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PurpleCanary

The view from now

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The club

seems to be in a very happy place. All sorts of boxes ticked. What follows is

an attempt to provide some perspective and to assess where we are with certain

issues. Frankly I don’t think any of the following will be at all controversial

but if people do have comments I suggest they quote the section rather than

every last word. For clarity’s sake, “last season” in footballing and financial

terms means 2011-12, “this season” is 2012-13, and “next season” is...you get

the idea.

The youth set-up

How better to start than to quote City1st? “The U21s and U18s are certainly

developing along the right lines and the fruits of this will be seen in a few

seasons time. That should also be a continous process.”

True enough, with the Youth Cup in the trophy room. A couple of caveats. From the

 winning squad of  1982-83 only three players (Donowa, Goss and

Spearing) had much of a career and none was a major star. And those players did

not come cheap. Nor will any from the current crop who succeed. There used to

be a mantra about youth players costing nothing. Decades ago a paper exploded

this idea by looking at Arsenal  over

several years. Only one player from the initial large intake made it as a

regular to the first-team five or six years later, and based on the cost of the

set-up over those years he was seriously expensive. That it was Charlie George

probably made it worthwhile. And there is the added argument that if Arsenal

hadn’t got Charlie a rival club (Spurs?!) would have done. Ditto us and, for

example, the Murphys.

But it is interesting that a reason given by the Daily Mail for Pulis becoming

disenchanted with Stoke was his concern that money would be pumped into the

youth system rather than his transfer budget.

McNally
“I make

account of Your Majesty as of an angel of God.”

Said by an admirer of a 17th century European monarch, but not far

off the attitude of some fans to our chief executive. As in this recent post:

“McNally has made it his number 1 objective to clear the debt.”
I am not

trying to show up a particular poster, but those 12 words pretty much get

everything wrong, encapsulating some of the misconceptions about McNally’s

abilities and his role, including its limitations, and that of the other directors.

For starters, the post-relegation debt refinancing is often attributed solely

to McNally. As Tangible has suggested it was probably more Bowkett’s doing, and

Sam Gordon, the director of finance, may well have been involved.

Secondly, it wasn’t McNally’s decision as to whether we paid off the debt. We

had no choice. Thirdly, as to McNally making it priority? I doubt it. The

refinancing deal gave us until May 2022 to repay, and we were almost certainly

happy with that, because we then didn’t have the money, but then that will have

been why we were given so much time. Our lenders were being pragmatic. Except

that it transpired there was a Premier League clause that brought repayment

forward to 2013, based on us suddenly having the money. It is highly unlikely

we asked for that; it was almost certainly forced on us by the banks (being

pragmatic again) and it meant we had to pay off around £15m in debt last season

and this when we would have much preferred to boost the transfer fund to try to

stay in the Premier League. As it has turned out we have got the best of both

worlds, by staying up. But I am confident this was not the way McNally or the

other directors wanted it.

Fourthly, there is the general idea that McNally is all-powerful, if he wants something

he will get his way, inside the club and out, and that Smith and Jones and

Foulger, with their vast and generally successful record of running a football

club, and indeed the other directors, have no influence.

I don’t want to belabour the case but there are frequent examples of McNally

hero-worship that do not entirely chime with his performance  (and probably amuse him, as he buffs up his

Ming the Merciless impersonation on twitter). You could hardly move on this

message-board for posts professing “total faith” or “complete confidence” that he

would pick the right successor to Lambert. Yet one of the recent hilarities was

to see at least one such starry-eyed follower demanding Hughton be sacked

forthwith. It is by no means certain McNally picked Hughton by himself and

highly arguable that Hughton should have been sacked, but these posters

believed both ideas, yet seemingly failed to understand they were attacking the

man they insisted could do no wrong.

“Total faith” is for religion. McNally is a talented chief executive but (and I

am not going to return to the mishandling of the transfer window) his record is

not error-free. On balance I would rate his first four years as almost as

successful as were Neil Doncaster’s, and that is high praise.

