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Michael Bailey: The media, the vision and the deterioration that saw Jez Moxey’s brief reign as Norwich City chief executive unceremoniously severed – leaving the real answers still to come

Norwich City chief executive Jez Moxey laughs and waves to the home fans, as they give him abuse on his return to Wolves. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City chief executive Jez Moxey laughs and waves to the home fans, as they give him abuse on his return to Wolves. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

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“I want to be here for a significant time. Significant enough for it to be potentially my last club role in English football. I believe in staying in post for good periods of time and if I do that, then that will be a signal we’ve made good progress here at Norwich as well.”

“I want to be here for a significant time. Significant enough for it to be potentially my last club role in English football. I believe in staying in post for good periods of time and if I do that, then that will be a signal we’ve made good progress here at Norwich as well.”

Even after 13 months that have pushed Norwich City from pillar to post, last week’s departure of Jex Moxey was a defining moment.

That quote came from the man himself, not on his appointment to the job back in August after a reasonably long search by headhunters promising the perfect fit to step into David McNally’s sizeable shoes – but a little-covered interview with football industry magazine FC Business, published last month .

It’s worth noting the footer on one of the pages says November – suggesting the actual interview may have taken place months beforehand.

However it manifested, the interview only emphasises how quickly things deteriorated from Moxey’s apparent excitement, to officially resigning – with a significant push through the door.

“There’s a charm to the place that you only really discover once you’re here,” continued Moxey. “The relationship I have with the owners, how we share the same vision about what this club is and should be, means I’m in the right place to make the most of my experience. I feel very positive about that.

“The first thing you need to accept when coming into a club like this is that you can’t change everything and you need to implement change at a pace that’s culturally sensible. I’ve seen lots of clubs try and make dramatic changes at equally dramatic pace. I’ve learnt there’s a high chance of things not working if you adopt that approach. Whilst I am prepared to take calculated risks – we must win football matches – I’m not interested in doing business in an irresponsible manner. We are custodians of great sporting institutions that should never be put in jeopardy.

“I want our great staff to develop knowledge and a strong modern strategy that considers the short and long-term objectives. I want to build our strengths and develop them for the benefit of the club and the supporters for years to come.”

Those last few comments may raise a few eyebrows with people inside Carrow Road as well as outside, given Moxey’s brief tenure brought internal criticisms similar to those externally voiced.

As for the media, he was a little more honest and arguably more prophetic – in the words of the unbylined piece, Moxey “appreciates facts about the football industry” and “isn’t swayed by populist agendas”.

“It’s very much hand in glove with the pressure of delivering success because of the role of the media,” added Moxey. “Supporters have a lot of access to people who run clubs, far more than those that run organisations of similar social importance, so by definition we’ve become more high profile.

“I say the media attention is an occupational hazard of the job. I find it somewhat uncomfortable and whilst you have to talk to the press and media, I think it’s reached a level that doesn’t have much to do with what it should all be about. I think it should be more about players, not CEOs.”

In terms of how I found dealing with Moxey – again, all too briefly – that last sentiment probably says all you need to know.

Following the Canaries’ AGM, I remember distinctly my first question: How he felt things had gone, given he’d obviously done plenty of them in the past during 16 years at Wolves and other clubs? His answer with a beaming smile: “Well the previous ones I’ve been at, there’s been one man who’s owned 100pc – so they’ve been quite placid in comparison!”

I appreciate this is looking backwards and there’s no denying an improved mood between fans and even around some parts of the club has existed since last Friday – for numerous reasons.

Where City opt to go from here has everyone waiting, including acting CEO Steve Stone. Any decisive action deserves respect – but it doesn’t answer plenty of questions previously asked of the board. There was no Moxey involvement in Delia and Michael’s interview to The Times.

What happens next will arguably say far more than what was announced within days of the January transfer window closing.

Meanwhile, the piece in FC Business signed off saying the impact Moxey wants to make is “exciting for fans and perhaps more interestingly, those of us that see a different way of competing and a different conclusion as to what success actually looks like.”

That would be one way of putting it.

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14 comments

  • Agree with The Two Trevors' overview. Not so sure about Adams, though. I see Warburton has parted company with Rangers...

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, February 11, 2017

  • Yes this football club is at a stagnant state since Delia Smith got the club out of debt and she and her husband run this club ,don't matter who's or what a high profile person is appointed to the board they will have no say on how the club is run why have a board . And the club will stay that way until Delia and her husband are gone from this club, but one thing is certain one day Delia Smith and her husband will be gone from Norwich ,but where this club will be by than is a big concern either a stagnant championship club going nowhere or in a lower division.

    Report this comment

    City M

    Saturday, February 11, 2017

  • I am afraid to say ladies and gentlemen that you can bring into the club whoever you like, to do whatever you like. However, nothing will change until Mrs Smith and hubby have gone; because they are in TOTAL control of the goings on. I am convinced that everyone on the BOD are puppets of the Smiths. You could bring in Harry Rednap, Alex Ferguson and all the board of Barcelona and nothing would change because they would not be given free reign to do anything.

