Yitzhak Rabin was a tough soldier, rising through the ranks to become Israel’s Chief of the General Staff. When he became Prime Minister, though, he devoted much of his time to exploring a peace deal with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Though ultimately unsuccessful, their efforts won them the Nobel Peace Prize.
Asked why he was spending so much time with the other side, Rabin’s answer was simple: “You don’t make peace with your friends. You make peace with your enemies”.
In a similar way, our ethical principles only count when they’re under challenge. It’s easy to hold moral beliefs when everything’s fine. But our ideas of how to treat people are only really tested when others behave badly towards us. Do those beliefs stand, or do we abandon them?
At a more mundane level, this applies to our beliefs about Norwich City too. It was easy to preach patience and giving time to the new regime before the season started, or after the QPR win.
It’s put to the test, though, by days like Saturday. Some who were sagely saying “we know there’ll be ups and downs” three days earlier are now tweeting and shouting their impatience for all to hear.
Even when we disagree, I like and admire almost all my fellow Canary supporters. There was genuine dismay in reaction to the news that one of our fans had abused disabled QPR supporters, and I understand some of our fans helped to identify the culprit and allow the club to take action. That’s the way it should be.
Having said that, I can’t always be diplomatic. Those now saying “let’s give Farke ten games” are simply idiots.
Some words are horribly over-used, including ‘revolution’. In the case of our club, though, it’s surely the only appropriate term.
We have a new team, for a start. If Russ had failed his fitness test before the Fulham game – where he played well, by the way – then not a single player who began our final game of 2016-17 would have begun the first one of 2017-18.
Together with a completely new structure, coaching staff and football philosophy, this was change on a grand scale. Of course it’s going to take time.
How much time?
Many, understandably, point to the comparison with David Wagner and Huddersfield. But I wonder how many of them have actually looked at the record. Wagner at Huddersfield is a story of success, but not a story of instant success.
Wagner took over as Head Coach at Huddersfield on 5 November 2015. His first 15 league games produced 5 wins, 2 draws and 8 defeats. The full season record from the point he took over was won 10, drew 6, lost 15.
Huddersfield’s success only began from the start of the following season.
The comparison is complicated, of course, by the fact that Wagner joined Huddersfield mid-season. It’s true that he didn’t have the immediate influx of players that Stuart Webber has facilitated for Daniel Farke at Norwich.
However, there are special downsides and challenges facing Daniel Farke. Going into Huddersfield’s promotion campaign, Wagner had the huge benefit of two-thirds of a season’s experience in the Championship. Just as important, he’d had that time to work with Stuart Webber in planning the summer transfer window.
We know that Stuart is a planner. Right now he’ll be working on the January 2018 window for us, at the same time as trying to squeeze whatever we can out of the current one. With Daniel Farke only arriving at the end of May, this summer’s window was a scramble – something Stuart can cope with, but not his real style.
It has to be, and it is clearly is, a work in progress. Of course the concerns are understandable, especially at those times when our defence looks as porous as last season. And as Gary pointed out on Sunday, the clock is not our friend. The playing budget had to be cut this season, and if we don’t go up it will have to be cut again.
The impatience would be more understandable, though, if there weren’t positive signs – if it all looked just like last year. But it doesn’t. At Fulham and against QPR, the signs of a better philosophy and stronger character were clear.
We can’t play as we did against Sunderland or Villa and hope to succeed, of course. On the other hand, Huddersfield’s form in Wagner’s first few months was at least as patchy, and less worthy of confidence than Farke’s start.
I fully understand and respect if others aren’t as convinced as I am that Daniel Farke – with the backing of Stuart Webber and Steve Stone – will lead us to success. But it’s surely a change that demands some patience and understanding from us.
And not just when we win.