The debt

Some confusion caused by The Guardian’s usually excellent David Conn saying we

had paid it all off. A mistake based, I assume, on our debts being less than

our profit for the 2011-12 season.  To be

clear, at the start of the season just finished we owed around £11m in external

(interest-paying) bank debt. As mentioned above, the Premier League Survival

Clause means we have had to pay back most (what we owed Axa) by now. There is about

£1.5m due to Bank of Scotland that doesn’t need to be repaid until October 2013,

but we may also have cleared that.

As to internal (non-interest paying) debt, we owe Foulger £1.4m and Smith and

Jones £2.1m. In both cases they can claim the money back once we have paid off

BoS, so this October. Whether either or both intend to I have no idea. My

suspicion is that they would only do so if the club was sold.G
round

expansion

So many unanswered questions here.  Why

was the old mantra, that if we stayed up into a third season in the PL we would

seriously look at expanding capacity to 35,000, dumped last September and a

much less optimistic form of words substituted? A realisation about the

UK/local economy and/or a more pessimistic view about how many extra NCFC fans

there might be out there? A failure to find finance? A combination of factors? Why

is McNally now costing it at up to £30m rather than £20m? Has the basic price

risen or is he adding on the debt interest as a frightening way of justifying

kicking the project into the long grass? Why when it took only 10 months to

knock down the South stand and build The Jarrold did Bowkett talk about 18

months to two years being needed to do the same for the City Stand? Can we not follow

Fulham’s example and build a tier behind and above, so there is no need to

relocate fans? Is the legal position of the now defunct Carrow Road a problem?

Does the proximity of Koblenz Avenue make the project logistically difficult?  Can the foundations of either side stand take

another tier? What on earth can one read into this Pinteresque twitter exchange between a

fan and McNally  on May 15, before the

last game:

“I''ve asked twice already are they adding to the

stadium this season?” no

But NEXT season???

Not a lot is clear. The idea of a few hundred seats in front of the hotel

didn’t happen. But that was never put forward as the real solution, and there

seems from everything the club has said not to be a half-way house of a few

thousand extra. The talk was always raising capacity by 7,000 or 8,000, with a

price tag of many millions. So probably going back into debt. Now debt is not

necessarily dreadful. But there are two problems. Banks hate football debt;

they don’t want to take on new stuff and are keen to get out of that they have.

This is why our lenders almost certainly insisted on the PL early repayment

clause. As ricardo has reported, the latest AGM was told we hawked the idea of

a £20m loan round the City and got politely laughed at. Even if we could get a

loan, are we ever going to be in a footballing position that justifies taking

capital and interest payments out of the playing budget?

That said, I don’t doubt that in an ideal world the directors would dust off

the expansion plan. We have a season ticket waiting list and all the while we

run the danger of losing a generation of fans. In the long run extra capacity

means more income and not just from ticket sales. The project would eventually

get in the black.

But would we need to go into debt? There are two other methods (three if you count

ponzi schemes) of financing expansion. Equity - we could do what Chase talked

about when it was all the rage, and raise money by a stock market flotation.

Alternatively, we could be bought out by a squillionaire with money to burn on

infrastructure. I just mention these as possibilities.

Income this season and next

Our turnover (income) for 2011-12 was £74.3m, with TV (including merit money

based on league position) providing £48.5m of that. A guess would be that

turnover in 2012-13 has been pretty similar, or a touch higher, boosted by

higher ticket and food and drink prices, but reduced by TV/merit money income falling

to £46m. The quantum leap comes next season with the three-year mega-TV deal

guaranteeing around £60m even before Hughton has had a chance to play for a

draw in the home opener against Hull, pushing income to around £100m.Two or so years ago Bowkett said ground expansion to 35,000 was needed to make

us self-sufficient in the Premier League. Since expansion is some way off, does

that mean our financial model is not sustainable, or does the extra TV cash

bankroll us enough? Only those in the boardroom would know the answer. But, at

the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, the extra TV money does not just come

to us; all PL clubs get it. And the loudest sound over the next three years

will be agents demanding more wages for their players. This money is not going

to be pure profit.
FFP

Ah, but Financial Fair Play? Won’t that help us? Isn’t the plan to stop the

extra TV money simply paying for higher wages? I have only looked superficially

at FFP (and I am not sure anyone knows how it will work in practice) so this is

an idiot’s guide.

