SUMMARY OF CANARIES TRUST AGM Q&A SESSION WITH STEVE STONE (SS) AND STUART WEBBER (SW)
(WITHOUT THE INTERESTING ANECDOTES)ACADEMY BOND (SS)
Q: How surprised were the Club with the success of the “crowd-fund”? A: The Club were surprised at the speed with which they reached the initial £3.5M target; they had expected to move towards the public offer. The Club believe it was a sign that some people are buying into the Webber/Farke “project” but additionally it is a good investment with a sound return.
Q: What is happening to involve the smaller investor? A: The Club are looking for additional ways to involve those who couldn’t afford the minimum of £500, they have some ideas such as sponsoring a paving slab in return for your name on it and a relaunch of the Academy Lottery.
Q: Is a crowd-fund a possibility for ground development e.g City Stand? A: There is no likelihood of rebuilding the City stand unless there is a prolonged period in the Premier League however if safe-standing was allowed it might be used to fund that development.
Q: Were the January transfers those originally summer targets? A: The sale of Pritchard did enable them to sign Kenny Maclean and Onel Hernandez, but there will be no big transfer budget this summer without the combination of player sales or high earners, including some out on loan, being moved on. It is hoped it will be easier to make changes this summer, with a number of older, high earning players, who have just a year left on their contracts, plus he and DF have had a full year to prepare, but they will need to be creative.
Q: Food quality has deteriorated, and Yellows has been closed, why? A: He couldn’t comment on match-day standards in the kiosks and other eateries as he ate in the Directors’ Lounge, but Yellows had never really paid its way as it was in the wrong place and the introduction of the bus–gate had exacerbated matters. Regarding the Gunn Club/Norfolk Lounge it has been noted it needs revamping and renaming but to do it for this season could have been difficult! In response to a supplementary question regarding the speed of service at the kiosks, the huge turn-over of staff meant there was a lack of experience.
SELF-FUNDING AND FUTURE REVENUES (SS)
Q: What alternative revenue streams have the Club got? A: Ticket sales are almost constant at £10M and likewise the broadcasting income and so to be able to be self-funding in the future it will require the development and sales of players hence the need to modernise the Academy.
PLAYER TURNOVER AND NEW CULTURE (SW)
Q: What have been the problems? A: The biggest problem after a turnover of players is allowing a settling in time. The settling in time was minimised for many of them this season, including DF. On top of a new country, Championship style of football was a new experience, and some settled quicker than others. Even happens to top players for example Pogba and Sanchez at Man Utd. It appears the second half of the season has been better than the first. DF came in with a culture change with a mixture of youth and overseas players and players must get used to cultural differences both on and off the field. The Club is mindful of EFL Foreign Player Rules and any affect of Brexit on foreign players (workers). This adds to the needs to produce a quality academy with a reasonable production of young home-grown players.
Q: What is the situation regarding cutting the wage bill? A: There is still an overhang from the Premier League contracts, which continue until June 2019, and there are players on loan on very large wages.
TESTIMONIAL FOR WES HOOLAHAN (SW)
Q: Will there be one? A: Not this season as the pitch is being replaced and both parties are still discussing his future both in terms of Daniel Farke’s plans and what Wes wants to do. It was made clear that this process will be completed well before the end of the season so that if he leaves he will be given the opportunity of a proper send off at the last home match. However, the club is also totally committed to providing a testimonial for him as he is held in the highest esteem by everyone there.
PRE-SEASON 2018-19 (SS)
Q: Where will it be? A: Going to Germany in the period from 13th to 21st July but more details on specific dates and locations will be announced later.
SAFE STANDING (SS) Q: What is happening? A: As reported widely the local MPs have written to the Sports Minister supporting Safe Standing. The Club have done the costings, but it is expected any changes in legislation might have to wait until Brexit issues are completed. If it is allowed a Rail System will be considered for the Lower Barclay with a variety of options available which could involve just barriers or lock up seats as part of a rail seating system that could be phased in. This will not increase the capacity but could help improve the atmosphere.
TOILETS (SS) Q: Are there any plans to improve the toilets? A: This is a perennial issue but without huge structural changes little can be done especially if the “one-way” system is ignored.
INFORMATION ON ACADEMY TEAMS (SS) Q: Could fans be given more information on team results at all ages students who move on? A: This is being taken on board and an Intern will be recruited to cover these issues.
SCOUTING (SW) Q: What are the scouting arrangements in UK and abroad? A: The new Head of Recruitment has 4 full-time scouts and 2 full-time “data scouts” who will follow players over time allowing the Club to prepare two to three years ahead. The scouts are primarily focusing on four overseas leagues. The key is to get good value players whose value can be increased and who will fit in with the existing players at Colney. There has been a culture shift at Colney with the intake of young and hungry players, the new players feel indebted to Norwich City for giving them a chance, this is the reverse of the situation SW found when he was first appointed. By necessity the recruitment team are “fishing in a different pond” to their predecessors. NCFC have agreed a summer acquisition, but not in a position to announce it as yet.
STYLE OF PLAY (SW) Q: Why is the play so boring? A: DF is committed to a style of “pass and run” but it hasn’t fully gelled because of the lack of a consistent pacey striker. However, it is acknowledged that the football has, at times this season, been “ hard watch” and fans were thanked for their patience. The recruitment team know what’s required and will be doing everything possible to ensure that Farke has what he needs next season.
If fans require “hoof-ball” then he and DF are “out of here”.