I used to believe the ‘no one else is interested in buying Norwich City FC’ line, but evidence throughout the league belies this.
Norwich’s owners are the poorest (bar a couple) of all the known owners’ wealth listed for all four divisions in England. That means almost every other club in English professional football has richer owners. And virtually all, if not all, of those clubs acquired their current owners within the last 25 years, the period that coincides with Delia and Michael’s tenure.
Many of those owners are half-billionaires, billionaires or just plain old multi-billionaires. Delia and Michael are not. My conclusion is that if League One and League Two teams with their current earning power can attract billionaire ownership, then a current Premier League club with its earning power is extremely likely to be able to attract offers from many potential suitors.
That begs the question – what is stopping these offers?
There can only be one answer, or more accurately two – Delia and Michael.
I like Delia and Michael, they’re great people, love the area and club, and are genuine supporters, but they’re not rich enough to play in this league (and City shortly won’t be). Norwich are currently riding a rickety tea-chest go-cart in Formula One trying to compete – but sadly all the other drivers and teams can see our dodgy pram-wheels and are laughing at us.
There isn’t one until Delia and Michael agree to sell some of their majority shares, and as long as they refuse to budge the club will remain in their control.
I can’t see even a ludicrously massive offer shifting them either, because they have enough money to do what they want (hang-gliding lessons, skiing trips, and other expensive extreme sports and hobbies are probably beyond them – and me too these days) so why would they want to lose the profile, prestige, fun and frustration of fronting one of the top football clubs in the country?
Think of the people and events you get to mix with, seeing your name in the papers all the time, and just the thrill of being ‘current’ and well-known. You can’t buy that sort of attention.
Well, you can – you buy a football club (or appear on I’m A Celebrity…).
And they did, they bought a controlling share in Norwich City (the Finest of clubs). I don’t know exactly how much they paid for their shares, but current share price estimates suggest a figure in the regions of a very few tens of millions of pounds. You can barely buy a Premier League centre-back for that these days, never mind a whole Premier League club.
So, well done to them. And I reckon we’ll just have to learn to love them all over again because they – and nephew Tom – ain’t going anywhere.
Gosh bless Delia and Michael!