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Hammers first, Norwich next for Sullivan

PUBLISHED: 08:52 08 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:31 06 July 2010

Norwich City will almost certainly have to play second fiddle to West Ham United as David Sullivan looks for his next football project.

The 60-year-old Essex businessman - at one time believed to be worth £500million thanks to his Daily Sport and pornography empire - is set to be a free football investor once the money comes rolling in for his stake in Birmingham City by Tuesday.

Norwich City will almost certainly have to play second fiddle to West Ham United as David Sullivan looks for his next football project.

The 60-year-old Essex businessman - at one time believed to be worth £500million thanks to his Daily Sport and pornography empire - is set to be a free football investor once the money comes rolling in for his stake in Birmingham City by Tuesday.

Carson Yeung's takeover at St Andrew's was rubber stamped on Tuesday, in a deal worth £1 per share that will leave Sullivan £25million to the good and ready to set about looking for another football club to run.

Although Sullivan wants a couple of months' break from the game before returning, the Eastern Daily Press understands West Ham is already lined up as his number one target.

However, the Hammers' debts - thought to be up to £100million - could yet be enough to put the businessman off pushing for a deal.

And, should his attempts to own a little bit of London's East End fail, taking over at Norwich City is firmly on his radar - although Charlton, Cardiff, Leicester and Ipswich are also possibilities.

Sullivan is banking on West Ham's Icelandic owners selling for a cut price because of the financial burdens at Upton Park, otherwise any deal is off.

Sullivan said: “Half of me would like to have three months off after leaving Birmingham but I want to stay in football.

“I will start looking at what is available next week but at a lot of clubs the debt exceeds the value of the club.”

That would be an unlikely problem at Norwich - if the Canaries can quickly regain their Championship status - with City's debt currently standing at around £20million.

The Birmingham plc chairman will formally end his 16-year tie with the Blues on Tuesday, along with Ralph Gold and chief executive Karren Brady, while David Gold is set to remain as chairman of the club.

Sullivan, along with Brady, took charge at St Andrew's in 1993 when the club was in financial administration, and they have helped turn it into a stable Premier League outfit.

“I bought Birmingham 16-and-a-half years ago and it's been stressful,” acknowledged Sullivan. “I need a little breather, a tiny little bit of time to recuperate.

“Then I'll see what makes sense from a financial point of view, geographical point of view and heart point of view - you've got to merge all those three together to come up with what's best for you.”

Sullivan is likely to go through West Ham's books over the coming days, but on making an approach for the London club any time soon, Sullivan added: “It is very unlikely. I need a break. I'll then have a look to see what's available but nothing is impossible.”

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