That’s how long we have to wait for Stuart Webber to meet the local press.
Whether the planned meeting is a sign of contrition on the part of the Club, who knows?
It’s also unclear whether this is the first sign of a permanent thaw in the standoff betwixt Webber, on one side, and the lads from Archant and The Athletic’s Michael Bailey on the other. Only time will tell. Perhaps it all will depend on how the session goes.
Equally, given the season we have just endured, maybe even Mr and Mrs Webber came to the conclusion that an in-house, benign-questions-only interview on the Club’s own channels would be insufficient to quell the swell of unrest.
I suspect the latter.
But that it’s happening at all is a good thing. And it’ll be interesting. Of that, there’s no doubt.
Eleven days will have passed since the denouement of that dreadful season. Eleven days in which to undertake “a period of review and reflection”, as described by Zoe Webber in her pre-Blackpool programme notes.
But what can we expect?
Well, and this is obviously 100 percent conjecture, I’m not expecting Webber to be bursting full of the joys of spring. He rarely is. I’ll obviously not be there, but I’m not expecting Paddy to tweet that a beaming Webber burst into the room singing “Oh, what a beautiful morning…“
There will be other places in the world that Webber would rather be than meeting a group with whom he’s had some considerable beef, so a demeanour akin to David Wagner’s intro would be no surprise.
But, ultimately, it’s not about how he looks or how he carries himself. It’s all about what he has to say.
It’s perhaps worth pointing out, for the sake of fairness, that whatever he says or does, he’ll not win. And he’ll know that. Each answer he gives will be dissected to within an inch of its life and there will be folk who will disagree with it. Even if he comes up with a solution to world peace.
‘Why’s he worrying about saving the planet when we desperately need a CDM?’
But I do hope that Paddy, Connor, Michael, and co are given free rein to ask the difficult questions. For it to be another scripted and stage-managed event would devalue it in an instant.
If given the platform, those tasked with asking said big questions will do so. They’re all brilliant journalists and can be trusted implicitly, if given the chance, to hold Webber and the Club to account.
But what is it that we want to hear from Webber? What are those big questions?
Well, in no particular order, these would be mine:
‘What happened to the footballing culture you described and then nurtured when you first arrived? We understood that the playing style – the one we recognised as ‘Farkeball’ – would be embedded across all age groups, from academy to first team, and would be unaffected by a change of head coach. Why have we veered so wildly away from that?”
It took some City fans a while to hop aboard the Farkeball bus but, aside from the “boot it” bloke in the River End, most got there in the end. A big part of that contentment stemmed from the fact we liked having a ‘Norwich City way. We’d long talked about one but without really knowing what it was.
When it revealed itself to be the purest form of the Beautiful Game we’d ever seen, it was wonderful. That it had been abandoned by Daniel Farke (and presumably Webber) prior to his departure was, we hoped, merely a blip and that at least in the second tier we would resume on that path.
We understood that going forward, the Club’s head coach would fit the squad, not the other way around but here we are, in the midst of a squad overhaul designed to arm David Wagner with a group of players that fits his very distinct style of football. That doesn’t feel like what we were promised.
‘We’ve been told that a summer overhaul of the playing squad is underway. Will it be financed solely by the sale of some players?”
It’s been mooted from a reliable source in the national press that Max Aarons and Andrew Omobamidele have been earmarked as the sacrificial lambs, but it would interesting to learn if that means, by implication, that Gabriel Sara is not to be sacrificed. Or, does every player in this squad have a price?
I suspect we know the answer to that one. When you’re self-funded everyone and everything has a price.
‘Have you yet undertaken the season-end review of senior staff? If so, how did you rate the performance of the head coach? Do you agree that there are many clubs that would question the merit of persisting with a head coach who, with a playoff place in his sights, oversaw a run of one win in eleven?’
None of us wants us to become Watford, but in addition to Webber’s own position being called into question – albeit it won’t be because there’s no one there to do so – a head coach who presided over such a grim run of form at such a crucial time should surely feel at least a little bit of heat?
The excuse that everything that happened was merely a prelude to a big summer refresh ignores the fact that a couple of wins and a draw in that 11-game run would have seen us sneak into the playoffs. With the Club in such dire financial straits, it was not unreasonable to have expected far more.
‘Can you please explain the rationale behind the Club taking out loans equating to £66 million charged against our two seasons’ worth of parachute payments? What was this money used for?’