Essentially (if I have understood at all) there are two FFPs. The long-term aim

of the Uefa version is to make clubs spend on football (as opposed to

infrastructure) only what they earn. So no more squillions from Abramovich on

players. But the only sanction is to be barred from Europe. So if NCFC, for

example, didn’t care about the Europa League and only wanted PL survival then

we could happily flout the Uefa rules. The Premier League FFP is indeed aimed

more at wages. Squillionaires can put £35m a year into the football side above

what is earned. But there is (as per Allardyce’s loud complaints) a wage

ceiling, starting at £52m next season, then to £56m, then to £60m, with limits

on wage rises for transgressors.

But the devil is in the detail. Clubs can apparently generate cash for wage

rises by putting up...yes, you guessed it...ticket prices. It is not entirely

clear to me how that distinction is going to work. Nor what is meant by “wages”

in the wage ceiling. Is it the basic figure of player wages (£25m for us last

season) or – as I suspect – the higher figure of overall staff costs of (£36.7m

for us)?T
hat £36.7m

was very much a wage bill left over from the Championship, with a soupcon of

the PL. Assume we had an increase this season of 15 per cent and 15 per cent

again for next and our first FFP wage bill will be around £50m.

Summary

Unless we went mad this year (or do so next) we are financially well-placed.

Relegation ought not to kill us as it has others. This should not be a

surprise. The Smith and Jones model has always been to spend only what we earn.

That it went wrong was nothing to do with the ethos, which was unchanged, but

mainly a combination of unavoidable debt and avoidable bad managerial choices.

And FFP is aimed at levelling the playing field, so that clubs with paupers for

owners can compete. There has been a distinct correlation between what clubs

pay in wages and their league position. I think it is possible to place too

much reliance on the link in any particular season, but over years it seems

close to an iron law, with - as T has pointed out - only Everton being a

long-term exception.

But even if FFP works to a greater or lesser extent on the playing side, clubs

with rich owners will still have a massive advantage when it comes to

infrastructure. QPR are a train wreck but it is possible in a few years’ time –

if the Mittals stay interested - they will be in a happy place, with a new

training ground and a new ground.W
hich

brings us to the pachyderm in the boardroom – the question of who or what will

succeed Smith and Jones. How much of an advantage it will still be to be owned

by a squillionaire. And whether the ethos they undoubtedly will want to

continue is bound to be at odds with riches beyond the dreams of a

Kryptonite-trading Croesus.

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[quote user="PurpleCanary"]

McNallySaid by an admirer of a 17th century European monarch, but not far

off the attitude of some fans to our chief executive. As in this recent post:Secondly, it wasn’t McNally’s decision as to whether we paid off the debt. We

had no choice. Thirdly, as to McNally making it priority? I doubt it. The

refinancing deal gave us until May 2022 to repay, and we were almost certainly

happy with that, because we then didn’t have the money, but then that will have

been why we were given so much time. Our lenders were being pragmatic. Except

that it transpired there was a Premier League clause that brought repayment

forward to 2013, based on us suddenly having the money. It is highly unlikely

we asked for that; it was almost certainly forced on us by the banks (being

pragmatic again) and it meant we had to pay off around £15m in debt last season

and this when we would have much preferred to boost the transfer fund to try to

stay in the Premier League. As it has turned out we have got the best of both

worlds, by staying up. But I am confident this was not the way McNally or the

other directors wanted it.I don’t want to belabour the case but there are frequent examples of McNally

hero-worship that do not entirely chime with his performance  (and probably amuse him, as he buffs up his

Ming the Merciless impersonation on twitter). You could hardly move on this

message-board for posts professing “total faith” or “complete confidence” that he

would pick the right successor to Lambert. Yet one of the recent hilarities was

to see at least one such starry-eyed follower demanding Hughton be sacked

forthwith. It is by no means certain McNally picked Hughton by himself and

highly arguable that Hughton should have been sacked, but these posters

believed both ideas, yet seemingly failed to understand they were attacking the

man they insisted could do no wrong.

