Millionaire turns his thoughts to Town

SUFFOLK millionaire Colin Davey is today considering his next move after he failed in a bid to takeover Norwich City Football Club. The Bury St Edmunds businessman and his agent, Anthony Holliday, met with City chief executive Neil Doncaster and vice chairman Barry Skipper to discus his proposal last night.

SUFFOLK millionaire Colin Davey is todayconsidering his next move

after he failed in a bid to takeover Norwich City Football Club.

The Bury St Edmunds businessman and his agent, Anthony Holliday, met with City chief executive Neil Doncaster and vice chairman Barry Skipper to discus his proposal last night.

Davey, who contacted the club yesterdayto request the meeting, was seeking a seat on the board for his £5m and to replace Delia Smith and Michael Wyn Jones as majority shareholders.

It was agreed that there was no scope for that to happen at Carrow Road - leaving Davey to turn his attentions to Ipswich Town.

Mr Davey now believes Town offered the greater business opportunity and stood the best chance of achieving promotion to the Premier League next season.

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Since Mr Davey announced plans to pump millions into one of the East Anglian clubs, there have been claims about his business dealings.

He said the response from Town fans, which included being left bottles of champagne at his Coney Weston home, had convinced him to offer the money to the Portman Road outfit.

Mr Davey said: "The recent stories have been very hurtful and pure speculation. The authorities have looked at every business I have been involved in but there have been no breaches.

"I know where the rumours have come from and I think there is some jealously involved.

"They authorities deal with me on a regular basis as I have thousands of customers and you are always going to have authorities involved.

"If they had found anything substantial against me, I wouldn't be trading and I wouldn't be putting my name in the papers. When you are successful, you are always going to be unpopular and there is always a lot of jealously.

"People want to knock me because they have no idea how I have made my money. You are always going to get doubters but I am a genuine person."

Mr Davey, who has made his fortune from a betting tips premium rate phone line, was brought up in Norfolk but now runs his business in Bury.

Although admitting it would be a long-term venture, Mr Davey likened himself to Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who has ploughed more than £100 million into Premiership side Chelsea.

He said: "I have thought about the situation logically and, as I live in Suffolk and have businesses in Suffolk, it would be very hard to support a Norfolk team.

"I have got split loyalties but I am a businessman and I have to go for the club that offers me more and I feel this is Ipswich Town.

"I think Ipswich would fulfil my own benefits – they have bigger crowds and Ipswich have a better chance of promotion, Norwich always seem to go backwards after Christmas and the board seem very set in the ways.

"When I set my heart on something or start a project, I look at like a five or ten-year venture where we would start at the bottom, iron the problems out and keep the fans happy.

"I could be the next Abramovich – I am a winner and any club I get involved in would go right to the top."

Mr Davey is planning to sell his companies, valued at £100m, in February and hopes the cash could pave the wave to fulfilling his boyhood dream of owning a professional football club.

A spokesman for Ipswich Town Football Club could not say whether there had been any formal approach from Mr Davey, due to matters of financial confidentiality.

But he added club chairman David Sheepshanks would be happy to send Mr Davey a prospectus about Town's current share offer to fans.

After last night's meeting Mr Doncaster issued a statement which said: "It was a productive and helpful meeting. Colin is looking to buy a football club and to be its chairman – something which is obviously not available to him at Carrow Road.

"We are glad that a line has been drawn under the matter and wish Colin well with finding a club to buy."

Davey confirmed: "I am looking to acquire a controlling interest in a football club. I was hoping that Delia and Michael would want to sell me their shares, but I respect their decision not to. I will now explore other opportunities elsewhere."

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