Norwich City FC – The Canaries continue to fly off the field

Norwich City currently sit at the bottom of the English Premier League table after winning only three games this season. Whilst their team hasn’t particularly impressed on the park in the world’s most popular league, a change in ideas off-the park well over a year ago is being associated with their rise back to the top division of English Football.

Adopting a shared leadership management structure, three people were left in charge of making decisions at the top table. Chief Operating Officer Ben Kensell believes this type of approach has encouraged innovation throughout the club when it came to dealing with the industry, the fans, the community and its staff.

“There is Stuart Webber, who deals with the footballing side, myself handling the non-football sides of the business, such as all commercial areas, finance, operations and Zoe Ward who is very much the glue in between the two areas driving behaviours and culture on both sites whilst managing support services such as Legal, HR and our fantastic community work,” he told FC Business.

“We are all experts in our fields but we communicate and run the business as a three and as a collective and that means you can be across everything and we can focus key objectives across all areas to really drive results and what’s best for the club as a whole.”

Owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones are adamant the club must look after itself financially, which brings about an element of self-pride according to Kensell.

“We are immensely proud to be a self-financed club, as are our fans,” he claimed.

“Delia & Michael lead by example and they are brilliant owners of this great club, we do it our way and we want to be the best we can be in everything we do. Being self-financed certainly sharpens your focus. We know how much responsibility we have to get it right and that means we take responsibility for every bit of the detail because your margins for error are very small. Our attention to detail for each other’s business needs comes from the knowledge we have little wiggle room and we have to get things right. Across all areas of the club we look for continuous improvement and from top down we are all hungry and committed to be the best we can be for Norwich City and its fans.”

But the structure seems to be providing the club with several commercial benefits, aside from the clear achievement of reaching the English Premier League.

“Our commercial revenue in partnerships has doubled. Our club-controlled income of £33 million plus has grown and we have seen good growth in retail and memberships after overhauling previous structures and we are sold out home and away for the majority of our games thanks to the phenomenal support of the fans. We are maximising every opportunity we have to work in an innovative way with partners and its certainly paying off.

“We have made a seven-figure investment in our new training facility and secured a lucrative long-term sponsorship with Lotus cars taking the naming rights of the training centre and academy. That’s on top of money that the Norwich City fans themselves have invested through the Canary bond, which we facilitated.

“We have improved fan experiences around the ground and in the city centre with our new Fan Hub. And in all that time we have worked to make sure Stuart [Webber] and Daniel [Farke] have the budget they need and the player development structure they desire to take this club forward on the pitch.”

Whilst various changes have been made it is still extremely important to communicate efficiently with fans, to get them back onside. This was a core focus for Ben, Zoe and Stuart once the executive committee was created at Norwich.

“We have firm short, medium and long-term plans in place whatever happens on the pitch. We are in a financially sound position but just as important is that our fans and everyone in our community understand the decisions we are making and buy into it.

“That’s why we work hard on our fan engagement and broader communication. We try to involve the fans through clear and concise communication in every stage of our thinking about the future of this club, we want them to feel very much part of the plan and proud of doing it the Norwich City way. Sometimes people are not going to like what we plan to do, but we make sure they understand our reasons for that.”

Ben adds: “You rarely hear a Norwich fan call for us to get the cheque book out to make a big-money signing. That’s because they have bought into our sustainable plan of being self-financed. They know through previous experiences that breaking the bank can lead to tough times for the club they love and equally, they know from what we tell them we are not willing to play that lottery again, either. We are investing in the stadium and training ground because then we will have something to show for the monies the Premier League brings but we know it’s a balance in everything we do as we want to remain competitive.

“They also know we are spending money on the club infrastructure, whether that be improvements at Carrow Road or on fan engagement zones – it is clear what we are doing.”

As the Premier League does attract a global audience, Norwich have profited through deals with the Tampa Bay tourism board and Philippines-based Dafabet. However, the club promises to stick to their roots and do things the Norwich way.

