David McNally - Delia Smith still crucial to Norwich City

Norwich City majority shareholder Delia Smith is an 'A-list' celebrity who has helped the club gain worldwide recognition and punch above its weight – chief executive David McNally said yesterday.

Speaking to tourism business leaders during an event at Carrow Road, McNally said the club's celebrity backers including Delia and Stephen Fry had given the club a unique star status which was the envy of other clubs.

He said the club was the 12th best supported in the country and the ambition was to break into the top 10.

Singling out the celebrity chef and joint majority shareholder for particular praise, he said that she would long continue her reign as Queen of the club.

'She is truly one of this country's A-list celebrities,' Mr McNally said. 'Hopefully she will always be in charge of this football club, certainly that's her intention and for those of us who are currently custodians of this football club, it's certainly our intention.

'Whoever has been the manager or players over the years, the most famous person at the club is Delia Smith.'

The chief executive said the club planned to leverage the power of the Delia brand to help promote it worldwide.

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And he said Stephen Fry had also worked wonders to promote the club thanks to the millions who follow him on the Twitter social media website.

Meanwhile, turning his attention to footballing matters, McNally said the Canaries needed 40 points to be safe from the drop and secure a second season in the Premier League.

'Forty points, that's the traditional target,' he said. 'It's looking good. I don't often look at league tables, I look at how many points we are off the bottom three.'

He also said the club was committed to working with manager Paul Lambert in the long term, amid fans' fears that the England situation may create a managerial merry-go-round in the summer which may reel in the city boss.

'Paul is happy here,' McNally said. 'It's his football club, he's been accepted by the great people of Norwich and Norfolk. He's hugely ambitious, we haven't let him down yet, we have matched that ambition having gone from 69th position to 12th.

'We will do all we can to work together for the long term.'