“Total faith” is for religion. McNally is a talented chief executive but (and I

am not going to return to the mishandling of the transfer window) his record is

not error-free. On balance I would rate his first four years as almost as

successful as were Neil Doncaster’s, and that is high praise.

[/quote]

I agree completely with the rest of your post and all of it makes sense to a mere mortal like me who has no understanding of finances or anything like that- more money coming into the club is better is all I know!

Anyway, I think you make some really good and valid points about McNally and none better than the fact that he is only one man and there are other people on the Board. In my opinion the whole club has done a good job and this in turn means that McNally has done a good job- only fair!

We''ve gone from a relegated Championship side to a side about to embark on their 3rd successive year of Premier League football and whether some people like it or not a big part of that was Paul Lambert. Now I dont know what your views are on PL, PC but a lot  of Norwich fans I know give credit to McNally for sacking Gunny and therefore paving the way for PL. 

They lads did just need a hand (maybe) but PL certainly gave them that- although like the McNally and wider Board point Lambert was just part of a team.

If one gives credit to McNally because he sacked Gunny (rightly or wrongly) then regardless of what is going on now we have to recognise that McNally took the correct decision at the right time.

Would Doomy have done that? Sacked a club legend in a ruthless move?

I''ll let others contemplate that but I know what I think!

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Club is in probably the best position its ever been in -

 

Now externally debt free,

 

Playing in the most lucrative League on the planet,

 

Very good academy set up!

 

Massive fanbase that is larger than the current ground capacity!

 

Have a very astute ambitious CE who while not perfect has done far more good than bad and the few bad moments he has seen the error of his ways!

 

The club while knowing things are pretty good at the moment aren''t getting carried away with this to ensure no complacency!

 

We have nothing to worry about cause while the club continues to be run as it is at present then its likely we''ll continue to survive in the top flight and then other things like improved squad, decent cup runs and ground expansion will follow suit!

 

 

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I know that many posters on here have certain axes to grind, so I shalln''t be getting to bogged down with regards to your comments on McNally - other than to say that I think many sensible people who refer to McNally in a similar manner to a deity, do so with the full understanding that he is not a dictator and that, in all reasonable likelihood, the successes we have enjoyed in the recent past have been down to him working alongside the board, the owners, and the other supporting staff to come to (in most cases) positive solutions to the pertinent issues of running a football club.  He is given the majority of the praise due to being the most prominent figurehead of the leadership of our club and because he is the chief executive - I think that is a reasonably fair way to attribute credit.

In terms of the continuous comments that the TV money isn''t real profit and doesn''t distinguish us from other Premiership clubs, to an extent that is true.  However, it seems to be equally continously overlooked that:

a) an element of the TV money is split out on the basis of where you finish in the league - so there is a differential there (albeit relatively minimal), and;

b) more importantly, football is a global game, there are other leagues which do not bring in as much money to their members by way of TV money.  Our recruitment looks like it could be more "European" than ever before.  Again, the TV money distinguishes us from clubs in other leagues because we can offer more money in wages than they can, and we can afford larger transfer fees than they can.  Also, by the same token, the disparity in finances means that we will inevitably be able to get more player for our money as the years go by and the gap increases.  Ok, so we''re in the same boat as numerous Premiership sides, but we are in a stronger position on a global basis than ever before.

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A good post with many a "?" answered by yourself, to which I can only really agree on for the most part.The club is in a good position, the best in a very long time. The youth side of things looks promising, but the inconvenient truth is or at least will be that most of them will fail to reach the heights we so crave. What are the chances that we churn out two or three or more youth products that are of any relevant quality to our current position? Hmm. Nevertheless, the quality is getting better as shown recently.The stadium expansion is one of those things that will forever be spoken and discussed (or argued) about amongst the fans until it happens, and even then, there will be discussion thereafter regarding its "success" and impact on the club. There is a waiting list, yes, so there is the demand, but at what cost? Do we have the money to burn on infrastructure? Only to realise that the money would have been better spent on a player that could have perhaps, in the case of relegation, kept us up, or got us a better position. For now, stadium expansion is a few years off.

