New Norwich City Football Club chairman Ed Balls joins Delia Smith at press conference

The appointment of former Cabinet Minister and lifelong Canaries fan Ed Balls as Chairman of the Boa

The appointment of former Cabinet Minister and lifelong Canaries fan Ed Balls as Chairman of the Board of Directors joined by his fellow directors at Carrow Road for before the Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

New Norwich City chairman Ed Balls has told of his ambition to secure the club's long-term Premier League status.

Ed Balls pictured with chief executive David McNally.The appointment of former Cabinet Minister and

Ed Balls pictured with chief executive David McNally.The appointment of former Cabinet Minister and lifelong Canaries fan Ed Balls as Chairman of the Board of Directors joined by his fellow directors at Carrow Road for before the Barclays Premier League match against Aston Villa. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

The former Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer joined Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones, Norwich's joint majority shareholders, for a press conference at Carrow Road ahead of today's match against Aston Villa.

He paid tribute to the work of Delia Smith, chief executive David McNally and former chairman Alan Bowkett and said he would do all he could to help his club.

'Things are going well for Norwich and it's a very important season for us and I want to do anything I can off the field to support the team on the field,' he said. 'It's a brilliant, well-run club already.

'We've always been an up-and-down club.

'We've now been in the Premier League for four seasons in five but I don't think anyone thinks our status is secure.

'I want to secure the long-term future of Norwich as a top flight club.'

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He added that part of his work would be to look at a 10-year plan for the Canaries.

A lifelong fan, the 48-year-old said he first watched Norwich City in a 1973 FA Cup tie that ended Norwich 1-1 Leeds.

He said that he was honoured and privileged to have been asked by Delia Smith and her husband to be chairman.

'I don't think it's something I ever thought would happen,' he said. 'When Delia and Michael asked me it was completely out of the blue.

'I've been a supporter for many years, and we have season tickets in the Upper Barclay.

'We've talked often about the club and I know Delia and Michael's passion and determination to make sure smaller clubs can play in the top flight.

'In the last few months they said 'do you want to get more involved?''

Asked if his political career had prepared him for a role in football, he joked: 'I think it's the other way round.

'If you're a supporter of Norwich City you're used to the ups and downs of life and politics is no different.'

Mr Balls said he would be both a fan and the club chairman, and would not separate heart and head.

'I think the reason I've been asked to come and do this is because I'm a fan,' he said. 'I don't want to take one hat off and put the other one on.

'Clearly for a club like Norwich, getting the finances right is very important.

'It's a club of people who care passionately about the club and its success.

'We're all fans and that's why it's a great club to be part of.'

He assured people that he would give his all to the role, while accepting he had other roles including with Harvard University.

'I don't think you could do this job unless you're going to do it properly,' he said. 'That means any time, day or night, that David and his team want to talk to me, I will be there.'

Mr Balls said that his favourite player while growing up was Ted MacDougall, who scored more than 50 goals as a Norwich City striker in the 1970s and was also a Scotland international.

Asked why she approached Mr Balls for the job, Delia Smith said: 'I think passion first.

'I've known Ed's family for years and passion for me is the number one.

'I've watched him and he's at home with the supporters.

'He will queue up for a hot dog with the rest of us.'

Her husband Michael Wynn-Jones added: 'It's useful to have one of the very best economists in Britain.'