“We have to build our commercial expansion plans carefully to ensure we stay true to our club values and ways of doing things. We are making a name for ourselves by doing things differently, we are growing and have impressive numbers to show from a club-controlled income perspective compared to our peer group clubs, but we can, and will, continue to grow whilst never losing sight of our doing it our way.”

A new Canaries Fan Hub in the centre of the city has recently opened, with fellow English Premier League sides interested in the development. Kensell is extremely satisfied with the progress of it so far as it promotes the club’s identity further, as well as being commercially rewarding.

“It’s been a massive success and a real game changer for us; you can purchase everything there from retail to tickets to special events. It’s a true one stop shop but more importantly is that it has loads of fans and kids just coming in and playing on our penalty shoot-out simulator or going on the iPads or taking part in some of the cool experiences within the Hub.

“People come in to just watch the exclusive content whether it be interviews, highlights of the game, training across our giant screen or playing on the PlayStations. We have seen turnover rocket since it was launched in August and I am delighted with the performance of it in every aspect.”

With room for growth and plans to expand Carrow Road on the agenda, Norwich City FC are in a good place to continue to thrive.

Avatar
Philip Panas is a sports journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy and industry matters, drawing on his knowledge and passion of the game.

How CTN recovery technologies enable longevity in careers

CTN are a Finnish-based technology company dedicated to providing cutting-edge devices that assist in optimal recovery.

The importance of recovery across the lives of athletes, professional, semi-professional and amateur sport participants is at the forefront of the Finnish outfits’ ideologies.

The link between completing a recovery routine and long-term health is often overlooked. As the specialists in (cold) cryotherapy devices, CRT are looking to bridge the gap between the two aspects; Making recovery more convenient and effective for people across the globe.

Developments in the advancement of their current technology are compounded by the creation of new devices. The sole mission of the company is to ultimately promote recovery efficiency while improving the well-being of its users, all from the comfort of their own home through a vast number of alternating recovery devices.

The devices have many uses. Not only used as a form of pain relief, but can be used as a form of prevention for injuries, reduction of stress, prevention of illness, and to slow the human ageing process.

As the official partner of the Finnish Olympic Committee, the company is active in multiple professional sports and physical activity body’s around the globe – none more involved than the global phenomenon of football.

CTN’s headquarters.

Footballers of today’s current generation are under enormous physical endurance pressures. In 2020, a determined and willing 18-year-old by the name of Pedri, within his maiden season with Barcelona, had played 75 games of football for both the Catalonian based outfit, and the Spanish national team. It was an effort in which was mirrored by Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes, who amassed 74 games.

With the installation of new tournaments and competitions on both a domestic and international scale, the athletic performance of a footballer has never been more crucial.

The workload involved in playing at the highest level without recovery could simply not occur.

The embodiment of this is showcased through current Chelsea FC defender and Brazilian legend Thiago Silva, who partnered with CTR in 2023.

The 39-year-old centre back is well and truly in the twilight stages of his decorated playing career. Working in conjunction with CTR as a promoter of the technology company, he is an avid user of several high-quality devices all from the comfort of his own home.

For magnetic muscle stimulation, the X-Tone device is applied to muscles in need of repair. This occurs after they’ve been used to their highest capacity.

Muscle strength and endurance is achieved through the X-TONE’s non-invasive yet effective magnetic muscle stimulation.

Development of the muscle is fast tracked through immense stimulation, stimulating the targeted muscle area with over 20,000 contractions over a 30 minute session.

There are a vast variety of benefits for athletes found in exposing the body to artic like cold temperatures in small bursts.

The reduction of inflammation, pain relief and improvement of circulation, alongside sustaining mental sharpness are just some of the many benefits found in cryotherapy.

Cryotherapy in the form of ice baths have been a focal point of athletic recovery for generations.

Through this new exciting innovation, gone are the days where athletes have to hobble to the shops to purchase ice bags to use in the shallow bath hub at home, as their ‘ice bath’.

With an understated acknowledgment of the current peak physical condition required for footballers to fulfil their playing obligations, it has reached high capacity. Devices crafted by a company dedicated to an athlete’s recovery are frankly commodities which must be utilised by those who wish to participate at their optimal athletic level.