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"In the long run extra capacity

means more income and not just from ticket sales."not true,  more ticket sales at the same price and/or equal ticket sales at a higher price  ''means more income'' .... extra capacity does not necessarily equate to ''more income'' - ask our impoverished neighbours

"..and all the while we

run the danger of losing a generation of fans"

again, not correcta decade or so back there were many empty seats/
tickets available at games so where was this supposed ''lost generation'' then and where have all the extra thousands since come from - more importantly, why ?as our impoverished neighbours again demonstrate it is not the availabilty of seats that determines how many fans turn up  as I have no doubt that were they to find themselves in the PL then poorman road would be full up   demand is stimulated and determined by a combination of onfield success and price - simply providing more seats does not mean that they will be filled, more so if that provision exerts a very strong downward pressure on the former

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[quote user="City1st"]"In the long run extra capacity

means more income and not just from ticket sales."not true,  more ticket sales at the same price and/or equal ticket sales at a higher price  ''means more income'' .... extra capacity does not necessarily equate to ''more income'' - ask our impoverished neighbours

"..and all the while we

run the danger of losing a generation of fans"

again, not correcta decade or so back there were many empty seats/
tickets available at games so where was this supposed ''lost generation'' then and where have all the extra thousands since come from - more importantly, why ?as our impoverished neighbours again demonstrate it is not the availabilty of seats that determines how many fans turn up  as I have no doubt that were they to find themselves in the PL then poorman road would be full up   demand is stimulated and determined by a combination of onfield success and price - simply providing more seats does not mean that they will be filled, more so if that provision exerts a very strong downward pressure on the former

[/quote]

 

We may have a different definition of "the long run". I am talking about over the next forty or fifty years, or even longer. It is a fair assumption that - unless something went catastrophically wrong with the club - we would over several decades have enough seasons of success to have enough gates above 27,000 to pay for the project. As you say, if Ipswich were back in the Premier League they would fill their 30,000-seat stadium.

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An interesting summary, Purple.On the youth set-up, I have often wondered about what is the true value and cost-effectiveness of the top grade Academy status. There are substantial costs and the benefits are not certain. This has some link with our Premier League status. Some posters have suggested that some recent graduates from the youth set-up (like Korey Smith and Tom Adeyemi) might well have been in our squad at Champs level but probably too big a step for the Prem. The academy may produce some good players but will it generate the gems that can compete at this level. A friend suggested to me that Academies were a bit of a vanity project for some clubs. I see where he is coming from but I wouldnt agree as a generality - and not for NCFC. There is a requirement for including a certain number of "home grown" players in the squad and the cost of such players even from the lower leagues is astronomical in some cases - especially compared to comparable players from overseas (at least in the short term). So I guess that trying to uncover some gems is worth while - if risky. If we do I hope the fans will have patience with them. So, overall I''m in favour but cautious re cost.Increasing the capacity is a perennial debate. Perhaps the club can help to clear up some basic queries that do the rounds each time the subject comes up. Fortress Carrow Road probably applies more than anything to the amount of information that can get out to fans these days. I appreciate that some information is commercially sensitive and we would not want information public which gives our competitors an advantage but surely there are areas where the club could be more engaged with supporters. Could the club not simply tell us, for example, whether the foundations and structure for Jarrold stand can (or cannot) support another tier or other expansion. Ditto the City Stand - can a "fulham style" cantilever tier over the existing structure be achieved etc. (I believe what Mr Bowkett actually said was that knocking down and replacing the whole Cty Stand was the preferred option - not the only one). It would be a little bit of positive PR for the club to engage with the fans without any commercial harm on a matter which is an important issue and oft debated.Your summary says it all. I think we are in a decent place right now. We have a good base and can move forward with reasonable confidence. Staying in the Premier League is always going to be a challenge - the margins are so fine that only a few clubs will not even contemplate the risk of relegation as a possibility. But there are many clubs who will be no better than us and several who are worse. Each year we get stronger.

