Canary chief excutive Neil Doncaster today used his regular, weekly column in the Eastern Daily Press to bolt some short-term re-assurance into everyone's thinking when he revealed that the club's majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michel Wynn Jones had pumped another ?2 million of their own money into the Norfolk club.
The Canaries revealed on Monday that one of the consequences of Andrew and Sharon Turner's dramatic exit was a ?1.5 million short-fall in the budgeted income for 2008-2009.
That particular hole remains – notwithstanding the Smiths' latest contributions to the Canary pot. Another ?2 million takes their total investment in the Championship football club over the last 12 years to around the ?11 million mark.
Once again the administrators have been kept far from the door as club officials look to hack back at on-going running costs and – come January – Glenn Roeder's transfer spending plans, whilst 'active' conversations continue with second, third and fourth parties re a potential takeover of the Championship club.
One of whom, inevitably, will be Towergate Insurance billionaire Peter Cullum.
But today's revelation that the success of Delia's 'How To Cheat At Cooking' book and TV series continues to underpin the financial stability of the Norfolk club offers something of a PR problem for the Kent-based billionaire.
For if the 'King Of Deals' remains intent on sticking to his original pledge of pumping ?20 million into Roeder's transfer kitty and, as a reward, taking control of the club for nothing, Delia and her husband Wynn Jones are, effectively, going to be expected to walk away from Carrow Road with an ?11 million loss to show for their 12 years of hard graft.
Originally understood to have put ?9 million into the club via various loans and share transactions that sees the pair enjoy a 61.2% majority shareholding, this week's top up of the coffers takes their commitment over and above the eight-figure mark.
And that remains the fundamental stumbling block to all the daily 'exclusive' Cullum and his ?20 million headlines – what, exactly, is he expecting to get for his ?20 million?
And if it is to be given control of Norwich City Football Club for nothing – for each and every Carrow Road shareholder, be it big or small, to give away their shares to the reported 40th richest man in Britain for diddly-squat – that remains a big, big ask. Of anyone.
For while Canary fans might reasonably dream of competing with the bigger boys of this division if Cullum and his ?20 million turned up on the banks of the Wensum, in the current economic climate many might also like to hope that a man with a ?1.7 billion fortune at his disposal might have a ?1,000 here and a ?1,500 there to spare for those committed City fans who have subscribed over the years to the club's various share offers.
Even if they are prepared to for-go their return for the prospect of seeing P Cullum's name above the door of 'Yellows', asking anyone to kiss good-bye to ?11 million is an interesting one; likewise the Turners – their own ambitions of owning the Norfolk club presumeably thwarted by the Towergate clan – might like their outstanding ?2.5 million loan back. Indeed, they might be legally guaranteed it should the Canaries either secure promotion to the Premiership or be the subject of a full takeover.
Suddenly Cullum's magic ?20 million becomes ?17.5 million; becomes nearer ?5 million if Delia and her husband are allowed to return to their season ticket seats in the City Stand having merely taken out the money that they have put in.
Were their suitor someone with, say, a mere ?50 million to their name – a fellow 'poor millionaire' – then, perhaps, the argument might be different; people might be more willing to compromise.
You sit there with ?1.7 billion to your Sunday Times Rich List name and the first of many expectations that will follow Cullum's potential arrival in Norfolk will be that he sees everyone 'right' by his takeover. That the 'King Of Deals' works – to some extent – by Carrow Road's rules, not Wall Street's. Those he reserves for the first time he meets Antoine Sibierski's agent, Willie Mackay, in a smoke-filled room an hour before midnight.
“The future is far from bleak,” Doncaster wrote in his weekly column today, after a week in which events at Eastlands, St James Park and Upton Park merely confirmed what a billionaire's play-ground the Premiership is becoming. With all the pleasures and pitfalls that can bring to the old – and dying – football order.
“The immediate future at Carrow Road may not involve the likes of Robinho or Dimitar Berbatov,” said Doncaster, following that pair's ?30 million plus moves to either half of Manchester this week.
“But with Delia and Michael now committing a further ?2 million of their own personal funds to the club, the future is far from bleak.
“Norwich City remains a proud, robust, family football club with majority shareholders who are happy to use their personal wealth to support the ambitions of Glenn Roeder, his squad and the phalanx of committed, loyal supporters who regularly cram into Carrow Road.”
What is equally telling is the way in which Doncaster confirmed Roger Munby's assertion on Monday that the club was in 'active' talks with potential investors. As in more than one. That for all his undoubted – if less than liquid – wealth, the 57-year-old Cullum might not have the whole field to himself. His name might not be the only name on the board's lips; there might be more than one show in town.
Or, rather, in the City where Wynn Jones' long-standing connections might be working over-time to unearth an alternative, investment scenario that then flushes the real level of Cullum's interest out into the open.
When faced with a rival consortium, will he go north from that ?20 million figure? Just how much does he really want to add a Championship football club to his rich and lengthy cv?
“Whilst identifying the scale of the financial challenges facing the club, Roger [Munby] also pointed out the active and ongoing talks that are taking place with potential new investors to support the club's finances going forwards,” said Doncaster.
For now, it is a case of finding out just how many real and serious investors – note, with an 's' – are out there. Giving Peter Cullum a real run for all his money is probably what the next few weeks is all about.
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