Norwich City in takeover talks

TAKEOVER talks are back on between Norwich City and billionaire businessman Peter Cullum, it is understood.

TAKEOVER talks are back on between Norwich City and billionaire businessman Peter Cullum, it is understood.

Two months after the dreams of City fans were dashed when the sides parted without agreement on Mr Cullum's £20m ownership offer, the latest Carrow Road cash crisis has revived negotiations.

Due to the delicate nature of the talks, neither the club nor Mr Cullum would publicly declare that the lines of communication were open.

But it is understood that they are talking - revitalising the hopes of fans who believe the Norfolk-born executive chairman of insurance giant Towergate will one day bankroll a return to the Premiership.

No-one at Norwich City would comment, but former City youth player Mr Cullum hinted at a thaw in relations by saying: “The door was always open and it's never closed.”

Despite negotiations being underway he is publicly remaining cagey, just two months after his second attempt to hand over £20m for new players in exchange for Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones's majority shareholding ended in a brusque parting of the ways.

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The entrepreneur, whose estimated fortune of £1.7bn puts him at number 40 on the British rich list, said: “The onus is on the football club to come to me.

“I've made a couple of approaches and I was in danger of becoming a serious irritant. On that basis I will sit back and wait.”

The twist comes 24 hours after it was revealed that Delia, 67 and husband Michael, 67 this month, were prepared to talk to investors of all sizes, including those interested in buying the club, which they have jointly owned since 1997.

Their decision followed the shock departure of millionaire directors Andrew and Sharon Turner, who quit the board in recent days - leaving City short of £1.5m they had pledged to put into the club this season.

On Tuesday, City chairman Roger Munby hinted at communication with Mr Cullum when he confirmed that talks were ongoing with “more than one” potential investor, and said there was “certainly a possibility” of dialogue being reopened with Mr Cullum.

Mr Cullum, 57, said he was “intrigued” to learn of the Turners' sudden departure.

He added that he remained “perplexed” at twice having his offer rejected - once at the end of last year when City were at the foot of the Championship and once in July.

He said: “I'm not going to be childish and refuse to have any further conversation, but that's down to Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.

“Three points out of 12 is not good, even though I got a good report that they played will against Birmingham City. What I would hate to see is another relegation struggle.

“I don't know the state of the finances but they can't be in great shape. When the published results are made available the trading results will be negative. Whatever business you are, if you have got a negative trading result you go down the toilet.”