Libel settlement helped fund Elliott deal

Chris LakeyStephen Elliott's goal-scoring heroics for the Canaries at the weekend came courtesy of Aussie media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. Elliott's double blast gave City a 3-1 win at Huddersfield and helped open the gap at the top of League One to seven points.Chris Lakey

Stephen Elliott's goal-scoring heroics for the Canaries at the weekend came courtesy of Aussie media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Elliott's double blast gave City a 3-1 win at Huddersfield and helped open the gap at the top of League One to seven points.

And it was revealed last night that the striker's loan deal from Preston until the end of the season was funded by the compensation payout from the recent spat between the club and the Murdoch-owned News of the World.

The Sunday red-top had claimed City were on the brink of financial meltdown and within days of going into administration without major new investment.

City threatened High Court action but the matter was settled - and it was manager Paul Lambert who cashed in, bringing in the Republic of Ireland striker to help his team until the end of the campaign.

'The sum is confidential as part of the agreement,' said City's chief executive David McNally.

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'It is substantial. It is not a transforming sum of money - but it will help pay for Elliott's loan move from Preston.'

The revelation came during an open fans' forum at Carrow Road last night, when the club's finances, possible investment and Lambert's future all came up for discussion.

McNally has been wrestling with a debt of more than �20m since he joined City last summer, with accounting firm Deloitte currently handling the search for new money.

However, hopes that Malaysian businessman Tony Fernandes - the man behind AirAsia and team principal of the Lotus Formula One team - may become involved appear to be thin.

Fernandes was at Carrow Road for City's thrilling 2-1 win over Southend last month, but McNally believes his priorities are elsewhere.

'It was his first time at Carrow Road and he absolutely loved the experience and the drama,' said McNally. 'He realised he had walked into a big football club. We had a nice chat and we explained the process we are going through with Deloitte, a process that is on-going and there is nothing to report on that.

'I don't think Tony will be involved in that process because he is quite busy with his Formula One team and his business. He is quite rightly very distracted by his other ventures and focusing on his current business.

'That is not to say something may happen in the future or not. We would love some kind of marketing tie-up between Lotus and Norwich City Football Club.'

Joint majority shareholder Delia Smith praised the supporters, but baulked at a suggestion that the club lacked ambition.

'I feel hurt when people say we aren't ambitious,' she said.

'I don't know how to be more ambitious than we are. If we are not ambitious I am sorry, but we do absolutely everything in our power to take this club forward.'

Last night's meeting was attended by all of City's top brass, except for chairman Alan Bowkett who was away on business - but with City flying high at the top of League One, it was a relatively easy ride, with Lambert able to deflect a question about his own future should City be promoted.

'I always think you are one step away from the sack, that question doesn't even enter my head,' he said before admitting that if City are back in the Championship next season he would need to add to his squad.

'They would need help, as anyone would,' he said.

'Yes, we would try and bring in other lads to give them a helping hand because they would need it.'