Delia pledged fans vote on future

A PROPHETIC interview given by Norwich City majority shareholder Delia Smith earlier this year has got Canaries fans debating whether a bid for the club by billionaire Peter Cullum should be put to the vote.

A PROPHETIC interview given by Norwich City majority shareholder Delia Smith earlier this year has got Canaries fans debating whether a bid for the club by billionaire Peter Cullum should be put to the vote.

In the interview with Simon Mayo on Radio Five Live in February, Delia says she would ask fans to vote if a controversial backer came forward.

Several months later and her comments may come back to haunt her following the collapse of talks between the Norwich City FC board and millionaire businessman Peter Cullum, which has heavily disappointed fans.

Cullum revealed two weeks ago that he had offered £20m to the club for new players and control of the board, however negotiations between the two parties have failed to find a viable solution.

In the interview Delia said: “If somebody comes along and says 'I will put £20m into Norwich City Football Club on the playing side', not just on the day-to-day scrabbling about trying to survive but on the playing side, I think that the supporters wouldn't forgive me if I turned it down, or Michael and I turned it down.”

She goes on to say that the offer would not be accepted if it was the “wrong person”, saying she would prefer someone local who was a Norwich City fan, as Mr Cullum is.

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In the interview she also says: “I think if there was something contentious I think what I would have to do, you know, the bottom line is I would have to run out on the pitch and let everyone vote.”

The revelations by Mr Cullum that he wants to invest in Norwich City have stirred up fans. Over the weekend the television cook's website was even hijacked by angry supporters.

The community forum page of Delia Online was wiped clean after furious Norwich City fans used it to air their grievances.

One, using the name 'Delia Mugabe', went as far as branding her an 'old trout'.

The Norwich fans are furious that Delia, 67, and her husband, Michael Wynn-Jones, the club's controlling shareholders for 12 years, have rejected a £20 million takeover offer by Peter Cullum.

The millionaire businessman had promised to invest in new players but Delia, herself worth an estimated £22 million, turned him down.

One disaffected fan also made reference to the barrage of criticism that Delia faced earlier this year from other celebrity chefs over her book How To Cheat At Cooking, which offered people the chance to make their own dishes in a fraction of the time but using ingredients such as tinned mince and frozen mashed potato.

He wrote: 'A title for your next book - how about How To Cheat Norwich Fans Out Of The Club That Is Rightfully Theirs?'

Delia Online was set up six years ago at a cost of £1 million, offering 600 step-by-step recipes. The football-based messages were among postings asking where to buy gluten-free food and how to make a perfect rosewater cake.

The site's editor said she felt forced to clear the website of the postings because they weren't appropriate. She wrote online: “I've removed all the posts that appeared late last night.

“It's good to allow open and free debate but football isn't relevant to a cookery site and many of the comments were extremely offensive. I haven't a clue what Delia thinks, I am afraid. I would rather not comment.”

Some city fans have branded the comments a step too far.

Posting on message boards on The Pink'Un website, one fan said: “Delia has put a lot of her own money into this football club and that should be respected, there is not one person who has put in as much as she has in the last 10 years is there?

“I understand the frustration with the Cullum business and I am also one who is frustrated, but the fact is that we still do not know what happened in the discussions or what the specifics of the offer actually was, I suggest we wait and see who we sign until the end of the transfer window before making an opinion on if the decision was correct or not. Making accusations is totally out of order, when there are no facts to back up these claims.

“This is more directed to the fans who are going onto her cookery website and posting abusive comments. I think those people should look at themselves as human beings.”