On the basis that the whole Peter Cullum issue is not going to go away, it might be worth bracing yourself for what could happen next.
Because once a suitable period for stewing is over, the next move by the Canaries' billionaire admirer might be to make a public offer for the 500,000-odd shares in circulation.
Spin it whichever way you will, but this is a battle for control of the football club. And that control only comes with an outright offer for all the shares; if you're Peter Cullum, you don't do third shares – 33% here, 33% there. That's not what the 'King Of Deals' is about.
To control Norwich City Football Club, he needs to control the 62% of shares currently owned by Delia Smith and her husband, Michael Wynn Jones.
And without going over too much old ground, by the laws of the land you can't make Delia an offer for her majority share-holding without making you an offer for yours.
Because there will be thousands of you out there who have taken full advantage of previous share issues; paid ?250 for ten NCFC shares. Or whatever the figures were – enough to say that your 'share-holding' in your favourite football club was more than just emotional.
You have a stake in that business; you have the right to attend and vote at the Annual General Meeting; likewise you now have the right and the opportunity to line your pockets with Cullum's cash just as much as the next man or woman. Or director. Or majority shareholder.
And this is where it gets interesting – and where you might like to sit down, in advance, and ponder what exactly you are going to do next.
So let's say you own 100 shares in Norwich City Football Club. And on the basis of the 'shopping list' that the club produced for Cullum last week and the proposal therein that he should pay the current share issue price of ?30 per share, then you're sitting on a little nest egg of ?3,000. Now it might offer little outright profit on the cash you invested in the first place, but – in every likelihood – it's three grand you hadn't banked on seeing ten days ago.
And in the current economic climate, ?3,000 is not exactly to be sniffed at.
That's a decent fortnight away; that's a 'new' second-hand car; that's the credit card bill halved.
Now clearly that ?30 per share is the club's starting position for negotiation; valued at ?16 million, the Smiths' 62% shareholding roughly equates to the ?9 million or so that they have put into the club over the last 12 years. Give or take the odd ?100,000.
That's how the club probably arrived at that figure; you want control, you give us the money we've put in; we walk away. We'll be sat in the City Stand if you need anything. Thus far, of course, as far as anyone has ever been aware, there has never been an official 'offer' from the Towergate end.
The promise of ?5 million to help buy some players to dig the Canaries out of trouble last autumn is one number that's been mentioned, but that apparently came at the price of enjoying complete control in the Carrow Road club; the figure for actually gaining the latter is what we're now embroiled in.
OK, so the 'King Of Deals' whistles up his usual front page on the Eastern Daily Press and never one to come out second best of a deal, he opens the bidding at ?10 a share. For control – and the promised ?20 million for Glenn's transfer funds.
The outstanding debt, the repayment of directors' loans, they can be rescheduled; re-negotiated. Well, probably. The big one – over and above that ?20 million you have publically ear-marked for player funds – is the price that you are prepared to pay per NCFC share.
So, Delia looks to recoup her ?9 million at ?30 a pop; Cullum offers ?10 a go – by my maths, that leaves her looking at a ?3 million return for the ?9 million invested.
It's all fag packet calculations; who knows how much the couple actually paid old Geoffrey Watling for his shares all those years ago.
But then the messagebord argument would run, she loves the Canaries; she should simply bequeath that ?6 million 'loss' to the Carrow Road coffers – and watch a real businessman go to work. Whether she will still be of a mind to put her heart and soul into fronting up the catering side of the business is another matter, but many will see a rejection of that ?10 offer as an example of stubborn greed.
That's the way it'll spin. The anger, the frustration and the resentment will mount. Just as Cullum's bank of PR advisors predict.
But drill it down to your level; do your own sums. That leaves you and your 100 shares ?2,000 down on the deal too.
Now, you love the Canaries. It's never been about the money; it's always been about the love for the club; for feeling part of a greater Canary family. Hasn't it?
Or will there be a little devil on your shoulder saying: 'The lad's got ?1.7 billion, what's another ?2,000 to him? He doesn't need my money…'
There might even be some who look at the untold riches on offer in the Premiership and think: 'Nah, tenner a time? He's having a laugh… Glenn gets a little run going, couple more decent kids and we're in the money… my share has got to be worth at least 30 notes…'
So at which point do you stand in line behind Delia and tell her to hold out for her idea of value; or is your urgency such that she needs to be told to sell now while we've got Britain's 40th richest man 'in play' and take that ?6 million 'hit' – just as you'll take your ?2,000 'loss' firmly on the chin. It's only money, after all.
And, for me, this is where Cullum needs to play a very careful game. Because as much as the prospect of a supporters rep on the board will have been music to the ears of many and while that ?1.7 billion fortune of a lad who once wore the treasured yellow shirt himself will have so, so many pulses racing, there is a point where people will think that you're getting them on the cheap too.
And that's a dangerous game. Everyone needs to come out of this smiling and feeling good about themselves; one winner and lots of losers is not what this whole process should deliver.
Leave a Reply