Sullivan and Gold have Canaries on their wish list
PUBLISHED: 10:51 28 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:44 06 July 2010
Norwich City are reportedly takeover targets for porn magnate David Sullivan and his business partner David Gold. The pair are currently involved in selling Birmingham City to Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka-shing, but are said to be investigating other opportunities with a view to returning to football within 12 months.
Norwich City are reportedly takeover targets for porn magnate David Sullivan and his business partner David Gold.
The pair are currently involved in selling Birmingham City to Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung Ka-shing, but are said to be investigating other opportunities with a view to returning to football within 12 months.
And while West Ham are reportedly on their list, they are also understood to be “investigating” opportunities at Football League level, including Norwich - one of around half a dozen clubs that fit the bill.
City, who yesterday declined to comment on the reports, have debts estimated at just under £20m - and while businessman Peter Cullum was prepared to pay that figure last year, the club put a price of £56m on a takeover.
Cullum has since dropped his interest in taking over at Carrow Road, where deal-maker Keith Harris, from Seymour Pierce, was recruited to hunt out fresh investment.
Since then City have slipped into League One, but with almost 19,000 season ticket holders and crowds regularly topping the 20,000 mark, its infrastructure might make it an attractive proposition for would-be investment.
Majority shareholders Delia Smith and her husband Michael Wynn Jones have admitted they would be willing to take a back seat, but have always stipulated that it must be to the right person: although that stipulation may have changed given the current financial climate and City's fall down the football ladder.
Sullivan and Gold's next move depends entirely on Yeung's takeover being completed, which is expected to happen next month.
It is understood that Sullivan is looking at the possibility of buying into another club with or without Gold, who in a recent interview described Delia Smith as “a dear friend”.
“I have always said if and when I leave Birmingham I will be at another club within 12 months because I love football,” Sullivan told the Guardian yesterday. “It is part of my life and part of my kids' life.”
Essex-based Sullivan was linked with City after Yeung first bought shares in Birmingham two years ago - one of the reasons being purely geographical.
“I've said for years the journey to Birmingham is killing me,” he said at the time.
Speculation over the Birmingham duo's next move will inevitably raise hopes among supporters that there is light at the end of the dark financial tunnel.
Chief executive David McNally recently described the financial state of the club as dire, but his appointment in the summer following the departure of Neil Doncaster and the subsequent changes to the make-up of the board were designed to improve the chances of bringing in new money.
Whether the new board will be as demanding as their predecessors remains to be seen: Cullum was told to more than double his bid - with £16m to buy up shares at 30p each, another £16m to pay off City's bank debt at the time which would be called in if a takeover went through; £4m to repay loans from directors - plus investing £20m in the playing squad.
Cullum has already said that the world financial meltdown “is simply not conducive to investing in an ailing football club”, while Harris said the future of the current owners depends on the capital coming in.
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