Delia's delighted for top-flight Canaries

Last updated at 09:31 22 April 2004

Delia Smith is ready for the challenge of the Barclaycard Premiership - but warned Norwich will not be breaking the bank in a bid to compete with the elite of English football.

The Canaries secured automatic promotion to the top flight when Crystal Palace trounced 10-man Sunderland 3-0 at Selhurst Park last night.

That result ensures Norwich will finish in the top two and so end a nine-year exile from the Premier League.

Just a year before their relegation, Mike Walker's men had dumped Bayern Munich out of the UEFA Cup after finishing third in the 1992/1993 table behind Manchester United and Aston Villa.

Huge investment

Along with husband Michael Wynn-Jones, majority shareholder Smith has ploughed millions of her own money into the club, saving them from administration after joining the board in the summer of 1996.

But after working so hard to achieve promotion, the TV celebrity chef does not intend to sacrifice the long-term future of the Norfolk club in an all-or-nothing bid to stay up.

"We do remember. We have had a long hard trek in the desert and now the Promised Land is there," reflected Smith on BBC Radio Five Live.

"We know how tough it is going be. We all like a challenge.

"Our football club does not have money, but my God it has got a lot of spirit."

Smith help fund the purchase of strikers Darren Huckerby, Leon McKenzie and Mathias Svensson at Christmas, which helped propel Norwich back into the top flight.

However, she was quick to praise the efforts of all of Nigel Worthington's staff.

"The ingredients this year where just a fantastic effort by the manager, the coaches and the team," added Smith.

"We have had a fantastic season and only lost seven games. Congratulations to them for their hard work."

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