Harris has a bigger chance of finding Nessie!
The Man In The Stands Delia Smith's revelation this week that she had received a letter from Towergate confirming Peter Cullum will not be making an “offer” for the club was dreadful news.
The Man In The Stands
Delia Smith's revelation this week that she had received a letter from Towergate confirming Peter Cullum will not be making an “offer” for the club was dreadful news.
Let's be clear folks, the only people that will be interested in owning Norwich City are Norwich City supporters. Keith Harris has got about as much chance of finding a legitimate investor or new owner for us as he has of finding the Loch Ness Monster. At this week's AGM Delia talked of her “excitement” upon initially hearing of Peter Cullum's desire to invest in the club.
It was an “excitement” that manifested itself into just one meeting with the Towergate boss in October last year, and nothing since. It was an “excitement” that manifested itself in putting a prohibitive £56m price tag on the club when Cullum again made the running this summer. Damn, if that's excitement my dear no wonder you enjoy watching Norwich City!
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The Man can only assume that Delia's, and particularly Michael's, enthusiasm for the Cullum deal diminished when it became apparent their majority shareholding would be reduced to a minority one by Cullum's plan, without any financial compensation. Maybe the prospect of losing control of running the club was a little bit too much to stomach back in October last year too, although I'm sure they want out now.
The Man really does not blame Delia and Michael for instinctively wanting some of their money back; but as Neil Doncaster constantly reminds us, a football club is a money pit. Both Ipswich and Wolves have recently had to give themselves away for nothing on the basis of investment in the team and a more secure future. I am afraid our price tag is no different.
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Cullum's deal, offering £20m in exchange for new shares, was a bitter pill for Delia and Michael to swallow, but I fear the future will be more bitter still.
Some people sneered at Cullum and called him the “King of Deals from Kent”; but as far as I was concerned he was the one chance we had of bringing some financial security, not to mention acumen, to the club. When asked what the plan for the future was this week, Michael Wynn Jones told shareholders: “What's the point of having a strategy if you don't have any money?” Quite.
The club should have done everything it could to get Peter Cullum's feet under the boardroom table, but I just don't believe they did.
The same ill financial wind that blew the Turners away also means Cullum's £20m plan would be difficult for him to finance now, even if Delia and Michael did finally talk to him face-to-face. The Man sincerely hopes there is a happy ending for Delia and Michael; they do deserve it but. I just can't see where it's going to come from. OTBC.
t A SIGN OF THESE HARD TIMES
THE MAN was not at the Preston game, but a fortunate twist of fate meant he was driving through Lancashire as the game kicked off.
I was therefore able to avail myself of the local (opposition) commentary for the match; which is always a bit of an eye-opener.
With about five minutes to go the co-commentator moaned: “Preston really should be coming to places like this and winning.”
“How very dare he? The Northern oik.
The Man let out a stinging volley of abuse at the radio which caused my fellow passenger to recoil in fear. I apologised and took a deep breath.
The truth is, as much as it pains me to the absolute core, the BBC Lancashire co-commentator is probably not too wide of the mark.
Carrow Road now is the “sort of place” opposition teams think they should be winning, no matter what their status.
It's not something we should readily accept; but it may just be something we are going to have to learn to live with for the foreseeable future as our club battles to stay in this division. These are going to be tough, tough times.
t U-TURN CLAIM IN WEB ROW
THE MAN was notified this week of a cracking little row that has been bubbling away on the club's official website for the past few months.
Posters on the website's messageboard are accusing the club of doing a U-turn over a promise to publish fuller details of a Cullumgate summit. The club, for its part, is saying it never made such a vow.
The row centres around a meeting of the Supporters Consultative Group (SCG) that was held in the summer - to discuss Cullum's takeover plans and fans' opinions.
At the time the meeting caused consternation with some supporters as they felt they were being kept out of the loop, while the SCG's collection of superfans were being made privy to privileged information. The Man felt such criticism was somewhat over-the-top, but there you go.
Anyway, shortly after the meeting took place a poster on the club's subscription-only messageboard asked whether the minutes would eventually be published.
Richard Gough, an affable ticketing understudy to former hero Andy Cullen, replied to the post saying they would be.
Minutes from all SCG meetings are published on the club's website; although sometimes it takes a while.
And so the users of the club's website waited, and waited, and waited...yet there was no sign of the minutes of the contentious meeting.
When posters began to question why the minutes had not turned up, the club really began to squirm.
A club PR man finally declared that Richard Gough's use of the word minutes had been an unfortunate term, and that rather than a formal record of events a 'summary of what was said' would be provided.
He declared that the Cullumgate SCG meeting had actually been an “informal” and “ad-hoc” one, so would not warrant the usual thorough minutes; despite the fact it's sure to be the only meeting of the SCG that the majority of fans would like to know about. The row got so bitter the club's PR boss ended up accusing people of libel for their acerbic reaction to this development.
The long and the short of it?
Fans were eventually provided with a “summary” of what was said, from someone who was not at the meeting, which provided about as much detail as a four-year-old's scribbles.