Norwich City investment: Remember Giovanni di Stefano?
5:00 PM May 28, 2022
Norwich City have been subject to investment interest over the years – some more credible than others.
The subject has been a touchy one for many supporters who have wanted to see more money available to make the team more competitive.
But there has been proof that the owners’ reluctance to take the money and run has been a sensible one.
Few will forget Giovanni di Stefano – the man dubbed the Devil’s Advocate – who made headlines in Norfolk in 2001 when he snapped up a six per cent share in the Canaries and attempted a hostile takeover to get his son installed as a director.
Di Stefano – who falsely claimed he had a PhD in law from Cambridge University -befriended the worst kind of tyrants: then president Slobodan Milosevic, Serbian warlord Arkan among them. Robert Mugabe, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Harold Shipman were also reportedly among his acquaintances.
Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones were less than impressed.
That was also the case in 2008 when the name Peter Cullum grabbed the headlines.
Speculation was rife that Delia and Michael were on the verge of selling their majority interest, with then new directors Andrew and Sharon Turner rumoured to be a front for the Cullum.
However, after lots of column inches, Cullum – who once played in Norwich colours as a teenager – declared he was more interested in his own company, insurance giant Towergate Partnership, which was said to be worth at least £700m.
The Turners – Andrew and Sharon – did actually manage to put some money into the club, but their interest didn’t last long.
They were around for around a year and a half having acquired Barry Skipper’s 5,000 shares. Their first action was to loan the club £2 million to cover an expected cash shortfall.
Of course, in the background has always been the reluctance of the owners to sell the club. They have been in control at Carrow Road for more than 25 years and whilst never writing off the possibility of welcoming new investment, have been wary of the club falling into the wrong hands.