Delia's rallying call to Norwich City fans

Chris LakeyDelia Smith has paid tribute to Norwich City fans who are riding on the crest of a wave with Paul Lambert and his team after putting up with 'three years in the desert'.Chris Lakey

Delia Smith has paid tribute to Norwich City fans who are riding on the crest of a wave with Paul Lambert and his team after putting up with 'three years in the desert'.

City's joint majority shareholder and celebrity cookery writer says promotion to the Championship will be the 'icing on the cake' - but urged the fans not to become complacent and to cheer the Canaries over the finish line.

Lambert has halted the downward spiral that followed relegation from the top flight in 2005 and last year's disastrous drop into League One - and the view from the boardroom has been just as impressive as it has from the terraces.

'The most brilliant thing is standing in the directors' box and watching the supporters,' she said. 'They have had a horrible time, they have had three years out in the desert and watching them now for me is very moving. It's wonderful to see them having such a great time.'

City are four points clear with 11 games remaining - going up would rubber stamp what Lambert has achieved.

'That will be the icing on the cake, it really will be fantastic,' she said. 'When we all look back on that day at Charlton and how awful it was and to think we might have a chance of bouncing back is just fantastic if it happens.

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'I am not thinking about the league title, not at all, because I don't know about football - it has twists and turns to it and we have got some very challenging matches ahead so I am not counting any chickens. I am just as I always am and I always have been - filled with hope.'

Delia was speaking after the launch of City's new home kit yesterday - and standing on the spot where, a little over five years ago, she made national headlines for her 'Let's Be 'Aving You' speech at half-time of the home game against Manchester City - a speech that is perhaps not necessary any more, given City's lofty position

'They came,' she laughed. 'We don't have to do it - they are here and they are making a lot of noise too, which is what that was about that day.

'They are brilliant, they are so brilliant away too - they travel miles and they come in huge numbers.

'But they have to keep shouting and screaming and cheering the team on, definitely.

'They are wonderful - they are the best in the world. I don't think there are any supporters anywhere like Norwich supporters.'

Lambert has always been quick to acknowledge the fan's part in City's success so far this season - although Delia admits the man who took over from Bryan Gunn last August has surprised even her.

'You tend to get a bit, 'here we go again', when you get a new manager,' she said. 'I didn't think it would be just like this straight away and it has been wonderful because the hard times we have had the good times feel even better.

'But then I think that's true about life - whatever hardships you go through or whatever hurt you go through the joy at the end of it is always bigger and better.'

Matters on the pitch have just about managed to keep the financial issue in the background, with City currently wading through the Deloitte findings on new investment.

'We are doing all we can, as we always have done,' said Delia. 'It is tough times for football. There isn't any football club that isn't finding it difficult, not even right up there at the top of the Premiership, but it is a difficult business and we know it is a difficult business and once you put your hand to the plough you just get on with it.

'If we do everything right and proper, as we always have done, yes, I think anything can happen. Watch this space.'