By using Norwichtalk.com services you agree to our Cookies Use and Data Transfer outside the EU.
We and our partners operate globally and use cookies, including for analytics, personalisation, ads and Newsletters.

Webber in 'The Telegraph'

OldRobert

OldRobert

Well-Known Member
I make no apology for half hitching this article from elsewhere:

Stuart Webber knows instinctively what is coming. “Every expert on TV before the Liverpool game will be writing us off,” Norwich City’s sporting director says. “It’ll be, ‘They have spent no money, it is a disgrace, what are the owners doing, they are stitching the manager up’ . . . blah blah blah.

“Internally, as staff and players, we have to utilise that, ‘The whole world thinks you are not good enough because they think we should sign ten new players — what does that say about you?’ That is pretty disrespectful to some of our players.”

The coming months will reveal whether Norwich can defy expectations and remain in the Premier League but, in the meantime, other preconceptions can be challenged with rather more haste.


The insinuation lingers that this is a club that has lacked ambition in readying itself for a first return to the top flight since 2016, particularly given that a trip to Anfield lies in wait on Friday, yet that depends entirely on the barometer by which City are to be measured.

If the gauge is spending £100 million à la Fulham last summer, a spree that ended in a speedy return to the Sky Bet Championship, or Aston Villa this time around — £134 million and counting — then Webber makes no apologies for not meeting that criterion.

Alternatively, scratch below the surface and a cluster of young talents have signed new contracts rather than being sold, Daniel Farke, the manager, has committed his future and there is a revamped, state-of-the-art training ground that cost £6 million and replaced the 49 Portakabins that had previously constituted their base.

The wage bill will rise to £65 million and Norwich hope the four signings they have made — Josip Drmic and Sam Byram plus Ralf Fährmann and Patrick Roberts on loan — can become the latest examples of how to manipulate the market. Just as Teemu Pukki’s arrival on a free transfer from Brondby a year ago resulted in 29 goals and proved a catalyst for progress.

They are backing youth, players such as Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey, placing faith in a squad that scored 93 goals in winning the Championship with 94 points, trusting a manager Webber believes could become world class to eke out more improvement and putting foundations in place that will ensure that, were the worst to happen, relegation is not a disaster. “We might not be able to buy superstars, but we can create them,” Webber says in a neat precis of the club’s mantra.

“Coming up has enabled us to get back on a financial footing which will last a long time for this club. It has allowed us to tie down assets which, otherwise, we might have had to sell and it has allowed us to invest massively in an infrastructure which will be here for ever.

“We could have sold a Max Aarons for a considerable sum to then help us build the squad but we spoke about keeping this group together because we still think there is a lot of growth in the current players.

“Whether they are good enough to stay in the Premier League we are going to find out. We don’t know. But we could spend £100 million and not know.

“We cannot talk about the harmony of the group being a major strength and then panic. We actually don’t think we need a major rebuild. We didn’t think we had massive gaps.”

History is on their side. No side winning the Championship have been relegated immediately since Cardiff in 2014, while the past has also helped to point the way forward.

The reality is that Norwich tried spending big on previous flirtations with the elite only to flatline, and it has taken promotion to resolve the financial mess that came with that flawed splurge.

This summer, a bonus payment was made to Everton relating to a promotion clause in Steven Naismith’s contract when he joined for £8.5 million in January 2016. Naismith’s last game for the club was in August 2017 and he spent the last 18 months of his three-year deal on loan at Heart of Midlothian.

The sales of James Maddison and the Murphys, Josh and Jacob, in recent years were not with a view to reinvestment but borne out of necessity. “The biggest problem in my time here is that we have made nearly £70 million net in transfers and 95 per cent of it has gone to pay off misdemeanours, not improving things,” Webber says. “If we get to next summer and decide to sell a player for a considerable sum of money then, whatever league we are in, that money can be reinvested.”

Webber has been entrusted with pulling a fresh blueprint together by the owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones, with success in East Anglia adding depth to the work previously undertaken at Huddersfield Town where he was behind the recruitment of David Wagner.

The 35-year-old, who spent three years in Liverpool’s recruitment department earlier in his career, moved to Norwich in 2017, repeating the model of hiring a German coach — as with Wagner — from Borussia Dortmund’s second team.

One of the attractions was Farke’s work ethic. Cameras have been installed at Norwich’s training ground to film every session, which can be followed live by a team of analysts.

A case study of Farke’s ability to nurture talent would be Godfrey, the 21-year-old who was signed from York City aged 18 and has been transformed from defensive midfielder to centre back. Webber thinks he will play for England.

“Daniel has the potential to be a world class coach and he has the potential to one day be stood in Liverpool’s dugout, managing them, not managing against them,” Webber says.

“When I was appointed here or when I appointed Daniel, or David at Huddersfield, it was very clear — this is what this club is. If you want a club that is going to spend £40 million on a striker then don’t come.

“We are not saying to Daniel, ‘You must keep us up.’ He should be protected in his job, not be the fall guy. We will either be successful or we will fail but we are not going to fail by doing a popularity contest of ‘we must spend £40 million because there is £40 million to spend’.

“Our fans are educated enough to know we have spent a lot of money before and it didn’t work. They know the money isn’t being siphoned off into owners’ pockets. Every penny stays within the club and they know we will spend it wisely so that they have a better club at the end of it. We want to become sustainable, really healthy and successful. It would be great if, in five years, we are seen as a club that people want to be like and think, ‘We need to visit Norwich to see what they are doing.’ ”

Excellent stuff imo. :cool:
 
Top