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On the subject of the relevant benefits of spending on the youth system I think that it''s pertinent to look at Arsenal''s again, though this time more recently than the newspaper expose referred to by Purple.

There are 2 ways to look at the merits of a youth setup, either providing first team players OR financially.

If you judge success purely on the basis of first team players then yes, it''s going to be difficult to have a youth system that is judged to be successful, certainly in the next 5 years as the bulk  of the players that will be graduating will have been taken into the system whilst we were in the lower echelons and constrained by the 90 minute rule (and other ''academy'' regulations). Looking further ahead, the longer we stay in the permiership the higher the calibre of intake we can expect so the greater chance of getting players who are worthy of premiership game time from a younger age (though the relative position and competitiveness of our team will dictate the opportunities to blood them as will the confidence of our manager as the penalties of relegation will be more hard hitting so short-termism may be the watch word). However, when the financial side of things is taken into account things change slightly and this is where we come back to Arsenal.

They have invested vast amounts in their youth setup and often have upwards of 15 young players out on loan to the lower leagues. The majority of these players will never be a fixture in the arsenal first team and at best will get a few games in the COC (or whatever it''s called then), however, every time they go out on loan a loan fee is payable to the parent club, in Arsenal''s case this has been documented to be a 7 figure sum for some players (even though their eventual resale value doesn''t even reach these heights). If you can get this payment multiple times for the same player as well as lesser amounts for the lesser lights of the academy then very quickly the academy becomes a valuable revenue stream which will provide funds to buy players who genuinely are first teamers. It''s a very unromantic view, but it certainly puts a different perspective on the investment and makes it even more important that we managed to get the CAT A status...

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Oh, I forgot to add, thanks for the summary Purple, I think it captures the position that we are in nicely (it''s good, yay!) and sorry for the block of text, I forget that the spacing when formulating a post isn''t the same as it looks when it is posted...

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On the issue of ground expansion, I knew the architect who designed all four of the current stands, and I am sure he told me when the City Stand was built that the club wanted to put a cantilevered top tier on it which would have been constructed so that it went out over Carrow Road, which at that time (before the Riverside development) was part of the Ring Road. However, they were unable to get planning permission to go out over the road, so it never happened. I suppose it is quite possible that the stand as it is has adequate foundations to support a top tier which goes out over Carrow Road now that it''s not a primary route.

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Thanks Cornish - interesting. There must be several avenues to generate funds to offset some of the costs of the Academy as well as the obvious. Of course, when we are more established with a stronger all round team in all positions it will be easier to integrate the young up and coming products of the Academy into the first team squad without putting too much pressure on them - or the rest of the team. I am on balance optimistic about the youth set-up but not going to put too high expectations on them too soon. And after all - Crewe did a decent job of producing decent players which helped them along for many years.

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Foggy - I have also heard various rumours about what is possible from people who are supposedly in the know, including the scenario you quoted. I guess that my point is - wouldn''t it be nice if the club gave us just a little info (as hard fact) about what the practical options were (and what was not possible). It isnt going to be commercially sensitive info but would be nice to know. Looking at the club''s finances I would be happier with relatively smaller increments to increase capacity - if that were possible. But we dont know if it is possible or not. Is demolishing the main stand and a complete rebuild the only option. If so it may be quite a time before we could comfortably manage that without putting team development at risk.In the meantime we shall be like mushrooms.

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Cornish wrote ":certainly in the next 5 years as the bulk of the players that will be graduating will have been taken into the system whilst we were in the lower echelons and constrained by the 90 minute rule (and other ''academy'' regulations)"

Not with you here Cornish, the new status enables to bring in lads from a much wider area. This is not just confined to young players, the is nothing to stop us signing older youth players from further afield who could potentially graduate in 2 years time?

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Very true Ricky, and this has already been evidenced with a few announcements already made (for example signing a couple of teenagers from Luton). I suspect though that we won''t see too many of those signings happening past this summer as the academies that didn''t get CAT A offload their talent whilst they can still get more than the nominal compensation that is part of the EPPP. Past that point then only exceptional talents will get drafted in that close to graduation and so there will be more competition for them so I''d expect this to be the exception rather than the norm....

