Norwich City has smashed its £3.5m target through its mini-bond or Canaries Bond, allowing it to move forward with the construction of its academy.

The Championship football club raised its maximum limit to £5m after it proved to be in overwhelming demand. It was issued through sports investment platform Tifosy.

The full public launch, which was planned for March 28, has been scrapped and the opportunity to invest will not be made available to the general public.

The Academy at Colney Training Ground is being revamped with a brief to bring through more first-team players, as part of a long-term strategy to build a sustainable future for the club while continuing to develop a first-team squad capable of being promoted to the Premier League.

Norwich City managing director Steve Stone said: “When we were initially looking at the concept of a Canaries Bond I was confident we would achieve our target of £3.5m, but I did not anticipate the level of demand that we have experienced to reach our maximum investment of £5m, with more than 700 investors backing the Bond.

“This fantastic level of additional support will allow us to further enhance the fitness, educational and analytical facilities in the academy itself, as well as significantly improving facilities for visitors to Colney, whether that be academy players’ families or spectators watching academy matches. This is a vital part of our wider strategy for the club in the seasons ahead.

“We’ve capped the Bond at £5m in order to sensibly manage our repayment commitments to investors. We appreciate that some fans will be disappointed the Bond has closed before they had a chance to invest and we will be announcing further ways in which our great fans can lend their support to our academy in the near future”.

The issue of the Canaries Bond was a key part of that strategy – involving supporters in the funding of vital infrastructure projects while protecting core club operations budgets.

Supporters were invited to pre-register for priority access to the investment on March 8, and, on the first day, more than 220 fans invested more than £1m. Overall, more than 700 people have invested into the £5m total raised.

The bond will pay five per cent gross interest annually, with an additional three per cent gross in club credit, to be spent on matchday tickets, hospitality, the club shop, among other items.

In a bid to share in future success with their fans, investors will also be paid a one-off 25 per cent bonus if the club is promoted during the lifetime of the mini-bond.

Tifosy chief executive Fausto Zanetton said: “We are delighted to have helped Norwich City raise £5m to invest in its academy. We have been blown away by the speed with which this group of fans have smashed the target for the raise and reached the maximum amount. This is unprecedented in English football.”

Image: Ronnie MacDonald