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My Heaven and My Hell in Norfolk: Norwich City Business Manager

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Posted:
7:00 a.m. on October 30, 2021



Update:
7:28 am October 30, 2021

Zoe Ward is the Commercial Director of Norwich City Football Club, alongside her husband, Sporting Director Stuart Webber. They are responsible for the day-to-day management of the football club. With a background in football regulation, she has over 20 years of experience in the football industry and has been responsible for the transfer of some of the biggest names in football. The football industry has been severely affected by Covid-19 and the club’s losses from the pandemic currently stand at around £ 30million. Here she is talking to Gina Long …

What is the impact of COVID-19 and how are you coping?

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the organization; we have had to constantly adapt and respond to changes in the landscapes in which we can operate. There has been the obvious impact of the absence of supporters in the stadium for more than a season, and a significant impact on our off-field income such as conferences, events and restaurants.

What is your connection to East Anglia?

Our connection to the region started in 2017 when we moved from Liverpool to Norwich to join the club. No matter where we may end up, there will always be a connection to the region, this is where our son grew up and where all of our earliest family memories are.


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What is your East Anglian paradise?

I love that you can drive 45 minutes to the coast and feel far away from it all, yet still have a town on your doorstep with so many restaurants, theaters, and shopping.

What is your East Anglian hell?

I hate trying to get north from the A47. Working in football means you travel a lot and there have been long and arduous car journeys on this stretch of road.

What is your favorite East Anglian monument?

It has to be Carrow Road, it’s not just about the stadium itself but the community it represents.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?

Run Norwich, which is run by the Club Foundation. It’s amazing how the whole city comes together and how many people it attracts to the area.

What is your favorite restaurant?

We have two restaurants at the stadium – Delia’s, a fine dining restaurant and Yellows, a grill bar. These are still my favorite places to eat. They are committed to producing great products and everything is made from scratch. The spice merchants in Thorpe are another must-see and a particular favorite for many of us at the club.

What is your Mastermind specialty?

Having a five year old son, it would have to be the Cars Movies – there aren’t many characters that I don’t know and I can probably recite most of the lines!

What’s always in your fridge?

Milk – and that’s it! As long as we can have a cup of Yorkshire tea, all is good in the world.

What is your philosophy of simple living?

Smile and the world will smile with you. Life is far too short to be negative.

what is your favorite movie?

It’s tricky because I always fall asleep and I never like to look at things more than once. If I choose something, it’s almost always based on a true story.

What was your first job?

My first full-time job after college was training as a tax accountant. It wasn’t long before I realized that it wasn’t for me and I quickly started working in football.

What is your most precious possession?

I am not a huge fan of possessions. I have some amazing memories that I have acquired over the course of my career and I am sure I will one day remember and reflect on.

Who do you admire the most?

My husband is the most exceptional human being, incredibly motivated and innately kind.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

I am committed to the well-being and the well-being and it should therefore be a small sauna cabin in the garden.

What do you like most about yourself?

How I love giving people the opportunity to grow and develop.

What’s your worst trait?

I don’t let people talk enough – I need to listen more.

What is your favorite vacation destination?

We recently returned from Corfu and had a lovely family vacation there. We love the mix of city and beach in Barcelona and really love spending time on the North Norfolk coast.

The best day of your life?

I can’t choose one… I really treasure the simple days.

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I should go for poached eggs with avocado on sourdough toast.

What is your favourite drink ?

I rarely drink these days, but if I do, it would be a gin and tonic.

What is your hidden talent?

Make desserts – apparently I make a good one!

What is your first memory?

My first memory is sitting around the television watching Charles and Diana’s royal wedding. Now this has definitely aged me!

Tell us something that people don’t know about you?

I am passionate about young people reaching their potential and it starts at a young age with children who understand the importance of good nutrition, sleep and movement. We are in the process of setting up a charitable foundation to help fund programs and provide grants to support this work.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever been told?

A former MD I worked with told me I was too ambitious and wanted things to happen too fast. I knew right away that this was not the right cultural environment for me when it was expressed as a criticism. Fortunately, I now work in an environment where we are encouraged to grow daily and to make things happen.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?

Work has brought us here, but we love it and it will always be our home. It’s a place to come to immediately, the county has everything you need and we are very fortunate to live here. I don’t know why you would want to live elsewhere.

What do you want to tell our readers the most?

Thinking beyond football in Norwich City. The club has so much to offer in terms of events, restaurants, community programs and concerts. It truly is a place for everyone and offers a tremendous sense of community that is so often lost these days. For more information, see www.canaries.co.uk


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