How to make a fool of yourself in public, by Delia Smith

As the first lady of the kitchen, Delia Smith is known to millions of devotees for dispensing advice on anything from omelettes to non-stick pans with trademark serenity.

As the first lady of the kitchen, Delia Smith is known to millions of devotees for dispensing advice on anything from omelettes to non-stick pans with trademark serenity.

But her performance on Monday night in front of a capacity crowd at her beloved Norwich City FC had the restraint and composure of Gordon Ramsay during the hottest moments of Hell's Kitchen .

As a director of the relegation-threatened Premier League club, Ms Smith is thought to have enjoyed corporate hospitality before taking her seat in the VIP box with her husband and fellow director, Michael Wynn Jones, for the evening kick-off against Manchester City.

After witnessing a 2-0 lead surrendered by a team whose wages she has partly bankrolled through her culinary empire, she decided it was time for some route-one tactics.

Emerging unsteadily on to the Carrow Road turf, wrapped up in a fur-trimmed coat and team scarf, she grabbed the microphone. The ensuing attempt to rouse the home crowd left them wondering whether she had perhaps overindulged in the fallen chocolate soufflé and Armagnac prunes cooked to her recipe in the stadium restaurant.

"A message for the best football supporters in the world," boomed Ms Smith's voice. "We need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Come on! Let's be having you!"

Her intervention appeared to backfire because the crowd was more subdued in the second half, even more so when their team was reduced to 10 men and the visitors took all three points with a goal from Robbie Fowler.

Yesterday, as millions saw pictures of her performance, Delia admitted in a statement that in trying to revive the spirit of a recent triumph, she may not have chosen "the best words".

"My message to the fans at half-time last night was a totally spontaneous appeal from the heart aimed at trying to do everything we could to get behind [manager] Nigel Worthington and the team.

"I was remembering the amazing response from our supporters when we were 4-1 down against Middlesbrough recently and they sang their hearts out.

"The media all agreed with Nigel after the game that the tremendous reaction from our fans in that situation had been a key factor in the amazing turnaround which followed and described them as 'adding a 12th man'.

"Maybe in the heat of the moment I didn't choose the best words, but what I was trying to do last night was tap in to that again."

The talk among fans was less of the impending relegation struggle and more about what prompted Ms Smith to such actions.

A club spokesman yesterday refused to disclose what she had been eating and if she had been drinking before the match.

Instead, he focused on the director's spontaneity and passion for the club in which she has invested more than £7mbecoming one of a select band of women to sit in the boardroom of a club in football's top flight.

He said: "Delia Smith is exceptionally passionate about all things Norwich City. Last night's event was not planned, it was a spontaneous act on behalf of Delia born out of the passion she has for Norwich City Football Club."

A poll conducted by the Norwich Evening News , reveals that 70 per cent found her behaviour "embarrassing" rather than "rousing".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders