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American dream for Canaries - or just pie in the sky

PUBLISHED: 06:43 19 February 2010 | UPDATED: 08:15 02 July 2010

Michael Bailey

Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association chairman John Tilson believes fans should trust the judgement of the club's board after reports that American suitors would consider investing in the Canaries.

Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association chairman John Tilson believes fans should trust the judgement of the club's board after reports that American suitors would consider investing in the Canaries.

American merchant banker Joe Kosich revealed yesterday that he had been contacted by money men in the United States who like the look of what City have to offer - and would therefore help ease City's record debt burden of £23m as well as plugging a £2.5m gap in their finances for the 2010-11 season.

Accounting firm Deloitte are currently putting together a set of recommendations for the City board and during his webchat yesterday afternoon, City director Stephan Phillips confirmed: "The search for new investment is something all fans know about.

"As you know Deloitte have been retained by the football club to mount a professional search for the right sort of investment for our club. The club were approached by an agent and we have referred them to Deloitte."

Tilson believes the record of foreign investment leading to success at English clubs should lead City to be cautious over where they can generate fresh capital from.

He said: "Apart from Randy Lerner at Aston Villa, US investment at Liverpool and Manchester United has left a lot to be desired as far as the fans are concerned.

"You've got to say at this moment in time Norwich fans trust the judgement of (chief executive) David McNally and (chairman) Alan Bowkett on what they have done so far and we would have to go along with what they decide.

"Foreign investment in football in this country has had far more failures than success and it seems strange Keith Harris was unable to find anyone to help out, while the man across the pond already has possibilities lined up.

"We do want someone to come along and give us a big injection of money to get us out of this muddle, but you have to bear in mind what has happened at other clubs."

Kosich, based in North Carolina, helped Tom Hicks and George Gillett take over at Liverpool three years ago. He is working with the Cub 9 Sports consortium on a £20m takeover at Sheffield Wednesday and has been recommending the Canaries to investors looking for a football alternative to Major League Soccer.

He said: "I've received several calls on the back of it about the situation in Norwich, about going into the club and what is going on there.

"We are trying to compare and contrast a Championship-level club and let's say someone considering buying into the MLS.

"Here a club would cost $30-40m plus the costs of constructing a smallish stadium by English standards.

"If you take a look, it is better to invest in a strong Champion-ship side.

"In my view nothing is serious until there are letters of intention, but people are making pointed inquiries to me. Norwich seems an interesting one for them."

Kosich added: "The community in Norwich should be extremely proud of the level of support they give their team.

"It helps value the club higher than it otherwise would.

"It hasn't been a good last few years and to keep the level of support so high is excellent.

"I wish the management in Norwich all the success in finding the investment capital and I'm hoping we can play some role in that. It is a gem of a club."

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