David McNally interview: the key quotes

If you missed our David McNally podcast, here are some of the key points and quotes, including: Alex Neil’s future, exclusive news about a major ugrade of the training facilities at Colney, his thoughts on ticket prices, the Carrow Road atmosphere and much more

Jon Rogers and Dan Brigham spent 50 minutes with David McNally last Thursday for The Little Yellow Bird Podcast and covered a wide range of topics, so this is only a sample of what we talked about.

If you haven’t listened to our interview yet, you can find it right here. A big thank you to everyone who listened and pushed it into the top 10 of the iTunes podcast chart last week!

David McNally on… COLNEY BEING AN ISSUE FOR PLAYER RECRUITMENT
“We need to develop Colney to being the best possible training facility of its kind. Best in class, world-leading, a place where elite athletes look at and think, ‘wow’… So when we are bringing in a potential new player to the squad and they’re looking around the facilities – and bear in mind they come to this fantastic old ground once every fortnight when they’re here, but they actually live and work at Colney.

So all their week is spent at Colney, so Colney is really important. So Colney needs to do two things for me when we fully develop it. When a prospective new recruit, or indeed an existing player walks in, or goes through the driveway, they say, ‘wow’. They say, wow, this is a fantastic football facility. And then when they go into the buildings and into the dressing rooms and they go into all of the other facilities, there’s everything that we need here for a Premier League, world-class footballer.”

David McNally on … WHEN THE COLNEY UPGRADE STARTS
“We start this summer and we’ve got a full-sized 3G floodlit state-of-the art new artificial pitch going in to complement the beautiful Desso replica [of the Carrow Road pitch]… so we’re going to do another one of those so there will be two plus the artificial pitch.

We’re going to relay the dome, so that’ll be a quite significant amount of expenditure. We’re then going to have to develop the Academy pitches because they are clearly not at the Premier League standard yet. And then the infrastructure behind the buildings – hydration pools, gymnasiums, sport science labs, medical labs, the physic rooms, relaxation rooms.”

David McNally on … MISSING OUT ON TRANSFER TARGETS IN THE SUMMER
“Two or three that hit the post because of matters out of our control. There was a centre-half coming from Italy who was coming here and who wanted to join us and we’d agreed the fee with his club, we’d agreed everything with the agent but the deal depended on them signing their replacement, and that didn’t happen. And we had three of those happen in the last week [of the summer transfer window]. “

David McNally on … TICKET PRICES
“The average price paid for a seat here, taking into account causals, is £24.91 VAT, which nets out at £20.70-odd I think. Now I don’t that is overcharging people in the Premier League in 2016… I think our ticking pricing and strategy is OK.

I think we’ve got a real challenge here in attracting younger supporters, because they’ve been starved since we’ve had season-ticket waiting lists and not the ability to sell to younger fans, so I think that’s a real issue for us.

One of the meetings we had earlier today was talking about that group, who I feel really sorry for, people between 18 and 21… because it’s a tricky one because often you’ve had your ticket paid for by parents or guardians and then you’re at work or you’re at college and they say it’s over to you. So we’re going to look at casual pricing for 18-21 year-olds. I can’t promise any brand-new scheme but we are going to have a look at it because we do understand that that’s a challenge.”

David McNally on … ATMOSPHERE AT CARROW ROAD
“I think everybody accepts that we would all like it to be better at Carrow Road. It’s certainly been a lot better in other seasons, and so I don’t have the answer. I know the fans often will need the players to do something so that they can bounce off them and vice versa.

It’s interesting because, you know, we’re not bringing back clap-banners and the like, but Leicester City’s introduced clap-banners and they have them every game now. The problem is with any kind of gimmick, and those are a little bit gimmicky, is that if you’re doing well then they are the reason for you doing well, if you lose a game they’re the reason that you’ve lost the game.”

David McNally on … FIFA
“I’d scrap FIFA and start again. I think FIFA is a busted flush. If it reforms in a similar guise to the previous one I think in my lifetime it won’t ever have any credibility. So I’d start off with a different international body. Now, you’ll wait a long time for that to happen, that’s not going to happen.

But if there was one thing I’d change internationally I’d get rid of FIFA and all of the mess and all of the bad noise and all of the bad news that’s associated with that ugly organisation. I’d start afresh with a different international body. And then, do you know what, you’d end up with better FAs around the world, including our own.”

David McNally on … WHAT HE LOOKED FOR WHEN RECRUITING ALEX NEIL
“When we’re looking at employing anybody I always look at four things. Knowledge – knowing what to do. Skill – knowing how to do it. Experience – have they got the right level of experience that you need. And the fourth thing is attitude, which is what are they like to work with, what kind of person are they. The attitude is probably, for me, if you were to say which is the most important, that one is, providing you’ve got ticks in the box on the other three.

And I wanted somebody who was really hungry, somebody that could coach; but most importantly I needed somebody that was a true leader, who could galvanise a group of 25 young men to promotion, and somebody who had terrific man-management skills."

David McNally on … CHOOSING ALEX NEIL
“We started with a database of 450 [managers] that had been monitored … There was a really strong shortlist that we looked at, which we then debated the merits of. For me, Alex was the standout character, and he was a unanimous choice by the whole of the board. I heard some kind of, sort of mischievous tittle-tattle saying that some of the board hadn’t supported his appointment, I promise you 100% of the board were fully behind Alex Neil.”

David McNally on … WHETHER ALEX NEIL WILL BE MANAGER AT THE END OF THE SEASON EVEN IF WE’RE RELEGATED
“Well, genuinely, I don’t think we’ll get relegated. I think 17th or better, which was the aim at the start, will be achieved. So I think we’ve got enough about us to finish, I think we might finish 16th, 15th, 14th, who knows. So we’ve got enough about us. But he’s… Alex Neil is our manager, gosh. We’d want him to be our manager for a long, long, long, long time.”

David McNally on … WHAT HE WANTS HIS OWN LEGACY TO BE
“When I joined it was, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be part of a club that could go through the leagues to the Premier League. And we did that, didn’t we. So, I’m not saying that was to do with me, of course it wasn’t. But to be part of that for all of us, supporters and fans and players and the people that work here, that was just a magical, magical experience.

And again, the other one that we’ve probably had a blip on, which was I’d like to be involved with Norwich City at a time when it has its longest continuous spell in the top division. Now, clearly, we’ve had to start again after two years ago, but that would still be a goal. And I would love, love, love, love, that when I’m in that rocking chair saying I used to work for a football club, I’d love that Carrow Road is 36,000-40,000 capacity, and Colney is the envy of our peer group clubs. I’d love that to be a legacy.”

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