17th April 2021 – Norwich had been promoted to the Premier League without kicking a ball but for some, it was met with shrugged shoulders rather than excitement.
Because after the bruising experience of 2019-20, many (Including myself), couldn’t see how things would be better the second time around with the club still persisting with a model it claimed to be ambitious but wasn’t.
It was stupidity. And I can say, ‘I told you so’.
Two years on and we are seeing many performances that can only be described as ‘end of an era’.
So what now?
Well, let’s start with the squad.
It’s unbalanced, it’s unmotivated, it’s injury prone, it’s expensive, and simply not good enough for the club’s stated target of being in the country’s top 26.
What a bloody mess.
A fire sale is inevitable but there are only two players that the club could get decent fees for.
Max Aarons, while he has good qualities, has poor attacking stats. Before the Middlesbrough game, Sky compared him to Boro’s left-back, Ryan Giles. Aarons had managed one goal and two assists this season compared to Giles’ 11 assists.
That is why he is still here.
A Premier League club may take a chance on him in the summer but it’s only because Norwich are not in a good negotiating place (his contract is up next summer) and his attacking play does have the potential to improve with good coaching. Right now, his crosses produced are sub-able offences.
Gabriel Sara has shown enough for a club higher in the pyramid to take the punt but it won’t be for much more than Norwich spent on him in the summer. He probably needs to stay another year to develop further but that won’t come into it.
We could go through every player to see whether they should stay or go but the news of Onel Hernandez’s contract extension last week was proof of where this club is currently at.
He’s not been deemed good enough by the club for years now and while it’s great that he cares for the club and has an NCFC tattoo, I must also be just one tattoo away from being a part of the squad if that is now the criteria. He’s been okay under Wagner but nothing more.
Jordan Hugill was similar. The popularity for ‘Hu(no)goals’ was baffling and to have been told by someone I won’t name, that they were looking forward to Hugill’s ‘homecoming’ when Rotherham visited on Easter Monday. It resulted in a headache from the number of times I banged my head on the table.
Hugill has gone, so why am I bringing it up?
I’m writing about it because comparing his treatment to that received by Adam Idah is a bit of joke. Idah has been asked to play on the wing when he is clearly not one and, yes, he has had a lot of injuries but when he plays up top in a two there appears something to build on.
And so onto the club’s hierarchy.
I’ve written for this website numerous times to dive deeper into the self-funding model and based on facts:
- It was always going to fall apart once a promotion was beyond reach (At the time of writing, it is still mathematically possible).
- You shouldn’t need to take out a £66m loan if you are self-funding.
- The two seasons in the Premier League under the model have resulted in 76 games played, 10 wins, 13 draws, 53 defeats, goals scored 49, goals conceded 159, and a goal difference of -110.
Once the Blackpool game is out of the way, the fans need to be told what the future looks like. Stuart Webber needs to swallow a little pride and speak to us via the local media and not via an edited in-house interview shared on YouTube.
I’ve always been largely a defender of Webber as I do sympathise that his hands have been tied in regards to transfer dealings (they had to sell Emi Buendia in order to sign players in the summer of 2021) but his attitude towards the fanbase, local media and anyone who dares criticise him, is petty and childish and show exactly why a lot of good people have left the football club over the last few years.
I’ve heard some stories about what has happened behind the scenes but will keep them to myself as I don’t want a lawsuit landing on my lap.
Some people make the point that most football club’s sporting directors, don’t ever speak to the local media but you can’t decide to change the course or direction when things start to go south.
He won’t be going anywhere though. After all, among those who would be asked to fire the bullet is his wife. That should never be the case and that is a damming indictment on those who made that call – the club’s owners.
Delia and Michael have never been my favourite people (not helped by that arrogant interview they gave in 2016 to The Telegraph) but any credit that they are getting for bringing the Attanasios on board, is misguided. Let’s not forget, they wouldn’t even be in the picture if Michael Foulger hadn’t decided to call it a day.
Football clubs go through cycles and the latest in the history of Norwich is done. The new cycle starts in the summer of 2023 but hopefully with news that the Americans are fully on board, which would bring with it the reset this club so desperately needs.
A reset that gets rid of the feeling around some of the fanbase that the Championship is a better league to be a part of than the Prem League. Why are we not aiming to be amongst the best?
It’s a reset that needs to instill the belief that Norwich can be a sustainable club among the elite with the correct funding, scouting, and behind-the-scenes structure.
A reset that doesn’t look at other football clubs who are in the worst position and say, ‘Well, at least we are not them’.
And a reset that forever rids of the ‘Little old Norwich’ tage.
Friends of mine always fire at me the usual, ‘But who can Norwich attract? We are in the middle of nowhere’.
That, to me, is just an excuse.
There have been numerous football clubs who, based on where they are located, can only be described as s**tholes that have, or still are, having prolonged eras in the Premier League.
It needs to be a reset where the owners won’t be caught laughing once relegation is confirmed (like at Villa away last season) or state after relegation to League One at the Valley (Charlton 4, City 2) that at least it wasn’t as bad as the 6-0 away at Fulham.