 

The club would also do well to remember the words of Ignatius Loyola "Give me a child until he is seven and I will show you the man"; It is an adage that has served Ajax well over the years and should be at the cornerstone of our academy (though obviously age adjusting it slightly)...

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Very few of the lads taken in when they are very young make it past u16. Tom A being an exception of course, he in fact played up a year for a lot of his time there. You have to look with admiration at what they are doing in Germany, so many Germany qualified players playing in their top teams.

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With regards to the ''Do we develop the ground at the expense of the playing squad?'' connundrum, the Wolves scenario scares the hell out of me and should serve as a dire warning. We need to learn from the mistakes of others. QPR, Wolves etc.

Im all for ground development, but its never worth risking becoming Wolves for... (what is?)

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Wolves really have cocked up in a way I could have only dreamt about a few years ago! Architects of their own downfall.

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wolves have history of that kind of collapse. In May 1983 they were promoted to the old division 1, in august 1986 they started their season in the old division 4! They spent two seasons there and exactly twenty before they won the play-off final.

have hope they can repeat the feat

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Good stuff as always Purp''s. My comment on the stadium expansion is that I am sure if the will is there it can be done, look at Palarse''s supposed new ground intentions. I use Sheffield Wednesday''s Main Stand as an example. It comprises an old Archibald Leitch designed stand from the 1930''s with a 1990''s cantilevered stand built at the back and over the Leitch stand. Underneath there is more than enough room to accommodate a road (on matchdays the place is packed with cars). To add to problems the stand is bound by the River Don so access for the build was incredibly difficult (as it might be at Carrow Road). No doubt this all added to the cost.

The facilities in the "new" part are second to none but the old Leitch stand facilities are way out of date (even down to"woodchip on the wall") so I understand members of NCFC''s Board''s newly found reticence of making do with the City Stand and building up and over it (even if the City Stand is 40 years newer than Wendy''s). Also the Wendy''s were another club where investment in their stadium came at a price for their on field performance.

However as said on another thread EPL FFFP means the salary cap proposed will be based to a certain extent on ticket revenue. This if nothing else may yet prove a decisive factor in whether to expand or not. As much maybe as BT Sports battle with Sky Sports!

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To properly reconstruct Carrow Rd, we need to add a new tier to the city stand that includes both River and Barclay corners.

In addition however, ideally we need to take the roofs off both Barclay and River End, take down all 4 corner pylons (which is supporting each roof) and construct one sweeping cantaliever roof that spans all 3 stands.

That would finally reduce corner posts and stricter views and would give both current lower corners and future upper corners post-free.

Not cheap of course but we do need to properly get rid of all corner pylons to properly move the ground forwards. The ideal time to do this must surely be at the same time as reconstructing the City Stand?

For one season only, surely we would accept no roof while being constructed? A bit like when Wimbledon took off their roof (tennis that is, not the crazy gang). Think of the market for selling ponchos!!

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Some follow-up comments.Ground expansion. When I said a project would get in the black in "the long run" I really did mean in the long run. I didn''t want to lengthen the piece with calculations but this is - VERY CRUDELY - what I had in mind. The club has put an upper price of £30m on expanding to 34,000 or 35,000. A fair assumption is that the £30m includes the interest on any loan. Now currently each seat at Carrow Road brings in £420 a year. But most or all of the extra 7,000 (using the lower figure) seats would be in the City Stand, so let us say the current average there is £500. That may well be an under-estimate.But over the next 50 years (the timescale I was talking about) inflation will push that figure up.  Say finally to £1,000 a seat income in 2065. So an average income over the five decades of £750 per seat per year.  With full houses that brings in an extra £5.25m a season from the 7,000 new seats, paying off the £30m in six seasons. The other 44 years would be pure profits. Take a more realistic view of likely attendances and assume only 3,000 of the extra seats bring in money most of the time. It would still take only 14 seasons to reach the £30m mark. And it is a reasonable assumption that if we had 14 seasons either in the top flight or at the upper end of the second tier we would be getting attendances around 30,000.One point some posters made is that the club should be more forthcoming with information. Myself I think the blame might be shared around. Virtually every week in the pink ''un online Q&A with various EDP reporters some fan asks what the situation is and none of the panellists has a clue. How about asking McNally on the record? Would that be an idea?McNally. From Stephen Frys Evil Twin: "I know that many posters on here have certain axes to grind, so I shalln''t be getting to bogged down with regards to your comments on McNally."No axe to grind, either for Doncaster or against McNally. All I was doing was trying to provide a more nuanced assessment of the twin mantras that Doncaster was a gibbering idiot who never got anything right while McNally has quasi-mystical powers and is incapable of error. My sense is that a more balanced view of McNally is developing and this is a good thing all round, including for McNally.Youth set-up. Some very interesting comments from cornish sam on how Arsenal use payments from clubs to which they loan players to bankroll their system.