This, for me, was the moment that self-financing died. A well-run club doesn’t allow itself to get into a position whereby it has to draw down its final two tranches of parachute payments in order to survive. If it does, it’s simply not self-funded is it?
It may be a case of Webber not answering finance-related questions as they’re technically outside of his remit, but it feels like one that someone needs to. Maybe that’s one for finance director, Anthony Richens – last seen telling us that we, the fans, are not as grumpy as we think we are.
‘What’s the wider plan?’
We know there is one. We’ve heard snippets via specially selected national journos, but we don’t know what it is. Given the hole in which our club finds itself, it feels like we’re owed at least an outline of what’s planned for this summer and then beyond.
And what’s the immediate future looking like in terms of ownership? Are the Attanasios going to be more involved by the start of next season? Have they had any say in what happening right now? What’s Delia and Michael’s future involvement going to look like?
It would also be interesting to hear if the Americans have, as suggested, marked Webber’s report card and offered him any constructive feedback.
All of which is probably just pie in the sky on my part, but it would be good if Paddy and the boys were at least permitted the opportunity to delve into some of these areas.
The other possibility is that the ‘period of reflection’ was introduced to not only give Stuart time to ruminate but also to allow the formalities of the new share issue to be completed. Then, Webber could open the presser with a sizzler.
Who knows. Either way, not too long to wait.
If you were granted an audience with Webber, what would your questions be?
Does anyone know what time this is happening on Friday? I’m torn between hoping it’s on Radio Norfolk whilst also praying question time is not afforded (wasted) to Rob Buttler.
One question I’d like to be asked: In our current financial situation should Leeds or someone make an approach for our Sporting Director would we be obligated to sell?
Leeds are reputed to be interested and one comment from their previous Sporting Director was on his recommendation for Webber was a bitting remark in that he has done a great job with the unfunding he has had to endure would be a great success at Leeds or others clubs with good financial backing.
I would say watch this space once Leeds future is decided
Sax yellow says
If Stuart was on the board, would he be looking to replace the sporting director?
Why did he buy youngsters for the Prem and then give his manager 10 games to build a team?
Why does he keep spending money on players to re-sell rather than the type of player for the positions we really need?
That is a necessity caused by self funding model
I will start by saying hearty congratulations to Archie Mair for his late substitute appearance for Notts County and saving two penalties to win promotion to the Football League. The County manager said he’s not only good at saving penalties, he is an excellent all-round keeper. ONE FOR THE FUTURE or to be sold to fill the next black hole?
Webber, when is your Leeds United interview? In the Yorkshire Post and other regional papers, he’s being talked about as their next Sporting Director.
How come a man that promised openess has not sorted out his problems with the local media earlier and instead just left it to fester? Has Mark Attanasio told him to get it sorted?
Will Wagner be introducing a style that the supporters can recognise as a Norwich way throughout the club, or is he just setting up for a promotion push?
Home come our once out-going loanees were near guaranteed gametime, yet since Hughes took over the results have been appalling.
City were for many years, the first port of call for potential stars of the future being released by the big London teams but over the last few years this recruitment stream has dried up. We also had a good youth recruitment team in Ireland – another that seems to have dried up.
Transfers in are always a risk but surely recruiting players with a record of injuries on the cheap or loan compounds that risk?
Can we expect an open discussion with a supporters group and the majority owners?
Have a good day, Gary and stay healthy.
martin penney says
You stole a large clap of my thunder for tomorrow’s piece there with your congrats to Archie Mair – hopefully Tim Krul will be especially pleased for him.
I wonder if there were any water bottles with notes written on them kicking around in the back of Mair’s goal yesterday?
I somehow doubt it!
Tim Ball says
Excellent Questions Gary.
When you think about it there are so many thing wrong at the club at present the list of queries could be endless.
Those you have suggested go to the heart of the matter.
I agree wholeheartedly that the self-funding myth must be de-bunked once and for all.
Why have we abandoned the German market? Are there no bargains to be had or is it purely Brexit.
What about the EFL as a whole? Lambert/Culverhouse did a great job there, or is it as I suspect that once we went up to EPL for the first time it became apparent that Farkeball wouldn’t work with lower tier Germans and unproven EFL players.
I guess the boys won’t ask this, but do Delia and the board now realise that we cannot survive in the EPL without outside investment?
