NCISA salutes Foulger’s �2m Norwich City gesture
Norwich City Independent Supporters’ Association chairman Chris Wright has saluted the “superb” �2m investment pumped into the Canaries by Michael Foulger.
The club announced on Tuesday deputy chairman Foulger’s boost to the City coffers – solely for manager Paul Lambert’s use in the transfer and loan markets – is in return for 80,000 ordinary shares at Carrow Road.
On the Norwich board for almost 15 years, Foulger – boss of Attleborough-based Banham Poultry – has been instrumental in supporting Norwich’s Academy and in 2009 put �718,608 into the club after pledging to match the money waived by season ticket holders entitled to a rebate following relegation.
But this year’s �2m cheque represents his biggest outlay to date – and Wright believed it summed up Foulger’s efforts at Carrow Road.
“Any Norwich City fan can only be delighted at what Michael has done,” said Wright. “It’s a superb gesture and I’m pleased the club have seen fit to be able to say they’ll ring-fence it for Paul Lambert.
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“It’s superb, and to put it in shares so it doesn’t increase the debt at the club is excellent, and also gives him the ability if – or shall we say when?! – we go up that there might be advantage for him.”
Foulger now holds 15 per cent of the club’s shareholding, with the injection of new shares reducing the majority proportion held by Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones from 61 to 53 per cent.
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“He has, along with Michael and Delia, funded the club for some time – and through some fairly ropey times over the last few years as well – so to be able to turn around and do that is excellent,” added Wright. “Michael Foulger doesn’t appear to like the limelight, he sticks in the background, but he is, dare I say, a local Norfolk boy. He is and has been a damn good supporter of the club.”
City chief executive David McNally feels Foulger’s investment says a lot about the man.
“Michael has been extremely generous over many years and it speaks volumes about the man that at difficult financial times for us all, he is prepared to back the club with this significant sum of money,” McNally told Radio Norfolk on Wednesday morning. “Paul is very happy with his squad but he has got a lot more flexibility now.
“A lot of credit should got to Delia and Michael. They are completely supportive of the move, even though their shareholding has gone down overnight, and I don’t feel they are given enough credit for what they do.
“All they want is the best for the football club. They have always said they will never stand in the way of anybody investing providing those people care about the club, and in Michael Foulger we’ve got someone who cares passionately about Norwich City.”
Foulger said he was “delighted” to help Lambert’s cause at Carrow Road.
“This money will all go to help Paul and his plans for the squad, whether that be when the emergency loan window re-opens or in the summer – or both,” added Foulger.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to continue to serve the club as deputy chairman at this exciting time, and to be part of a revitalised Norwich City board of directors with a clear and progressive strategy aimed at putting our financial house in order and establishing this great club back in the top flight.”
Permanent deals for Leon Barnett, Aaron Wilbraham and Marc Tierney – as well as extending Henri Lansbury’s loan spell from Arsenal – completed Lambert’s transfer business last month.
The one that got away was Brighton winger Elliott Bennett, for whom City’s three deadline day bids – the last of which was believed to be around �1m – were turned down by the south coast club.
It is thought Foulger’s investment was available at the time, backing Lambert’s assertion he would not pay over the odds to bring in extra reinforcements during January.