    Report this comment

    brereton

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • TS, managing a first team alone is a big enough job but to also make a sensible input to the numerous teams below that must mean there are too few hours in the day for most managers. Then to compound that situation, many managers only last a couple of seasons at best before the are replaced. A director of football could bring some continuity to the whole process but does not necessarily need to have the power to over-ride the current managers authority, he could however, take a fair amount of the work load away, which I suspect most managers do not really want in the first place.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Yep, TK: there is much to commend the idea of having a CEO focussed on the business of running the club and a football director whose responsibility would be go deal with all aspects of the sporting side. However given the way the club is run and based on past experience, I doubt we will see anything that remotely resembles a new dynamic. The club desperately needs visionary leadership to take advantage of its unique geographic location, with no competition from any other major sport let alone football. It is just not there. If Delia and her husband really harbour the best interests of the club and its future, they ought to be looking to broaden the base of the Board, bringing in proven footballing and business persons. I fear there is no desire or ambition to do so. If they do not intend to sell the club then fine. But that is no excuse for letting it stagnate. I am sure they would deny this but as they make no public pronouncements of any note we will never know and can only draw our own conclusions based on what we see.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Although I did not know or see enough of Moxey to be positive or negative, I am very concerned about two CEOs plus other directors resigning so quickly. I do wonder whether Moxey's hands were tied far more than McNally's by Delia when he came in? Maybe she was able to control Moxey far more, which is why we never heard anything from him - he was unable to support DS, but not allowed to disagree with her, so he said nothing? I believe how this position is filled will tell us a lot about the direction this club will be going.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • No need to get McNally back.He was making sweeping changes before he left that were not going down too well,apparently.I suspect that Steve Stone will be appointed and a possible rethink towards a director of football,although to be fair I am not sure how that works.Surely a manager stands or falls on his coaching and playing methods.To be told how it needs to be done would surely undermine their authority.

    Report this comment

    Trevor Sadd

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Dear Fat Controller, You didn't listen to the Wolves supporters or Norwich. Try a communication skills course before you take up your next role!

    Report this comment

    dave123

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Time to swallow pride and get McNally back???????

    Report this comment

    blackdog2

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Totally agree with you Trevor Sadd. Moxeygate is not at the forefront of my mind either. Lets face it, he is not the first man to change jobs quickly for a variety of reasons. One line above suggests there was a push from within but is there anything to substantiate that, if so I have not read or heard of it anywhere. He did not impress many fans with his lack of interaction and thus most are glad to see the back of him. From a personal perspective, I would like to see the job split into a lower profile CEO to simply run the business side of things and a director of football, who should give guidance to the manager on how the board and fans wish to see their team play the Norwich way and to develop a medium to long term plan for the club such that once the current manager moves on. I have even suggested that Neil Adams could fit that profile as he has a good understanding of football and an in depth knowledge of NCFC. These two posts could easily be filled without increasing the overall wages bill I suspect.

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Having read it I am none the wiser.Just seems like a non article.In fact I am not the least bit interested to know the inner workings of Moxeys mind.The only thing that would interest me about the man is the reasons behind his resignation and the chances of that happening are pretty remote.In terms of PR he definately wasn't going to fill his predecessors boots.I'm led to believe that McNally was not a particularly popular person down at Carrow Road but at least he seemed to communicate well with the press and the supporters. Moxey has gone lets move on

    Report this comment

    Trevor Sadd

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • Being a fans with millions is one thing but you need the no how to run a football club that's what they don't have or ever will . And the board that was put together also didn't no how to run a football club either just small local business men who goal in life is to make money . And that's why this club have had so many failures in the premiership they should have brought someone to this club with the experience in running a football club from the top down to apointing a top managerial team ,down to the bottom .

    Report this comment

    City M

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • And what happened to Moxey did he also find out that he couldn't work with Delia Smith and her husband , there has now been two chairmans and now two chief executive that have also resigned and and a pair of investor's who only stay less than a year before they with drawn their investment, who's going to be next to leave this clubs board. The club will be run the same old way with no ambition no structure no desire and no leadership, until Delia and her Husband are both gone along with the rest of the board. The owners must be replaced before this club can move on and forwards instead of failures with new ownership.

    Report this comment

    City M

    Friday, February 10, 2017

  • We should have won that match but as usually Neil comes out with the same old same old excuses he must have made a list of excuses .But as for the constant silence from theses owners . Just like the plans Delia and her previous chairman told us establish city as a premiership club then rebuild the main stand for the awaiting supporters of that are waiting for season tickets. One thing proves they have no clue how to run a football club they missed a golden opportunity to make the south stand two tier when they started the building work back then would have solved some of ,the seating requirement s.

    Report this comment

    City M

    Friday, February 10, 2017

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