The Canaries today found the cash for, say, one year of Lee Croft's new City contract after announcing the sale of a majority stake in EventGuard Ltd to Norfolk County Services.
The deal was this afternoon reported to be worth in the region of ?300,000 to the Norfolk club. And by retaining a 24.9% stake in their security and stewarding business, so the Championship outfit could yet profit again if the concern continues to flourish under its new owners.
Whether or not the Canaries actually wanted to sell part of the club's assets at this particularly moment in time is another matter – there may well be an element of needs must in their thinking given that any market for the 'land bank' they still enjoy away beyond and behind the Jarrold Stand will have all-but disappeared given the current state of the local and national economy.
That particular nest egg needs to sit there and wait for a major improvement in the housing market; in the meantime with the Turners long gone and transfer funds all too thin on the ground, a tie-in with the County Council's ambitious public-private partnership plans probably made sense.
It might, equally, give the Canaries a little more headroom when it comes to sitting down with star winger Croft and working out just what it would take to keep the popular City star in Norfolk.
Out of contract this summer, what is interesting is his age – he will be 24 in June. And, therefore, be able to walk away from Carrow Road for nothing. Just as Alex Bruce appears intent on doing at Portman Road.
Hence the need for the Canaries to work out just which way the young man's mind is working; hence the reported interest of Stoke City, Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion in the City winger's signature.
Quizzed as to whether or not Norwich had had any nibbles thus far this window, new City boss Bryan Gunn used the word 'official' to good effect. That's one managerial get-out clause that he has already mastered – when does any 'interest' become an 'official' approach? When the player is sold, in short.
“No – nothing official,” said Gunn, speaking ahead of this evening's Class of 93 Reunion at Carrow Road (Southampton invited…)
That Croft was his kind of player was in no doubt; nor was the fact that a deal could yet be there; that both parties may be willing to put pen to paper.
“I have had a conversation with Lee and it was very positive,” said the new Canary boss. “Things are on-going with regards to Lee and I want to keep him at the club – definitely.
“He's a crowd hero when he's playing at the top of his game; he's an influential player certainly down the right-hand side and those are the type of players that you like to stay at the club.
“And that's what I said to them in the build up to last week's game; that we had some of the 58-59 heroes on the pitch and some of this squad could be heroes of the future as well.”
Certainly Croft could earn a lasting place in Canary hearts if he avoided the obvious temptation to become a free agent in the summer and see who and what awaited him then.
“I'm positive that in the conversation that I've had with Lee that he's enjoying his time at the club and we're hopeful that if we can get speaking with him and his representatives that there could be a positive outcome,” said Gunn.
City chairman Roger Munby broke the news of the EventGuard sale on the club's official website today.
“We are delighted to announce that Norfolk County Services has acquired a majority stake in EventGuard,” he said, with the deal being agreed only yesterday. “EventGuard was formed in 2001 and has grown quickly to become the leading event stewarding and security company in East Anglia.
“NCS [Norfolk County Services] are the ideal organisation to take this business into an even more successful future and, with their marketing resources and commercial reach, we are confident that EventGuard will continue to go from strength to strength.
“We also see this move as a key plank in the club's strategy to align itself far more closely with the county of Norfolk.”
Peter Hawes, managing director of Norfolk County Services, added: “This joint venture is an exciting opportunity for Norfolk County Services to work closely with Norwich City Football Club to develop this business and provide job security to all the staff who have worked so hard to make these great local companies a success.”