Forgive me, but unusually for a Tuesday, with subtle encouragement from the wife, I've indulged in a early evening glass of fine Scotch and all is now feeling very relaxed and well.
There has been so many decent replies and contributions on this subject over the last couple of days. Just wish to thank everyone.
I have to say, after many years of infrequent observation on this board, this return has been a thoroughly pleasant and enjoyable experience. Cheers indeed.
Your average pinkun msg board calibre Norwich City fan never ceases to impress me with both their insight and knowledge on any particular subject, let alone on subjects even tenuously connected to the club. Also, the care shown in writing replies, remarkable.
If I may draw consensus from the many replies, I would say that whilst the majority of posters would undoubtedly like to see this project happen (at some point), despite what appears a prime opportunity to carry out the work, a similar and clear majority would still be highly cautious in view of being absolutely sure to continue to 'make ends meet' financial in what clearly remains a highly uncertain time. As I said in the opening post. It was a devil's advocate question that has as intended, produced some very interesting and worthy responses.
I think if I'm honest, not just on the subject, but in life in general, whilst I wouldn't consider myself gambler, I have at points no doubt been a 'caution to the wind' type of chap. Like most, I have taken some financial gambles in life. Needless to say, some paid off, some didn't. There was a degree of risk and uncertainty in many cases, but I took those decisions with a longer view of moving forward and general progress in life. It's important to say that some of that progress was in terms of financial wealth, but notably some additionally meant progress in terms of status, security or with a view towards expanding future opportunities.
With that in mind, regarding the Stadium/ Main Stand, this may be an unpopular opinion, but I think for me, that even in the worst case scenario that it meant the sale of a prized piece of 'human capital', I think I would still have to have a good think about it.
At some point you have to at least consider (or are likely forced anyway) to move at that abundant amount of current 'human capital' wealth (what, let's face it, 100million plus right now, has it ever been so high?) into a physical asset capital that may well last 50+ years. I think with an optimistic vision of the future, one would expect it to eventually pay off. When I say 'pay off', I don't necessarily mean in terms of clawing back the investment. As pointed out in another great reply, revenue from seating as a proportion of income has become increasing small, and we would be waiting till hell freezes over to recoup the cost in that way, I mean in terms in terms of status, future opportunities and to keep moving the club, to keep the club growing.
It doesn't make business sense on the spreadsheet is what the accountants amongst you will think. Quite right too. There is no way that we are going get that money back in the next 5 years, and not from bums on seats regardless. Without some sort of incredible unforeseen success on the pitch or something or some other miracle source of income we are taking a financial gamble. That doesn't make sense in terms of risk is what the insurance folk amongst you will think. Crikey, we are still in the midst of the biggest crisis the country has faced since WW2 and you want to expand a stadium(?!). We don't even know if, when, how, in what capacity, in what numbers any fans will returns and yet you want to space for 7k or so more(?!).
However, project sponsors or project managers amongst you may take a different view. When building a business case for any project one is is not looking any single aspect and whether on the surface wholly positive or negative. The business case looks at the future benefits of the project as a whole. The benefits in this case are not likely be financial for a good period of time (if indeed, ever), so you have to build your business case looking at different factors.
I mentioned in the opening post that the reason I was raising at this time was because it appeared an opportune moment without fans in the stadium. This is a business case factor. Without the usual losses incurred and without effectively losing out to our competition who are also currently handicapped in this manner, it would seem a great time to do it (that's assuming of course, that plans could be completed expediently).
The status of the club is another factor. I have no doubt that Norwich are now easily within the top 25 supported clubs in the land. Their international following clearly continues to increase due to DF's period of relative success and the also the terrific foreign players that ply their trade here currently. We surely have a decent clutch of Finnish supporters right now, I can tell you that from YouTube comments on matches alone. We are very easy on the eye in terms of playing style (well, Pep thinks so) and I see the club continually winning plaudits from neutral admirers for the outstandingly well run organisational structure. I don't think many of us would disagree with that currently. Though the stadium/ Main stand particularly, could not be described as poor by any means (bias me here, in fact still finds it rather pleasant), I have been to many stadiums that are clearly superior in terms of both capacity and facilities. Taking off the old yellow and green tinted glasses, there is definitely more than 25 of them in the land and we are slowly falling down this particular status ladder. Realistically, it's time to upgrade the Main Stand and move us forward. All other aspects of the club have moved forward in recent years. Shiny new scoreboard aside, the stadium really hasn't. When I see that 1980's single tier stand on any televised match, I can't switch off the part of my brain that is saying 'wow, in this day and age, doesn't it all look rather quaint'. For me, it doesn't send the right message in terms of marketing the club or attracting sponsors or investment any longer. It's not a bad old stand in essence, indeed, I've had some great times in there, but I simply believe we are bigger than that now and it's time to seriously move this matter on. I guess that's another factor in the business case, gaining security via attracting future sponsorship and investment. I'm sure there are more positive beneficial factor's other than financial, indeed, I would encourage folks to list them, however I've run out of time here.
With all of that said however, I can't pretend that there is not a great deal of 'heart' in debating for speedy development of the Main Stand. Perhaps those who make their cases focussing primarily on the pocket or the risk to future operations can see it with a degree more sobriety than me (certainly right now ).
It's that giddy little lad inside that is still marching down Riverside Road amongst the crowds whilst holding his Dad's hand and gazing up at those towering floodlights ahead. That unique match day excitement growing as we get swept along towards the ground. He is still longing to repeat the experience once again, but maybe with a huge shiny new stand that dominates the skyline and catches your eye from the train station and beyond. Something we could all be proud of. Something that could perhaps hold in the noise of matchdays to come.
Thanks again folks.