The view within the Norwich-supporting bubble is a very different one to that being espoused by fans of other clubs across the country.
Forget the rather bizarre and twisted perception that our country cousins down the A140 currently have of the world following the takeover by new American investors. With just five games remaining we now have fans of Championship and lower Premier League teams sneering at our position – on the cusp of an immediate return to the Premier League – and trying to pervert what is our reality.
Despite being 15 points clear of third place and only two points away from automatic promotion, we have fans of other clubs looking at what we have achieved and deciding to paint a rather less positive representation of our position.
It’s very similar to VAR – our perfectly clear view of an incredible season is now being over-analysed by clueless people claiming to be experts. And very much like the misguided bunch at Stockley Park, the verdict is very often so far from removed what actually happened it’s scarcely believable.
We’ve all heard the ‘there’s no outstanding team in the Championship’ noise, but we’re now getting the dismissive ‘you’re only winning the league because of parachute payments’; ‘you won’t survive in the Premier League because you can’t defend’; and ‘Norwich are a boring yo-yo club’. I’ve also seen this particularly disturbing and Trumpian take on reality: ‘Farke is inflexible as a coach and has no Plan B’.
While these comments should really just be dismissed and quickly forgotten, why should we let these people distort the focus on this side’s superb season so far?
Is it right to allow critics to utterly fail to see how Daniel Farke has reshaped and re-energised a side that crashed spectacularly out of the Premier League? To trash the strength of character and resolve this set of players has consistently displayed? Or to dismiss the achievements of the young players that have belied their perceived lack of experience to put other more seasoned pros in the league to shame?
This Norwich side is far too good to be described as not being defensively strong and lacking tactical flexibility – or dismissed as an expensively assembled squad that was always going to crush other teams by the sheer weight of its financial muscle.
Outside the club, there is a lack of appreciation for the fact the departed Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis had been integral elements in the Canaries’ back four in both the Championship-winning season and the less-than-successful top-flight campaign.
Having seen the way Godfrey has surprised both Everton and Premier League fans alike, the impact of his absence on Farke’s side could have been serious.
Yet we have the shrewd and innovative player recruitment skills of Stuart Webber. Ben Gibson was a masterstroke and the addition of Dimitris Giannoulis has seen us become a more balanced unit since he established himself as our first-choice left-back.
There will be multi-million-pound signings come the end of the season, but they will be bought with the knowledge Premier League money is on its way rather than with the supposed hundreds of millions we apparently have already received from parachute payments that are tucked under Delia’s mattress.
It’s so short-sighted of other fans to dismiss the achievements of a head coach who has always backed youth and talent rather than spinning a roulette wheel on huge signings that may never deliver anything near what their value would suggest. (*Cough*, Stephen Naismith, *cough*)
Here’s a team that relies on the contributions of Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell, seen notable contributions from Adam Idah and Josh Martin, and that has been held together by Daniel Barden and Andrew Omibamidele whern crisis loomed. Drafting in one of the best young English midfielders in Oliver Skipp has contributed enormously too.
Youth is reinforced by desire. We’ve given Emi Buendia and Teemu Pukki the platform to show they can perform on the biggest stages. We have reinvigorated the careers of Tim Krul and Grant Hanley. European journeymen like Marco Stiepermann and Mario Vrancic have found a home.
It’s been an intoxicating blend. Not the rather bland, flat and overpriced beverage that’s being claimed we serve up.
The frankly ludicrous claims that we are defensively suspect seem to stem from last season’s post-Project Restart capitulation, rather than anything this team has achieved this season.
A total of 28 league goals conceded this season from 41 matches is superb, especially when Krul, Barden and Michael McGovern have all had turns between the sticks behind Hanley, Gibson, Zimmerman and Omibamidele moving in and out of the centre back spots due to injury.
If anything it suggests that Farke is the opposite of inflexible in the way he has adapted his playing staff to the varying challenges the squad has had to face. In the face of injuries, suspensions, illness, the avalanche of matches, and international call-ups, he’s honed a playing style that’s been universally accepted across his squad and applied in a far more robust fashion than in the previous Championship-winning season.
It’s been a remarkable campaign. It’s been very easy on the eye and an utter pleasure to witness – though it would have been even better savouring it from the stands.
While others try to spoil that picture and to repaint the achievements of this squad as being far less vibrant than they actually are, we should look away for now.
If all goes to plan next season, the view looking down on some of our critics could be very sweet indeed.
mytic kev says
Here here mate its called jealousy let them get on with it we know The score all The Best 😉
Well said. Though the negative comments say MUCH more about the commentator than they do about NCFC.
Never mind the danger……
Be interesting to see the names of these commentators. The only one springs to mind is that idiot Savage
martin penney says
Ignore the noise, a wise German fella once said. And continues to say.
well said, look around the championship and leagues below to see teams who have not bounced back to the golden league. It speaks…. no it shouts how good the Norwich set up is. That breeds jealousy from many quarters,
The voices from the supposed big clubs are nothing but full of arrogance, they have been the same for years. I expect nothing else, no other team has a right to be successful in their eyes. They pile on, not understanding why they can not bully Little Ole Norwich into selling the jewels for the price they set.
