Delia hits out at football money men

DELIA Smith tonight slammed the money men who have made football clubs their toys as she surveyed the aftermath of Norwich City's relegation from the Championship.

DELIA Smith tonight slammed the money men who have made football clubs their toys as she surveyed the aftermath of Norwich City's relegation from the Championship.

The Canaries' joint majority shareholder admitted she was “deeply, deeply hurt and sad and upset”, but claimed the game had “sold itself” to money.

After watching Norwich lose 4-2 to Charlton, sealing their relegation to League One, she said: “I think the big lesson everybody has to learn is that football has sold itself to money.

“When I was first a football supporter the best team won, it was nothing to do with money, but now it is very much to do with money and there is one big rich league and the rest of us have to scrabble around doing whatever we can in any way we can.

“I think until somebody sits up and understands that, this is going to be the sad story of great football clubs like Norwich City and Charlton. This is going to be the sad story.”

While she did not comment on any individual clubs, the Canaries have seen arch rivals Ipswich Town boosted by the millions of businessman Marcus Evans, who bought an 87.5% share of the club in 2007.

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Norwich City are actively seeking new investment which is needed to fill a gaping multi-million-pound hole that relegation to League One has exposed.

“We will do anything,” added Delia, who lives near Stowmarket.

“If it means moving aside we will move aside. That's not a problem. We enjoy our football, we will be going to football even if we are in the Conference - Michael and I will be there watching the football and enjoying it. If it means us stepping aside if the club can progress then not a problem at all.”

The 4-2 defeat at the Valley brought a tumultuous season to an end, but the celebrity chef insisted the club could bounce back, with the help of its fans.

“I think our football club is our supporters and our supporters are full of spirit and they won't be daunted,” she said. “They will come back and they'll cheer their team and they'll be the best thing about today probably and I feel confident in them.

“We know we now have to do our bit - we have tried to serve them as best we can and we have got to go on trying to serve them as best we can and give them success.

“It was very, very disappointing. I have to say if I was really honest myself I was done and dusted after Monday night after Reading and I have spent a long time already being relegated because today had to be a massive miracle because Barnsley had to lose, even if we won, to be saved. So I have had plenty of time now to get used to the idea.”