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Premier League relegation was my “biggest failure” - Norwich City chief executive David McNally’s message to fans at AGM

PUBLISHED: 21:19 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 21:19 25 November 2014

Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams

Getting back to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity - that is the priority for bosses at Norwich City.

Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams Norwich City Football Club Annual general meeting to discuss the annual report 2014 at Carrow Road. Photo: Steve Adams

David McNally, chief executive, told dozens of supporters at the club’s annual general meeting tonight that relegation from the Premier League was his “biggest failure in 32 years of work”.

Mr McNally said the “tragedy” of relegation affected those at the club and supporters for many months and described it as “humiliating” and “pretty tough”.

He said: “We need to get back to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity - that means this season.”

Mr McNally, who was re-elected to the board by fans tonight - with just one dissenting hand - was speaking after chairman Alan Bowkett had outlined the club’s financial situation.

The club’s revenue rose from £78.7m in 2012-13 to £95.5m in 2013 -14 despite relegation.

Mr Bowkett said the club, which has no external debt, made a £6.7m profit despite relegation from the Premier League - something which was achieved after players failed to get bonuses for staying up.

The meeting heard that Mr McNally insisted all members of the squad had a clause in their contract where they would receive 40pc less money in the Championship than they would in the Premier League.

Mr Bowkett said the club’s income will drop from £95.5m to £51.3m as a result of relegation from the Premier League.

And despite parachute payments the club will receive they will have to play with £40m less money.

He said: “The future financially is not rosy, but manageable.”

He added the club’s prudence in terms of how the business is managed will, come what May, mean the club will not enter into the financial difficulties of six to seven years ago.

Mr Bowkett said he felt they had let the supporters down having been relegated last season but believed they could still get promoted automatically this season.

Earlier members of the club’s board were forced to defend the role of Stephen Fry - who was absent from the meeting because he was “filming”.

When asked what he did as a director at the club, Mr McNally said: “First and foremost he’s a fan. It’s unfortunate he travels as much as he does but that doesn’t stop him from helping Norwich City Football Club in any shape or form he can.”

Mr McNally said he had helped the club commercially in terms of helping the club’s continuing partnership with Aviva.

He said his 8m Twitter followers gave the club a reach that surpassed even the country’s biggest selling newspaper, The Sun, which has about 3m readers each day.

Mr McNally said Mr Fry, who was re-appointed to the board despite a smattering of dissenters, was “best placed of any of us to provide some real reach and real support.”

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