I gave my season ticket up three years ago because I had no belief in the club but for the 20,000+ who have renewed ahead of next season, it’s time to give them some fresh hope.
Excellent article Joseph giving an accurate picture of where the club now stands under its woeful owners.
They inherited a premier league club with land assets and over twenty six years turned it into favourites for a return to league 1 with debts of £50-60 million.
You only have to look at the crowd after 90 minutes against Swansea to see supporters have finally had enough of Delia’s nonsense.
The time to step aside is long overdue!
Well said, you have covered all the bases. Ipswich will be well up for the two derbys next season providing they get the points they need for promotion, which I think they will. A good clear out of players is needed.
They clinched it this afternoon in some style.
Personally, given the teams to be relagated from the PL and 1p5wich and Plymouth to be promoted….I’m already struggling to see how we at NCFC will even be challenging for the top 6.
It is truly humbling given all the riches bestowed upon us by the Premier League, to be in a situation where the financial powerhouses that are clubs like Luton; Millwall; Coventry and Sunderland are going to finish ahead opf us this season.
It seemes that almost all our players were over-priced; over-rated; and most definitely over-paid.
O T B C
Good summary of where we are. Really is incredible that board have allowed a situation where the top football and top executive positions are held by husband and wife. Does that mean they both go if one goes? Given the rotten state of both parts of the club and their contempt for the fans, hopefully it does and it happens soon.
Hi Joseph, exactly how I feel great points! Smith and Jones will never give this club up without severe intervention from the fans. NCFC will have to reach rock bottom before that day happens unfortunately. I said five years ago the Smith and Jones act needed to go!
There are too many fans who are misled to believe the football club is in safe hands with these owners and senior management, until they are convinced nothing will change!
If you look back over 26 years, this “revolving door” of football at this club has returned you disappointment. On this day 60m in debt 11th in the Championship seems awefully similar to when Smith and Jones took the club over?
No ability to coach players?
No ability to attract players?
No ability to scout decent players?
Reset next season? How?
Same coaches, same scouts, same management?
If anyone wants to see a new improved NCFC the change has to be at the top!
Otherwise dig in as we will be back in the trenches of disappointing football for another season!
Excellent write-up, Many of us have been saying all of this in comments for a while now, Several writers have spoken up, and the discontent is becoming clearer for all to see. But will the powers bother, of course not they have a cash flow coming in from season tickets, and I know that does not cover what is needed.. But while that figure stays the same or even grows nothing will bother them.
I said previously, that I do not expect the Stowmarket duo to have let anyone onto the board that would threaten their position, as top dogs, I still hold that belief, there will not anything major coming from stateside, as many hope and pray for. I have seen nothing to state really otherwise, it has been all about working together.
The mundane years of a self-funding club have been a letdown, now after this time period the club is in a far worse position debt wise, the conveyor belt from the Academy has broken down, the best has been sold as nothing outstanding has been convinced to sign for a yellow shirt. Average at best, even heard people call some squad members average-dross. don’t know if I would go that far.
Thanks Delia & Michael, in your time you have taken us around the circle a few times, back to where you started, all the way around, you have made loans to the club, but always with strengthening your grip on the majority of shares in mind. Stop limping along, concocting schemes to try and get by the next major hurdle. Sell up I am sure there are buyers out there, take off your pie-in-the-sky clauses of having to be a Norwich Supporter before selling to. I am sure that the new owners of a club are not supporters to start off with, but become ones upon buying. Newcastle took some media stick when selling up, now nothing is hardly heard of that, because of the position and football they play.
I personally have little care where a buyer’s money comes from, none of the owners can be really traced. Chelsea went for years on Russian Money .
Time to Go
I think the Webber not talking to the press is just a distraction. If we were winning every week, no one would care. Plus the high profile NCFC journalists are such sycophants their stories usually resemble club press releases anyway. There certainly wouldn’t be any questioning of the owners suitability to run a club with PL aspirations. MFW is one of the very few sites that does this. Well done.
Does anyone else not want a miracle end, 3 points at WBA then 3 points at home? I can’t remember ever feeling this certain we are crap and promotion would be another nailed on disaster. That said we have won at Coventry, Preston, Millwall and Blackburn since Wagner came. All contenders. One huge benefit of non promotion is that we would not be obliged to buy Hayden for silly money. That said he could be worth a punt for a lower fee/wages. He owes us for seeing him through his injuries and he is actually a decent bloke I think.
An excellent summing up of the current sad situation.
The need for new impetus and direction has never been more apparent. The stagnation and degrading of the club has reached ridiculous levels and this summer has to herald major change at carrow Road.
Just watched us out played and out fought yet again.
Would love to know what happened between Webber and Farke back in Summer of 2021 because we’ve been on a slippery slidy road ever since.
As you write, a complete reset required, I don’t want to see many back come August, thank God it’s over and we can enjoy an Ashes Summer and a rest from footy.
One question, Who on earth wins POTS? I’d give it to all our away fans who deserve bloody medals for their continued devotion to a lost cause.
Mike Corbs says
This article reminds me of The Fall, Repetition.
Brilliant article. It sums up what everyone, other than the Happy Clappers, feels about this dreadful, sinking club.