So, season one under the Stuart Webber/Daniel Farke alliance is over and change there has been aplenty. On field observations are abundant, but I am intrigued by how the off-field transformation is taking place. This is a Webber/Stone partnership and as important to the future of the club as anything that happens on the field. Norwich City is a case study in the making – albeit no-one knows quite yet what the outcome may be.
Football is a business. It exists to entertain, without which the incredible wealth does not follow. This entertainment takes many forms and thus it is vital to ensure that fans feel that value for money is achieved whatever the match day result. Of course, positive results spread goodwill, but you need only look at many top clubs to detect an under current of discontent if the “package” falls short.
We are twelve months into the Norwich experiment and there is much to applaud; there is a vision and a determination not seen for many years. Many difficult decisions are being taken, long term plans enacted, and changes incorporated however there are several “easy wins” which are slipping through the net.
Having visited many grounds around the country I try to take something from each and consider how that could benefit my beloved Canaries. For me we rank low in terms of the whole match day experience. Too little time is spent on engendering an atmosphere and environment which encourages spend on match day.
A prime example is food and drink.
We are blessed with having Delia as our figurehead. Few clubs can boast someone of such universal recognition, but do we exploit that for the benefit of the club? In my opinion – no. The catering at Norwich City should outshine every other team in the country – but it does not. From the insipid pies and drinks in the sad excuse for vending outlets in the stands to the corporate hospitality enjoyed in the various lounges we fall short of even average fare.
I fully understand the dynamics of restaurant and food sales and am not privy to the catering profit made by the club, but I am sure that it could be greatly enhanced with some simple changes. Many fans no longer bother to eat or drink at the stadium.
This is an area where some minor changes could reap rich rewards as well as making sure that as much “match day spend” sticks within Carrow Road as possible. Everything on this side of the business appears to be a continual cost cutting exercise which has resulted in a spiral of decline and customers voting with their wallet.
We are blessed with a cornucopia of produce and producers in Norfolk which should be starring off the field at NCFC. This would engender pride, enhance loyalty and increase spend – the perfect triangle. Invest in staff who can pull a pint or open a bottle and sales will increase. Provide some form of entertainment and people will come to the ground earlier. Offer something afterwards and at least some will stick around long enough for the traffic to subside.
I am a fan of the Webber/Stone partnership from what I have seen so far but have these generals got the command structure in place which matches their commitment and will provide the support that they need? In some cases, yes – in other (admittedly lower ranking issues) not yet.