Date:Monday January 22 2007
Hello folks, I'm back. Many thanks for those that wished me well.
It seems that the speculation mill has churned out some interesting revelations since my spell in hospital. Even from my hospital bed I was asked to comment on the story that Delia might be prepared to sell hers and Michael's shares.
It is encouraging to know that the club is beginning to pay heed to the Norwich City fans' sites; unlike the stance they assumed over the Worthington affair. Maybe they recognise that the different sites, whilst individually having a small percentage of fans' views, collectively represent a true depth of feeling amongst the support. And this site, amongst others, has not shirked away from criticising the directors for some of the handling of football matters at Carrow Road.
Would she sell? I very much doubt it. Between them, Michael and Delia own this club, which they are both, obviously very proud of. Even her codicil indicated that any potential buyer would have to commit not only to buying those shares, but to putting an equal sum into the club immediately. Which translates into this; say the individual shares cost £10,000 each, and their holding of 56% came to 1000. That would mean that the buyer would need to pay Delia £10m and give the club £10m. So any potential buyer would have to cough up £20m. These are ball park figures, and my interpretation of her statement, but it is enough to put most interested parties off.
The point is, though, that a policy that the board adopted in the post-Chase era is haunting it at almost every step now. We all know that the idea that no one person would hold a controlling interest is a joke. It opens the door to any speculator taking a similar line to Michael and Delia. Buy the shares and put half in the wife/husband's name! No, the real problem stems from the veto idea, where any policy requires a 100% backing before it can be implemented. All it has taken, in the past, is for one director to be made to question a policy by the chief executive. Now, even that safeguard has been eliminated because the chief executive is now a member of that board and doesn't have to convince anybody; just vote against!
The root of all evil, for want of a better phrase, is firmly planted in the form of Neil Doncaster. How many City supporters do not question his ambitions to achieve a higher status at the FA? And what better way to achieve his ambitions than to demonstrate that he cannot be swayed by passion for one club? And the test-tube model for his ambitions just happens to be OUR club!
Cast your minds back to events of the last 10 years. The sales of Darren Eadie and Craig Bellamy would never have taken place if Delia had had her way! Then, following relegation from the Premiership, Roger Munby even told television reporters that the club had no need to sell players, and even had enough to buy more to get promoted straight back up. In both instances, shortly after wards, the board, collectively, denied that any money was available or that the offers were too good to refuse.
The unsubstantiated story that Delia had spoken to fans after another pathetic away display about sacking Worthington never happened. Worthington declaring that he had no wish or desire to sell Ashton. The selection of unproven managers since Rioch departed. Are these acts those of a passionate fan? More like somebody who probably voted Thatcher in the seventies and saw the club as a business empire, rather than a football team!
To my way of thinking, the problems arise from Neil Doncaster. Somehow or other, this beloved club of ours has turned into a tool for him to fuel his own ambitions, and he even has the other directors hoodwinked into believing that his model for a successful club is the right one. Consider it; most of us would be prepared to gamble on the success of Norwich City Football Club. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the difference that the income generated from a regular Premiership place is worth a lot more than a couple of years in the Championship. But Doncaster and his staff have never done more than budget for the worst case scenario. He even has Munby now, declaring that the board must plan the next year's budget on a Division One place! £5m now could easily turn into £50m if Peter Grant was allowed to buy the players of his choice to gain promotion next season, rather than what Doncaster permits him to spend because Doncaster has his sights set on a club that will exist when most of us are dead and buried!
So, Delia, Michael, et al, there is no need for you to sell out. Just get rid of Neil Doncaster!
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