CTN devices are evidently fundamental for a players recovery and longevity. It was no surprise to find that consummate professional Thiago Silva uses the Finnish company’s products.

Nearing 40 yet being physically able to play on a weekly basis in arguably the best league in the world, is a feat not achieved without having proven variables surrounding the player.

Going forward, are we going to see more players within the Thiago Silva plethora by extending their careers through the use of advanced recovery technology?

Eyeball: Changing the foundation of scouting

The very foundation of scouting has changed forever. 

Eyeball is an Artificial intelligence (AI) powered product designed to assist footballing entities in scouting the potential football athletes from various countries around the world.

With over 100,000 players within the technologies database all comprised of youth players, football clubs across the globe are raising their eyebrows as to what this brilliant technology can provide.

The system acts as a football scout. Remotely and in the convenience of a smartphone device, the search and evaluation of performance capacity of the players within its database can be compared to football’s finest players. The service prides itself on optimising academy recruitment, without a club worrying about the financial difficulties involved in travel or acquisition of scouting personnel.

The contemporary scouting platform has an established and researched insight database, all gathered from the youth academies of Europe’s leading football giants.

European markets including the footballing nations of Spain, England, Germany, Holland, Belgium, and Croatia are also joined by the African markets of Ghana, Mali, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone. These are the markets in which Eyeball operate within, acting as the ever growing customer base of their elite scouting technology.

Youth scouting is strenuous. Professional clubs who are struggling within their respective leagues due to being less financially opportunistic, are already on the back-foot. With its locality and lack of scouting network, the fundamental exercise in terms of growing a club and its talent pool, becomes surplus. The purpose of Eyeball and its technology is to make the scouting process simple yet effective, as it has essentially modernised the process, bridging the gap between potential players and professional clubs.

Determined to enhance its science, searchable player data is a primary focus of Eyeball in which they seek to further improve. This is through the analysation of video data from talented players throughout the globe, combatted with the collection of a prospects data.



The data collected is imperative. Driven by 13 statistical parameters, it includes shots on target, successful dribbles, incisive passes and passes in the final third – just to name a few.

The parameters collected can be searched by the club officials using the app, perhaps on the hunt for a player in whom possess specific qualities dependent on what the club requires on the pitch.

Summaries of key stats are compiled by AI based upon data collected from partner clubs that have detailed profiles upon talent within the database. The AI technology allows partnered clubs to put these prospects into AI generated match-simulations, allowing for the assessment of a players performance all through the use of Eyeball’s data breakdown technology.

The player app feature of Eyeball can be a considered a polarizing tool in which football participants can utilise in order to garner a tangible understanding of their ability. The player app allows players to access performance data from within the platform while also showcasing to the scouts using the technology, the ability in which the player possesses.

Games can be watched back by players, while Eyeball analyses the games and a breakdown of the performance. This allows players and coaches to make the necessary changes to a players training routine, showcasing the areas in which are in need of improvement.

It basically allows a player to sell themselves to scouts. Professional clubs are examining the profiles and the players are able to customize their profile, showcasing their greatest qualities in-match highlights. Matches can be watched back and analysed, as they are stored within Eyeball’s database.

Individuals can hunt for specific match moments, with a play-by-play game events feature dissecting every move a player makes throughout matches documented. Eyeball’s analysts watch each match closely, providing a breakdown of performance statistics. Players distribution performance, as well as their offensive and defensive performances are outlined.

Eyeball possesses the ambition of wanting to become a pioneer in bridging the gap between talented youth prodigies and becoming the next generational top tier of talent across the globe. All through the inclusive access of insight and data performance surveyed and interpreted through its system.

Over 100 professional clubs are using the Eyeball technology, with the company making major waves in regards to the foundation in which scouting is exercised. Perhaps it would be in the interest of Australia professional clubs to also utilise this ground-breaking technology for their benefit.  

Most Popular Topics

Editor Picks

Send this to a friend