One reason I do not like the setup of the premier league. Hate the arrogance of the clubs and their supporters, many of who would not turn up on a freezing night in November to watch their team play Wycombe Wanders, should they be relegated.
I have been around Carrow Rd since a 9 yo, back in 1960/61. to know we may suddenly nose dive, so enjoy this while we can, but we will still be there whatever league we are in. Shut ya lughole to all that crap
It’s so much bollocks. I want to support a club that wins titles, because that’s so much better than mid-tabke nothing. I want to support a club that lives within its means, because financial ruin kills more dreams than Project Restart ever did. And sure, we have more money than most, but that’s specifically*because* we didn’t waste it, but gave the lads who got us up the chance to prove their worth.
Premier League is worth millions. Loyalty is priceless.
I think the key thing is this: IF we can achieve EPL stability with this model, the example set may revolutionise the game. Our pride will be like that of someone who builds their own house rather than just buys a turn-key ready made version.
Keep it low…..
Totally agree Nick,
But…….please, please not to play the beautiful game in the way that Burnley and similar sides do. And no VAR!!
If we can manage it playing decent Farkeball with a sprinkling of our own younger players then that will pretty much be Nirvana for me!
O T B C
Stephen Godbold says
To be fair, Burnley have already achieved stability based on a similar model; though not playing as pretty football, it is nonetheless effective. It’s true that we have focussed more on the academy though, and in the long term that will be the critical difference.
If it was anything to do with money, more relegated clubs would go straight back up. I am, however, less confident than you that our new found defensive stability will survive a more thorough examination – we had a lot of luck in the early part of the season, and even in recent games against Luton, Brentford and Preston could have found ourselves one or two down before we woke up.
I think it’s reasonable for fans of other clubs to question us after the appalling capitulation of last season, for which Daniel Farke has yet to offer (or be asked for) any reasonable explanation…..
Tim Ball says
I like all of us hear all the noise from other clubs Martin and basically ignore them.
Supporting City since Nigel Worthington’s arrival has been one hell of a roller coaster ride.
We always seem to have something to play for, and at times it doesn’t do my heart too much good i.e. Preston away !!
Personally I don’t think that the promotions, playoff victory or league titles that we have celebrated over the last 20 years would mean the same without that awful season of relegation from the Championship, the heartache at Cardiff against Birmingham or the sadly repetitive drop from the Premier league.
Would I like to be Manchester City now or Manchester United in their pomp, absolutely but for sheer drama supporting The Great Team is the place to be.
To be like we were in the mid eighties to mid nineties would be fantastic. But it so much harder now.
Owners are like a box of chocolates, you don’t know what you are going to get !!!
I thought when Marcus Evans took over at Ipswich with Mr Keane in charge I thought they will soon be way ahead of us, didn’t turn out that way at all.
Quite a while ago Phil Garside the then Bolton chairman called for the Premier League to become a closed shop. That would be the death of football, loads of meaningless games by October/November and we have enough of them in the Champions League qualifying round.
I love being a Norwich City supporter, I’m proud of the fact we have a great reputation for playing proper football, giving youth a chance and resurrecting many a player’s career.
I love Nick’s comments that we are trying to be a self-funding club and his hope it may become the norm, I would love to see it but I have my doubts.
But at least we are trying.
Jim Davies says
While there have been some of the sneering negative comments you mention, there have also been a lot of supporters of other clubs, and some commentators and pundits singing our praises, particularly after the demolition of Huddersfield last week. Even the BBC sat up and took notice, with loads of positive comments following their match report. Pep Guardiola likes to watch our games, and some might describe him as one-dimensional, and only having one way to play. Seems to have worked for him over the years.
Some people will always sneer at success, but it’s just jealousy, as Kev said above. Long may the fools sneer at our success – if they do, it’ll be because we ARE successful.
Dan Rear says
Marvellous article that Martin, with you completely Sir!. We have much to be proud of currently.
Great article. This season deserves many more like this
Colin M says
Just imagine the media heart break when we beat Leeds Utd and St Marcelo next season.
Water off a duck’s back for me. In my experience these type of comments get aimed at teams enjoying success- so we must be doing something right!
Take for example Man Utd in the 90’s – they swept all before them, playing high tempo attacking football based around a core of players they had developed through their youth teams.
Yet instead of gaining widespread admiration they seemed, to me at least, to be universally despised with fans of most teams happy to see them lose the occasional game!
For any fans who get riled by comments from opposition fans – try to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve seen several complimentary comments from fans, full of praise for how we go about our business.
And also remember, it’s better to be spoken about negatively than totally ignored (see down the A140 for that!).