Book shows what might have been had convicted fraudster Giovanni di Stefano taken over Norwich City

PUBLISHED: 10:44 06 June 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 June 2019

Giovanni di Stefano pictured in 2001. Photo: Bill Smith.

Giovanni di Stefano pictured in 2001. Photo: Bill Smith.

As Norwich City supporters look forward to taking on the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool in the Premier League, a new book offers a cautionary tale of how things could have been very different.

Fabrizio Ravenelli in action for Derby against Ipswich. Pic: Martin Rickett/PA.Fabrizio Ravenelli in action for Derby against Ipswich. Pic: Martin Rickett/PA.

In 2001, Anglo-Italian businessman and lawyer Giovanni di Stefano made a hostile bid to get his son Michele installed as a director at Carrow Road.

He snapped up a six per cent share in the club and targeting Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones's shares.

He stated he would take the Canaries back into the Premier League by buying players from Yugoslavia, Italy and the Middle East.

And he said he would create a sporting director role to help then manager Nigel Worthington.

Aerial view of Carrow Road. Picture: Mike PageAerial view of Carrow Road. Picture: Mike Page

While such a model has resulted in Norwich City gaining promotion, the benefit of hindsight suggests Mr di Stefano's preferences of Harry Redknapp or Bryan Robson might not have been quite as successful in the role as Stuart Webber.

Ultimately, Mr di Stefano was not successful in his takeover and, after a failed attempt to takeover Northampton Town, ended up as a director at Scottish club Dundee.

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During his six month stint at Dens Park from August 2003 to January 2004, di Stefano brought in Italian Champions League winner and former Middlesbrough and Derby striker Fabrizio Ravanelli.

But he left after the club went into administration with more than £13m of debt.

In 2013, di Stefano was convicted of 24 charges, including deception, fraud and money laundering after he was unmasked as a fraud with no legal training.

He was jailed for 14 years and is in prison at Highpoint in Suffolk.

A new book lifts the lid on di Stefano's troubled time at Dundee - and details what a lucky escape it was for Norwich City supporters that the other shareholders at Carrow Road stood their ground.

Graeme Strachan, the author of 'The Bird and The Feather' said: "Norwich fans are looking forward to welcoming Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United next season.

"But things could have been so much different had di Stefano taken the club over back in 2001.

"He made promises to Dundee he couldn't keep and eventually the rollercoaster ride went off the rails."

The book has been published by DC Thomson Media.

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