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I always enjoy your assessments Purple, it makes interesting and well thought out reading, even if I don''t always agree with your conclusions!

Think your right in your fag packet calculations for the new stand, I remember doing similar examples on one of the recurring threads on the subject. The stand will always pay for itself many times over, just not immediately, you have to take the long term view to expansion, it isn''t a quick money spinner and there are many other considerations not just ticket sales revenue which make it a viable and arguably necessary course of action for the clubs long term future.

For all those pointing out Wolves as the harbinger of what happens when you embark on such a project, can I just point out that Wolves best placed finish to a season was their first back where they achieved a 15th finish but on a meagre 38 points in a poor league. That total would have got them relegated the next season as they finished 17th on 40 points, 1 point from relegation. We all know what happened season 3, and I''m not sure based on the previous two seasons it was a surprise to anyone but Wolves fans, new stand or not.

We have in comparison finished 12th and 11th on 47 and 44 points respectively. In hindsight comfortably clear from relegation in both seasons. I would not have wanted the club to invest in the stand this summer as this a crucial one for evolving the playing staff, however in the next few years a stand would be viable and unless we scrape safety in those seasons the Wolves lesson isn''t applicable.

I also find it amusing that the academy''s drain on first team funds is not questioned, even though this is a continuous drain on finances with no current benefit to the first team and potential it may not produce a first team player that wasn''t already in the set up for many years to come. I''m not saying we shouldn''t have made this investment, I''m all for it but as the years go buy the Academy could feasibly cost millions while producing no or very few first team players for the outlay.

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[quote user="Monty13"]I always enjoy your assessments Purple, it makes interesting and well thought out reading, even if I don''t always agree with your conclusions!

Think your right in your fag packet calculations for the new stand, I remember doing similar examples on one of the recurring threads on the subject. The stand will always pay for itself many times over, just not immediately, you have to take the long term view to expansion, it isn''t a quick money spinner and there are many other considerations not just ticket sales revenue which make it a viable and arguably necessary course of action for the clubs long term future.

For all those pointing out Wolves as the harbinger of what happens when you embark on such a project, can I just point out that Wolves best placed finish to a season was their first back where they achieved a 15th finish but on a meagre 38 points in a poor league. That total would have got them relegated the next season as they finished 17th on 40 points, 1 point from relegation. We all know what happened season 3, and I''m not sure based on the previous two seasons it was a surprise to anyone but Wolves fans, new stand or not.

We have in comparison finished 12th and 11th on 47 and 44 points respectively. In hindsight comfortably clear from relegation in both seasons. I would not have wanted the club to invest in the stand this summer as this a crucial one for evolving the playing staff, however in the next few years a stand would be viable and unless we scrape safety in those seasons the Wolves lesson isn''t applicable.

I also find it amusing that the academy''s drain on first team funds is not questioned, even though this is a continuous drain on finances with no current benefit to the first team and potential it may not produce a first team player that wasn''t already in the set up for many years to come. I''m not saying we shouldn''t have made this investment, I''m all for it but as the years go buy the Academy could feasibly cost millions while producing no or very few first team players for the outlay.[/quote]

 

I would be very surprised - and rather worried - if everyone agreed with my all conclusons...[;)]

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