Time for a Cullum column. Let's start with some questions for the man who wants to buy our club.
Peter Cullum is the joint 40th richest bloke in Britain and a bit of a philanthropist. He's a former Norwich Boys player and a Carrow Road box holder. He wants to give us ?20 million “for players”.
Blimey, seems too good to be true. Perhaps it is. Let's ask those questions.
Firstly: Why did Cullum make his move when City were at their lowest ebb for 40 years? His initial approach was during the dark days after that shocking defeat at Queen's Park Rangers on 8 October. Peter Grant had walked the plank. The team was stocked with losers. Relegation to League One looked a nailed on certainty. Why bid then?
Leaving aside the worrying suggestion that Cullum completely disregarded a confidentiality agreement by spinning his side of the story to the local paper, let's look at what he said about the timing.
He said that he was prompted by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke and that “My main motivation ? was survival. The idea of Norwich going down to League One was horrific.”
But there have been a plethora of occasions in the recent past when an extremely wealthy Canaries supporter might have considered “investing” in the club.
Cullum started Towergate insurance in 1997, when Robert Chase had been chased away from Carrow Road leaving the club with debts of ?7 million and unable to pay the wages.
Cullum had not made many of his millions at that point, so he can be excused for not helping. Instead, City asked Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones to save them and Cullum was left to get on with turning his small fortune into a large one.
But why didn't he offer to “invest” at some point between his becoming very, very rich and City becoming a very, very poor team? Why, for instance, didn't he offer to stump up after the calamitous crash of ITV Digital? Or when City were pushing for a play-off place in 2001?
Why not in 2003, when City were wondering how to finance the purchase of Darren Huckerby? Or the summer of 2004, when the club needed money to build a team for the Premiership?
Why not during the season in the top division, when City were straining to stay there? Or the following Christmas, when they were striving to get back into the Premiership?
Delia and Michael have always said they would always listen to offers. Why wait until the club was at the perilous nadir last October before making one?
A cynic might wonder whether Cullum thought he could buy City for a knock-down, panic price.
Question Two: What were the terms of Cullum's proposal? This query is prompted by my unease when I read that he wanted to make two, staged payments. He proffered ?5 million in October to buy “three or four players” to avoid relegation. There would be another ?15 million this season to push for promotion. Why structure the payments like that?
The only conclusion I can draw is that the ?5 million was a conditional offer, only to be followed by the ?15 million if certain things happened.
We know that, ludicrously, Cullum wanted control of the club for his initial ?5 million. We know he wanted his own people on the board. But we don't know what would have happened if, despite the ?5 million, City had still been relegated.
The jam-tomorrow offer of another ?15 million was for a Championship club. So would he have expected to pay substantially less for a League One side? Or would he have walked away and demanded his ?5 million back?
Faced with precipitously lower income in League One, the prospect of financing existing debts and paying back Cullum would have been catastrophic.
Question Three: Why ?20 million? It is nowhere near enough.
The club's board say that ?56 million is a more realistic price. Former director Barry Skipper, came up with a figure of ?5 million. But Skipper's calculations were based on Cullum only buying a third of the club and not repaying any of the existing loans and debts: such a fanciful scenario that you wonder whether it was a mite mischievous.
What should be abundantly apparent, even to the innumerate, is that if Cullum really wanted to make ?20 million available for players, he'd have to find a substantial additional sum to buy control of the club.
Question Four: What were Cullum's plans for future funding?
Let's assume, risible and implausible though it is, that the chap had put in his ?20 million “for players” and been given the club by the existing shareholders. Let's also assume that the new players won promotion to the Premiership. Then what?
Cullum said: “Once you get to the Premiership you start to get serious money and have a chance of staying up if you spend the money wisely.” So his strategy was identical to that of the current board. In the Premiership, Norwich would try to live within their means and hope that was sufficient.
As City discovered in 2004-05, that is a very difficult trick. It was beyond Derby and Birmingham last season. It was too difficult for Watford and Sheffield United the previous season. Reading lasted two years. The litany goes on.
So what would Cullum have done if, after one or two seasons in the Premiership, City had followed the trend and slipped back down into the Football League?
That is the time when managers get sacked, boards come under pressure, and fans squabble among themselves. We know. We've been there.
We're still there.
So would Cullum have stumped up another ?10 million or so to turn things around again? And then another ?10 million a bit later? And then another?
At Wolves, Jack Hayward lasted 17 years and got through ?60 million before giving up and selling up. Wolves had one season in the Premiership during his extravagant indulgence. I interviewed him once. He said: “Football eats money. There's never enough.”
You see, Cullum's strategy ? contribute ?20 million and then sit back ? is naive and simplistic and would only make sense to someone with no experience of football.
Of course, I am biased. You all know where I stand on matters concerning Norwich City: I stand behind Delia and Michael; not because I am part of some self-serving cadre, but because I care about City and know how much they do.
I have looked into Michael's eyes after defeats and seen the hurt. I have heard him propose toasts to “The best football club in the world…”
I have listened to Delia agonising about what best to do for the fans, for the club and for football. I have seen the energy and enterprise she has used to transform the fabric and ethos at Carrow Road.
I stand behind Smith and Jones because, after 30 years as a football writer and broadcaster, I am able to put their efforts and achievements into the context of what has happened at other clubs and what has been done by other people.
And I do so because once, during another episode in which the board were under heavy fire, I asked her if she was all right. She said she was because, when she went to bed at night, she knew in her heart that she and her husband had done as much as they possibly could to do right by Norwich City FC.
So I know, without a scintilla of doubt, that if Delia and Michael thought Cullum's offer stacked up and was genuinely in the best interests of Norwich City, then they would have bitten off his hand, and gone back to cheering from their season ticket seats.
So, really, I don't need to ask him any questions.