My first programme note as Norwich City Chairman

The FA Cup third round holds a place in the heart of every football fan, but for me it always feels particularly special. It was on third round Saturday in 1973, aged five, that I attended my first game at Carrow Road – a 1-1 draw with the holders Leeds – and my lifelong love of Norwich City began.

I couldn’t tell you much about the game, but I can remember everything about the feel of the packed stadium, the tension in my Dad’s face, the atmosphere of the crowd around us, and the sense that while Leeds had all the big stars, Norwich were playing like a team.

1973 turned out to be a typical City season, with highs and lows in equal measure.

We got to Wembley for the first time in the League Cup final, but went home the losing side; recorded a famous draw in the replayed cup tie at Elland Road, but lost badly at the third attempt; and enjoyed our first season in the top flight, but had to fight all the way against relegation.

But I was hooked. And 43 years on, it is my huge honour and privilege to be asked to become Chairman of this great Club. My Norwich-supporting family are all very proud, and I’m sure that my late Uncle Frank, a season-ticket holder in the City Stand for 40 years, is also looking down with a smile.

It’s been a whirlwind start in the role, and I have been at Carrow Road and Colney this week meeting colleagues across the Club and discussing the challenges ahead.

I am lucky to be joining a brilliantly well-run and financially stable organisation, a huge credit to our majority shareholders Delia and Michael; the rest of the Board; and to chief executive David McNally and his hugely professional team.

But we know it has not always been that way, and I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Alan Bowkett, who steered the Club’s finances out of choppy waters with great skill and commitment in his six years at the helm.

It has also been a pleasure to join the Club during such an excellent Christmas period, with last Saturday’s victory against Southampton making it nine points from twelve.

But I know Alex Neil will not let an ounce of complacency creep in; the players will keep grafting for every point over the coming months to make us safe.

If we can do that, our next challenge is to kick on and secure our top flight status for the long-term. All my life, we have been a yo-yo club, and it is time for that to end.

While that will always come down to results, those are never just down to the players. It is the board’s job constantly to do everything we can off the pitch to help us succeed on it, and I hope that is where my own experience will play a part.

In the meantime, Happy New Year, let’s enjoy the Cup and let’s keep on winning.

Posted January 9th, 2016 by Ed

Leave a Reply