Where to start?
Well, it’s safe to say that David Wagner is currently the luckiest head coach in England. After a year in charge, no one can honestly say what his preferred style of play is. It feels made up game to game and the setup for the home match against Southampton was confirmation of the sad state this club is in.
He has lost 12 of his last 24 games in charge and there are no signs that it is about to get better. This brings us to Ben Knapper.
When it was announced that his start date had been moved forward, it was perceived by some to be a sign that Wagner was about to be sacked. I never thought that would be the case and, in truth, it was probably just a way of taking the heat off the club for a couple of weeks, but as first impressions go, Knapper’s has not been the greatest.
He’s only done one (in-house) interview so far and while you should never judge anyone instantly, he looked like a rabbit dazzled in headlights. What has he seen from Wagner to suggest that this can continue? We are only guessing, of course, but it could come down to one of the below:
- He wants Wagner gone but is being told by those above him it’s not possible (probably for financial reasons)
- He already has a replacement but that person isn’t available until the summer, so the decision is to just carry on struggling until then.
- He might still see Wagner as the long-term plan.
While I don’t believe the latter for one minute as the kind of football Knapper supposedly wants is not provided by Wagner, we (the fans) have to be communicated to as some are already starting to question the ability of our new Sporting Director.
We all agree we don’t want Norwich to become a Watford and change manager every five minutes, but at the same time, prolonging something that hasn’t worked for a year isn’t a feasible option either.
As we know, after Dean Smith fell on Stuart Webber’s sword, Wagner – Stuart Webber’s mate – was appointed, but no other Championship club would have appointed Wagner. It was just an easy choice.
There should be sympathy for Ben as he is going to have to sort out the mess that was created in the summer. Yes, the fans called for experience in the summer but Webber went way too far and veered wildly away from the club’s failing self-funding model.
Ashley Barnes, George Long, Christian Fassnacht, Danny Batth, Shane Duffy, Adam Forshaw and Hwang Ui-jo. Have any of those been successes? I don’t even need to ask whether renewing Onel’s contract was a success do I?
It’s a mess caused by Stuart Webber.
It has been said that his legacy is the training ground but, in reality, it is a training ground that was paid for by the fans through a bond. And a training ground that is matched by most clubs of our size. So I don’t see it as the success that some people have made out.
I always had sympathy for Stuart for trying to keep a self-funding club in the Premier League but his constant digs at the fanbase were uncomfortable, even though I agree that the criticism towards BK8 was over the top.
The digs have created an “Us v them” environment.
Anthony Richens and Zoe Webber have followed suit and, well, so too Delia and Michael.
Enough has already been said on the AGM but I would add that I wasn’t surprised by their behaviour towards the fans and media as this was evident in the 2016 Henry Winter interview, even if some have tried to suggest otherwise. It was such a PR disaster, that even most of Smith’s loyalists couldn’t defend it.
The sooner the longest takeover comes to a conclusion the better.
Despite all this, I don’t believe that talk of season ticket renewals being affected will come to fruition. Norwich fans are extremely loyal and as the only league club in the county, if you want to watch professional football on a Saturday afternoon, there is only one place to go.
It doesn’t mean we have to just accept it though.
Those down the road, have a plan, an identity, a togetherness, and a unity that is going one way. Norwich City has none of that.
But we have no idea and are (apparently) whingers. So what do we know?