So, Daniel Farke has gone.
I can understand the decision. Prior to Brentford our record was abysmal. Having a measly two points and the worst goal difference in the Premier League era (-22) after 10 games is dire by any standard. As Farke himself alluded to, the bus driver could have done better. But at Brentford, Farkeball seemed to be back. We appeared to show the fight and passion you required to be competitive in this league. But in football there is no room for sentiment.
As Farke bowed out on a high, hopefully, he will be remembered for all his achievements at the club. His tenure at the club has been fantastic, with two promotions under his belt, a record points tally set, and his willingness to invest in young talent has seen us produce youth prospects at a rate the club has never seen before. We should be thankful for the contributions Farke and his team have made to the club we love, and we should all wish them all the best for the future.
So then, the big question. Who’s next?
We all know that succession planning is a large part of Stuart Webber’s role as Sporting Director, so he will have several names in mind for our next managerial appointment. The international break is the perfect time to get a fresh start, bed in new staff and enable them to assess at least some of the team.
Firstly, I wanted to bring up a few names that some people will call for who will not be the next Norwich manager (in my opinion, I have been wrong before):
- Sam Allardyce
- Roy Hodgson
- Frank Lampard
- Steve Bruce
- Tony Pulis
- Neil Warnock
- Eddie Howe (the fact he is seemingly set for Newcastle hopefully puts this one to bed)
With those out the way, here are some of the names that I believe could have made Stuart Webber’s list:
Diego Martínez – Unattached
Left Granada at the end of last season after the best season in the club’s history, taking them all the way to the quarterfinals of the Europa League, losing to Manchester United. In the 3 seasons he was at Nuevo Los Cármenes he led the Nazaríes to consecutive top-half finishes in La Liga and the semi-final of the Copa del Rey. Martínez was the youngest manager in La Liga last season, preferring to play a counterattacking 4-2-3-1 which would match the personnel we have within the squad, and the style required to keep us in the league.
However, he has previously deployed teams in 5-3-2 and 4-4-2 when required. He managed Sevilla B between 2014 and 2017 so has experience with youth, and additionally has experience working alongside a Sporting Director.
Hannes Wolf – Germany U19
Hannes Wolf is currently the coach for the German Under-19 national team, having returned from his stint as Caretaker Manager at Bayer Leverkusen at the end of last season. Experienced with youth development, Wolf led VfB Stuttgart back to the Bundesliga in 2016-17 after their disastrous relegation (they had won the Bundesliga 10 years prior). Known for his development of youngsters. Julian Weigl, Christian Pulisic and Benjamin Pavard have all prospered under Hannes Wolf’s tutelage.
After helping Die Werkself qualify for the Europe League last season, Wolf was praised by Leverkusen’s sporting director Rudi Völler, who called him “effective and productive” and thanked him for helping them get out of the mire they had found themselves in.
Domenico Tedesco – Unattached
How does modern, attacking, fast-paced football played with a high degree of tactical intelligence and managed by a Head Coach who Jürgen Klopp named as one of the most exciting talents in German coaching sound? Unrealistic? Almost certainly. But who knows?
Having left Spartak Moscow second in the Russian Premier League this summer for family reasons, maybe he would see a project at Norwich as a good opportunity to oversee a project closer to his home? A Christian Heidel prodigy like Tuchel and Klopp, Tedesco saved Erzgebirge Aue from relegation to the third division in truly remarkable fashion, stepping up from Hoffenheim’s Under-19s to see the team that were rock bottom in early March to second-tier safety. He only oversaw 11 matches, but completely turned the team’s fortunes around winning 6 and drawing 2 of the fixtures.
Prior to going to Moscow, Tedesco led Schalke to second place in the Bundesliga in the 2017/18 season but was fired after seven games without a win with the team having slipped to 15th place in early March 2019.
Christophe Pelissier – FC Lorient
Now this really would be a coup. Pelissier has Lorient playing attractive positive football, having overseen their promotion from Ligue 2 and then finish comfortably mid-table. In 2014 he led Luzenac, a club from a village of 500 people, to an incredible promotion to Ligue 2, only to see his incredible achievement destroyed by the French FA, who refused to allow the club to become professional because of stadium issues, which meant they could not be promoted.
He subsequently moved to Amiens, seeing them to back-to-back promotions. I would be incredibly surprised if Pelissier wanted to come to Norwich as he has his team 11th in Ligue 1, but maybe Webber can work his magic and convince him to give the Premier League a go?
Paul Warne – Rotherham
A lot of people will be calling for the ex-Canary Mark Robins to get the job, and Russell Martin will be another name thrown about. But what about a different British manager with connections to the club? It might sound like an odd suggestion, but if we are having issues with player psychology then there may be few better suited to turn the situation around than Paul Warne.
A lifelong City fan, Warne has experience in relegation battles and is well known and highly regarded for his outlook on sports psychology. He employs a very high press with his team pressing from the front, something a lot of people have been calling for. Last season Rotherham were second only to Barnsley in challenge intensity, whilst having a PPDA (Passes Per Defensive Action – number of passes a team allows their opposition to have before performing a defensive action) of 8.42 as of the 10th of February.
Whereas Robbins has his team firing on all cylinders and may not desire a move, and Martin has only recently joined the Swans and got them going, Warne has been with Rotherham for a while and, despite loving the club, may be able to be tempted away by the prospect of managing his boyhood club in the Premier League.
I thought I’d throw out some other names that just missed out on my list:
Gaizka Garitano – SD Eibar
Ryan Mason – Tottenham (Assistant)
Willy Sagnol – Georgia (Was Bayern Munich’s caretaker manager last year)
Carlos Corberán – Huddersfield
Alexander Nouri – Unattached (most recently Hertha BSC caretaker manager)
Lucien Favre – Unattached (most recently of Borussia Dortmund)
Anthony Hudson – USA (Assistant)
Letting Farke know of his situation after having performed his media duties feels harsh. It stings that it came after a win. But the board must have been sure, you don’t simply sack your manager on a whim.
Who they have in mind for the job I cannot pretend to know. I’m not even sure if some of the individuals on my list would qualify to work for us. But I’m certain that Webber will have plenty of options in mind. Let’s hope that our next manager has the ability to help us succeed in the Premier League, and can have as big an impact, or even bigger, than Daniel Farke.