Norwich Union takes share of Blues

PUBLISHED: 13:51 16 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:26 14 September 2010

Norwich Union is set to hold a 10 per cent share in the Canaries' bitter rivals Ipswich Town - allowing the debt-ridden club to avoid multi-million pound interest repayments.

Norwich Union is set to hold a 10 per cent share in the Canaries' bitter rivals Ipswich Town - allowing the debt-ridden club to avoid multi-million pound interest repayments.

Norwich fans' groups have reacted with bemusement to revelations the city's biggest employer, with a Norwich workforce of 8,000, is to become a key player in the Suffolk football club.

Roy Blower, chairman of the Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), said: “It's laughable in one way, and quite sad in another.

“It is such a strong company, but it has never been involved with Norwich City in a major way.

“The fact that NU - in any shape or form - will help prop up our main rivals will not go down well with our own fans.”

Details of proposals for NU to take a 10 per cent stake in the Suffolk club were outlined in a letter to 3,300 Ipswich shareholders this month.

The insurance giant, who provided Ipswich Town with a £25 million bond to help develop the club's ground in 2001, will get a 4.99 per cent stake in September 2006, followed by the same amount a year later.

It is understood that in exchange for the shareholding, NU will waive about £4 million in interest payments owed to the firm by Ipswich, a club which ran into financial difficulties following its relegation from the Premiership in 2002.

Paul Webster, chairman of London-based supporters' club Capital Canaries, said: “It's bizarre. I suppose one of the reasons why NU might be doing this is because it will give them a say in how their money is repaid.

“I think some of our fans will be disappointed - and there will be a lot that work for Norwich Union. It's a strange position for the company to have found itself in really.”

The corner infill stand at Carrow Road, between the Norwich and Peterborough and Jarrold stands, is sponsored by NU.

Terry Baxter, director of communications at Ipswich Town Football Club, said: “Norwich Union has agreed that it will forgo its interest on the outstanding bond in return for just under five per cent of the shares, starting in September this year, and the same amount the following year.

“It's part of a debt restructuring process that gives the club the opportunity to focus on the important aim of getting back to the Premiership.”

It is believed the stake in Ipswich Town has been bought by Morley Fund Management, which is a company owned by Norwich Union's parent Aviva.

What do you think of NU holding a significant stake in Ipswich Town?

Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk or visitwww.eveningnews24.co.uk/forums

Most Read

Norwich City Video

Norwich City Audio

Norwich City Stats

The Pink Un magazine

cover
A must-read for any Norwich City fan with in-depth, straight-talking, analysis from the best writers around.
Purchase

Most Read

Latest from the Pink Un - Norwich City Football Club News