally on annual bonuses
DM: Hi everyone, finally we've had quite a few questions about my bonus and I wanted to address that before finishing.
Whilst it is not really for me to comment on my own bonus criteria which as you would expect is set by the Board, what I will say is that it was paid for achieving non-football-related targets and objectives. I can also confirm that certain other colleagues across the business were, quite rightly, paid bonuses for their efforts last year, once again in non-football-related areas.
Off the field, our team at NCFC is the strongest it's ever been and long may this continue. However, it will only continue if we ensure that our very talented colleagues are focused, motivated and properly incentivised and we do everything we can to retain and attract the best possible talent from inside and outside of Norfolk.
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