Many of you will have heard about Norwich City Sporting Director Stuart Webber’s proposed 2023 attempt to reach the pinnacle of the world. No, not to achieve a Champions League place but to climb Mount Everest.
I must admit to feeling a bit torn about this, from a City point of view.
On one hand, I find it refreshing we have someone with such amazing get-up-and-go leading the club on a sporting level. Someone patently with the vision to identify highly ambitious targets; someone with the desire to gain the skills to achieve them; and finally the chutzpah to follow through and complete the job.
All highly commendable and desirable qualities. In a Sporting Director.
However, on the other North Face-gloved hand, this does seem to be happening on ‘our’ time (ie. the club’s) when perhaps other more relevant and potent problems are facing us and waggling their icy fists in our face. I can only assume these extra-curricular activities were agreed as part of the package when he stayed on after last season.
But maybe the two aren’t entirely incompatible and, hopefully, the club and fans will ultimately benefit.
But that’s not all there is at stake. There is a charity involved, and that can only be good. But which charity is Stuart climbing for?
The organisation is called ‘The Summit Foundation’, a charity founded by Stuart and his wife Zoe Webber (who also sits on the City board as an Executive Director).
Their website – thesummitfoundation.co.uk – describes its aims as follows:
‘(The foundation) aims to create awareness and opportunities for young people to help them achieve their potential. It works with other charitable organisations to create programmes to educate and create better lives.
‘The aims are simple, (to) help our little corner of the world to get better and let the youth of today educate and provide a better way for the people of tomorrow.
‘Society is in a challenging place and it’s never been harder for young people to find direction, we need to show young people that their aspirations can be achieved irrespective of their background. It’s hard for young people to break the poverty cycle, by encouraging better well-being, through nutrition, sleep and exercise, we can help create better educational attainment and better opportunities.
‘We also aim to inspire brighter futures and build the confidence in young people to take that step on their own journey. Some of our fundraising activities will also focus on encouraging children to achieve.’
Very positive, very ambitious, and very generous. Exciting aims worth supporting.
As part of his training, Stuart aims to climb six peaks in 2022. They are as follows: Cotopaxi and Chimborazo in Ecuador in June; Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso in the Alps in September; and Island Peak in the Himalayas in November.
To accompany the challenges he plans a supportive online offering called ‘The Climb Podcast’ (with Jonathan Parramint) which launches on 14 April.
Looking at the big picture, regardless of possible work conflicts, this is an extraordinary challenge for Stuart to take on and extremely worthy of our support to ensure as many people as possible and hopefully society as a whole benefit as a result.
As such, I register it with the classification: ‘Good thing’. And I hope you agree.
It’s so important, especially in these difficult times, to support anybody trying to make good things happen for themselves, for the people around them, and for society as a whole. In fact, I think this is a time for heroes, and in this context, Stuart Webber is a hero.
PS. One small thought, from a City perspective, if Stuart does make it up Everest, will he plant a City flag in the little tuft of snow at the top?
Would be nice to see a bit of green and yellow fluttering away on Sagamartha at the top of the world – ‘the Peak of Heaven’.