Norwich City boss Lambert’s �2m boost
Norwich City's promotion ambitions have received a major boost after the club revealed a �2m cash injection for Paul Lambert's playing budget.
The windfall has come from City's deputy chairman Michael Foulger, through the purchase of more ordinary shares in the club – with the promise that it will be solely for Lambert's use.
'I'm delighted to be able to invest in the club in this way to help Paul Lambert and his team continue the excellent job they are doing for us,' said Foulger. 'This money will all go to help Paul and his plans for the squad, whether that be when the emergency loan window re-opens or in the summer – or both.
'It's an honour and a privilege to continue to serve the club as deputy chairman at this exciting time, and to be part of a revitalised Norwich City board of directors with a clear and progressive strategy aimed at putting our financial house in order and establishing this great club back in the top flight.'
Lambert brought in Leon Barnett, Aaron Wilbraham and Marc Tierney on permanent deals in the January transfer window, but was unable to persuade Brighton to part with winger Elliott Bennett.
It seems likely that the Foulger money would have been available during the window, with the club choosing not to publicise the fact for fear of compromising any deals. With the emergency loan window now open after a week's respite, Lambert is able to shop again, and while most of his transfer activity has been centred around less expensive players from lower divisions, Foulger's cash boost widens his options as far as targets go, although he has vowed never not to repeat the mass signings of expensive big-name loan players of some of his predecessors.
Norfolk-born Foulger, who is managing director of Attleborough-based Banham Poultry, has negotiated the purchase of 80,000 additional shares through his investment, taking his shareholding in the club up to 15pc, while the proportion owned by joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones has reduced from 61pc to 53pc.
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'We are absolutely thrilled that Michael has invested �2million in the club and acquired a very significant shareholding,' read a staement from Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, whose own financial investment in the club is thought to be at least �12m.
'Over the years Michael has been exceptionally generous to Norwich City, providing funds for player transfers and personally underwriting the rebate scheme when we were relegated.
'His commitment to the club has been life-long, and we look forward to continuing to work with him on the board to help take NCFC to even greater heights.'
Foulger has been on the board since 1996 as part of the group which took Smith and Jones to power following the end of the Robert Chase era - coincidentally, the three of them and then new director Barry Skipper were reportedly putting in �2m of fresh capital.
Foulger, who has often taken a back seat as far as public profile is concerned, has been noted for his support of the Canaries Academy, and while he has been involved in previous financial assistance, yesterday's announcement is his most significant.
In the summer of 2009 he vowed to matched pound for pound the money not claimed by season ticket holders who were entitled to a rebate following City's relegation to League One. That added �718,608 – half from fans and half from Foulger - to the playing budget.