First up, my thanks to MFW for permitting me to join their list of contributors and adding a (hopefully) slightly different take on NCFC and their current iteration. So here goes…
Let me start with a brief bio sent from the antipodes.
For the uninitiated, “Antipodes”refers to Australia and New Zealand (among other parts of the world) because they are on the other side of the Earth from NR1, and the Great Southern Land is where I have called home since 1972.
Don’t bother doing the maths, I will be 71 in January and have fond memories of being the old South Stand with my father bracing himself behind me to protect a 10-year-old from the crush of the crowd in March 1963. The main reason for going that day was to get a last view of the great Sir Stanley Matthews as we walloped Stoke 6-0.
A few years later I was part of the Barclay Stand singing things like “AI OH AI OH, WE ARE THE BARCLAY BOYS” and “AY AY YI YI, KEELAN IS BETTER THAN YASHIN”, and, on a side note, singing all of On The Ball City before breaking into the end chant. And I do like the idea of the drum!
So, I do have a history with this club, and if you want to write off my comments as the ramblings of an old and senile mind, that is your privilege.
I was asked to provide between 800 and 100 words for this commentary so I certainly will not be able to discuss every aspect of the club, but let me start by clearly stating that I completely agree that all is not well at Carrow Road.
However, while it is easy to pick a target and throw rocks, I do not believe it is that easy to identify the right target because, in my humble opinion, no single individual (or group) is wholly responsible for the position in which we find ourselves.
Let’s start at the top.
According to some, Delia and Michael are totally at fault and should go away (although they tend to be far less polite about this – usually the second word is off). The main reason for this is that they have “No ambition” but someone needs to tell me exactly what “no ambition” means.
Surely it doesn’t refer to them bringing an unknown 40-year-old manager, Paul Lambert, to a club struggling in League One club and then, as a result, achieve a double promotion into the Premier League.
Surely it doesn’t refer to appointing a new manager, Alex Neil, in 2015, which again saw Norwich rise to EPL status.
And wasn’t there at least a speck of ambition in the appointment of Stuart Webber as the club’s Sporting Director in April 2017 and the subsequent arrival of Daniel Farke, who would lead the club into the Premier League twice in three years?
While I agree that mistakes were made along the way, the club now has one of the finest development structures and facilities in the country and is still producing quality from the academy as can be witnessed by Messrs Rowe and Warner in the current squad.
In an article such as this, one should always provide a balanced argument, so let’s look at some of those mistakes and issues.
The face of football has changed dramatically in recent years to the point where someone with a net worth of £20m has nowhere near enough money to run a football club in any division above League Two if they hope to improve things. This is not really a mistake, to be fair, but it is a valid issue.
I agree it would be great to have an owner(s) with billions that they could throw at our club, but we simply don’t have that.
From what I can see, Delia and Michael are taking steps to hand the club to someone they believe can advance us without losing our identity because, seriously, if you believe that someone with billions in the bank is going to take much notice of angry supporters you are sadly mistaken. The Glazers are a perfect case in point.
Next, the infamous five-year plan.
Quite obviously the club was trying to develop a self-funding model that would see us ‘develop/buy and sell’ to bring money in to make us viable. To be honest, I really wished it had worked because, as I stated at the time, the success of that project could have changed the entire face of football and shown other clubs how promotion could be achieved and tenure in the top league maintained.
But to those that seem to think we get there and then just stay there, just take a look at Burnley right now who, if I am correct, have six points less than City had in their last EPL visit at the same time of the season.
It could also be argued that, when we were promoted for the first time under Farke, we were not ready for it. It looked like the squad was (obviously) good enough to win the Championship but needed another season of addition and experience before venturing forth.
For the record, there was never any such plan during the reign of Webber and Farke. Where this much-maligned plan originated, I do not know. Probably it came from the fertile imagination of one of a short list of negative-minded doomsayers that troll social media looking for an excuse to assault the club.
To me, this shows there is ambition even if the planning was not good enough in some areas. This is not FIFA 24 or SoccerManager.com – it is the real world filled with some very rich people who do not care about the lower leagues or the development of other clubs.
I am almost out of space so, let me close with this.
Let’s try and find a way to stop the abuse and denigration of people who support and love the same club. Sure, it is fine, even necessary, to criticise but the personal abuse of fellow human beings prevalent on some social media commentary should stop. Instead, we should try to find ways to be constructive and helpful and become not a part of the problem.
As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
And to those complaining about the style of football being more important than the result, I refer you to this famous quote from Grantland Rice: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” because he obviously agreed with you.
I also heard it said that whoever made this comment, didn’t win!
Finally, I was originally working on an article entitled “What do Stuart Webber, Victor Frankenstein, and Robert Oppenheimer have in common?”
If you give me a couple of likes or comments and MFW likes me enough, I will answer that very question for you.
OTBC … YTID