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?