Day 4. Article 5.
In an attempt to keep the mood positive (and because Martin and I have been told off for being overly negative), I turned to MFW Twitter to try and seek out those of a more optimistic hue.
As ever, the good folk of #NCFC delivered, and in the fifth (and possibly final) piece of the series, it’s the turn of Canary fan Andrew Connors to try and offer some optimism on all things Norwich City.
All yours, Andrew.
There has been a fair amount of despondency and gloom surrounding the club lately and some of that is clearly justified considering the poor results towards the end of a disappointing season. This downbeat feeling extends into a certain trepidation for next season with very few Canary supporters possessing positive views for the club’s success next year.
While it could be considered a stereotype that Norfolk people prefer to dwell on the negatives of a situation rather than engage in optimistic ‘blue sky’ thinking, there are valid reasons to be pessimistic for the short-term future of the team but, simultaneously, there are also cautious reasons to be hopeful for next season. Indeed, there may be sunnier days ahead.
You only have to look at recent history to see a good example of fortunes improving dramatically. At the end of Daniel Farke’s first season in charge, 2017-18, the club finished in 14th (one place lower than where we finished this season), and we even had the situation of Ipswich finishing above us in the table.
There had been inconsistent performances in the league that season, with Farke not truly orchestrating a good tune from the team’s attacking players. There were murmurs as to whether Farke was the right man for the job and if the model created by Stuart Webber could be successful.
Very few supporters could have envisaged what would happen in the following season when City finished at the summit of the league and were also the division’s top scorers (and it would be remiss of me to say that Ipswich also finished that season in bottom place.)
The shows that things can change quickly in football and that the Championship is a fluid league where clubs can have very different seasons from one year to the next.
The club has already looked to address the shortcomings in the squad and has moved quickly to secure the likely acquisition of Ashley Barnes to provide a physical presence and canny know-how among the forward line next year.
While it’s not particularly the type of signing to prompt outpourings of joy and praise from Canary supporters, it is in many ways a sensible one that addresses some of the team’s present shortcomings.
The club is in a fairly good place to attract players with recent Premier League experience elevating its profile and being able to boast a near-full stadium for each home match. It is not as if the hierarchy is not aware of what needs to be done to move the team up the league table: they have done it before in recent years so there is no reason why it cannot happen again.
One of the recruits from last summer, Gabriel Sara, become the player-of-the-season, so it shows that the golden touch has not gone quite yet. We will still have the parachute payments come through for next season, and while our financial situation may not be great, it is still in a better position than many clubs in the Championship.
There have been questions regarding the suitability of David Wagner for the manager’s gig with the club’s woeful form at the tail end of the season fresh in the memory. While it is fair to say that the club could do with a bright start next season to engender a feeling of warmth and support for the German, his Championship record does suggest that he can be trusted to turn the ship around.
He came into Huddersfield midway through the 2015-16 season and the team’s performances for the rest of the season suggested little of what was to transpire later on for the club. In that summer, Wagner (alongside Stuart Webber) brought in 13 new players and eventually got promoted the following season via the playoffs.
Wagner then oversaw a campaign in which Huddersfield stayed up in the Premier League – a feat regarded by bookmakers as improbable and described by The Guardian as “the Premier League’s greatest survival story”, with Wagner in particular noted as “a leader of rare charisma and intelligence.”
Norwich City won five of the first seven matches under Wagner’s tenure and the club has achieved some creditable results during his time in charge, including away wins at Millwall and Blackburn.
Wagner’s high-pressing, energetic style is probably not sustainable without a pre-season to condition the players to the necessary stamina levels, and with a summer to imbed the playing style to the squad, the team should be a lot more familiar and suited to the high demands associated with it.
That’s not the say the above should mean there should be blind optimism and there remains warranted criticism of the board for some of their actions alongside the coaching team and players themselves.
But there are reasons to have hope for next season, which every football fan certainly needs now and again, and it has happened before with Norwich.
So there is potential for the sun to break through these overcast skies.
Are you a cup half full or empty person for me? I try for realism as much as it’s what it is.
13th or 14th position, Ipswich above us or below us at the end of the day both were poor seasons can we see a parallel between Farke’s and Webbers first season I suppose if you look deep enough there will be.
Farke had youth with a resale value, Wagner looks to have signed a pensioner with no resale value but experience.
Webber lost his MOJO when Kieran Scott left and others from the recruitment team that have never been replaced.
Farke was the new kid on the block with fresh ideas, Wagner was the same at Huddersfield and since then his track record hasn’t been great so is City his last chance saloon along with Hughs and Webber.
Will we soon see big changes and will those changes effect Webber and Co in doing their business or will those changes bring about a new management structure.
We have a month before the transfer window opens and any and all changes need to be inplace prior to that happening otherwise we could be left behind in the stampede for those players that the club needs to go forward.
A successful transfer window can kick-start a successful season.
We just need the club to be open with their customers the supporters who will still support the club long after ownership changes.
Is the announcement of the share issues about money or who runs the club or what positions will be on the board if or when changes happen its about time someone came out and admitted what us happening, speculation is rife but as usual Stowmarket is in lockdown followed by Carrow Road.
With regards to Wagner, tactfully omitted is his second season at Huddersfield, where On 14 January 2019, Wagner and Huddersfield Town agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent, with the team in last place and eight points from safety.
He moved to Schalke where he set a new club record of 16 league games without a win between 25 January and 27 June 2020. The winless streak continued with an 0–8 defeat against Bayern Munich in the first match of the 2020–21 season.The after a 3–1 defeat against Werder Bremen, the 18th winless league match in a row, Wagner was sacked on 27 September 2020.
In the summer 2021 he took charge at Swiss super league outfit, Young Boys . Wagner could not lead the Bern-based club to a fourth consecutive league title and was dismissed in March 2022. The team were in second place, 15 points behind FC Zürich
Hardly a record that instill too much confidence, however, give the man time, let’s see what he can do with hopefully some of his own selections.
How many other clubs would put up with the record of a manager with Wagner’s last 10 to 12 matches?
It seems that he’s very lucky to be at NCFC and not Watford!!
Surely if Burnley rated Ashley Barnes then they would offer him a one-year deal so that he can continue to mentor their younger players (as he is deemed to be doingif he does sign for City).
Finally, given current circumstances at both ends of the A140, who will finish higher in the Championship next season? Although I’m a City fan through and through I fear that the long unbeaten derby run will be under severe pressure – and we’ll be below them at the end of the season.
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