I liked the comments the other day, Gary, with all supporters with differing views coming on here. It makes for great debate.
Like many the Brexit thing needs clearing up
Why is it that a South American requires less on the points system than someone from Europe.
Is the points system that I understand the FA,EPL and EFL are all pressuring to have lowered set by the Government or the EU or a combination.
As I commented earlier what’s happened to City’s recruitment from those big London Clubs, Spurs lost players to Europe clubs for nothing that have gone on to make millions surely city could have jumped in and offer a sell on package for them.
More questions than answers so the song says or maybe it’s they’ve of destruction as we knowit at city
Paul Frewer says
Why no invite, MFW contribute more to us fans than the Athletic and by that you would be able to gauge the mood better .
Gary Field says
MFW, probably perceived by SW as the written equivalent to a dozen angry men with a bedsheet!
Gary Gowers says
More chance of Elvis popping up on front row of the presser than MFW being invited, Paul 😀
I’m intrigued regarding the timing of the event Gary.
Has it been scheduled specifically in order for some long overdue good news to be broken which puts davitt, Bailey and Co on the back foot straight away? Perhaps the long drawn out ownership issue is going to become clearer and more satisfactory.
If not and we get more sackfulls of the same old bullshit I can forsee further acrimony and a ramping uo of the pressure on the upper echelons of the club by August.
One thing is certain, if webber trots out the morons mantra whereby the paying customer is to blame he will be in trouble.
Sax yellow says
I am not sure what difference them buying the shares makes to the playing side of things, webber will still be buying players and look what he got for 60 million.
Excellent questions and your #1 is also mine.
If I had a chance I’d add
– what is the goal of the new project/plan and how long will it take to achieve
– how long do you intend to stay here?
– what is the succession plan?
– do you really want the job Mr. Webber?
One simple question Why was Kieran Scott not replaced ??
I’d like to ask him to what extent does our owners inability to fund a championship side make the job of sporting director impossible?
Pretty much the nub of the matter but I doubt it would get a straight answer.
Andy Larkin says
Excellent questions young Gowers.
Were I permitted a question I would like mine to be the last one and in the same vein as the notorious BBC Question Time, it would be slightly lighthearted.
I’d love Michael Bailey to say:
“Stuart, given the online comments we’ve all read on the Twitters, is it safe to assume that you once slipped, whilst brushing crumbs from your lap after a convivial luncheon, and inadvertently entered Mrs Nick Mashiter?”
I feel this spat needs some explanation.
After english football so called brexit rules, it makes a player transfers much harder. If you look at the clubs which now play the promotion playoffs, they have a couple of the premier league players loaned which are making the difference. This is a bad situation for football overall, bigger clubs own way too many players. So depending which players some clubs get loaned, their chances of a good season raise or die depending on the players. Diallo (ManU) scored a brilliant free kick goal for Sunderland. Cameron Archer (Villa) is the difference maker for Boro, even Akpom has scored plenty of goals this season. For some reason Boro played against Coventry Archer as nr 10 and Akpom as a striker and Akpom didnt use his chances + Archer was invisible the whole game. Luton has Nakamba (Villa) in their midfield and so on…..The last time Norwich got promoted, Skipp (Spurs) played a vital role with Pukki and Buendia to help Norwich get promotion. This season and last season Norwich loans were not successful. In my opinion Boro should win the promotion, but they have injuries which can of course spoil it. Forss was able to play only 30 minutes and Ramsey (Villa) could not play at all.
Teemu Pukki has commented that he is not going to answer his agents calls for some time. Is this professional or a hobby player? That attitude problem has not changed and its sad to see. He is extremely passive and the baby part in his Norwich fans song is perfect. Does he never gonna understand how privileged he happens to be because of football and everything he has got because of football?
It was apparent why SW got the hump with Archant, if not necessarily with Paddy Davitt and Co. But, what happened between him and Michael Bailey and The Athletic.
And, what is the Mrs Nick Machiter bit about?
How you can fall out with such a supportiive local media is beyond me. This isn’t Watergate ffs…
Arrogance did for us this year, on the pitch and off it. We got torn to pieces by hungrier teams who took one look at our “gifted” squad and did a number on us, week after depressing week. With home form like that we could’ve been in real trouble. Total arrogance from start to finish…
Just the one question…….who WAS the manager to replace Farke before Dean Smith came on to the market?
O T B C