Norwich City deserve huge credit for defying football's trigger-happy approach to managers

20 March 2021 04:00

Modern-day football is rotten - deny it all you like, it's true.

While the eye-watering television deals and the riches they bring have of course contributed to English football in particular being able to attract some of the best footballing talents the world has to offer to these shores, the negatives of said riches far outweigh the positives.

Norwich's ability to keep hold of the likes of Teemu Pukki has Daniel Farke's side well on the way to promotion | Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The fine line between sport and business has never been more blurred than it is today, and subsequently both players and managers aren't afforded the time they need to settle into a role, with owners desperate to pull the trigger and look for a better option so to avoid any loss of revenue due to relegation or not earning a place in Europe.

I mean, can you imagine if Manchester United's owners had sacked Sir Alex Ferguson back in 1990 with the club eight games without a win and struggling at the bottom end of Division One?

They very nearly did - and you can guarantee in today's climate they would have - but instead they afforded him time and he changed the landscape of English football forever.

You just don't see that kind of faith offered to a manager these days, but one club who are defying the odds when it comes to management security are Norwich City, and they deserve huge credit for doing so.

Little over a year ago, the Canaries found themselves rooted to the foot of the Premier League table, with the club staring down the barrel of relegation and the subsequent loss of millions of pounds in revenue.

That being said, there were still plenty of games remaining in the season and the Norwich squad had already proven themselves capable of mixing it with some of the better sides in the leagues - picking up impressive wins over Manchester City and Everton.

With talents like Teemu Pukki and Emi Buendia in the side and a whole host of fixtures to comes against those around them in the relegation scrap, 99% of club hierarchies would have handed Daniel Farke his P45 and asked fireman Sam Allardyce to save them - but Norwich didn't.

You see, Farke suits Norwich and Norwich's players suit him. To roll the dice on another boss would mean ripping apart the system and the footballing ethos the German boss had spent the past three years instilling in the club. And if they did still suffer relegation after appointing a new boss it would have set them back years, with a complete rebuild required.

Instead, the Canaries played the long game. They realised they were slipping back into the Championship, but they knew if they backed their manager and fended off the majority of the enquiries about talents like Pukki, Beundia, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons then Farke would lead them back to the big time, and that's exactly what they're doing.

Not only did they show Farke the ultimate support in not sacking him, they kept hold of the spine of their squad and added some stellar second-tier players to it, with Jordan Hugill and Ben Gibson playing key roles in their soon-to-be victorious promotion push.

The Canaries have been superb this season, suffering just five defeats in their 37 league outings and steamrolling their way through the division. They've got the best defence in the league, they're the second highest scorers in the league and their current nine-game winning streak sees them in with a shot of usurping Reading's Championship-record points total of 106 in the 2005/06 season.

Football is a business - there's no getting away from it - but sometimes you have to look at the long-term goal instead of just panicking.

If the Premier League was a nightclub, Norwich would be that really irritating bloke who keeps stumbling in, tries to make mates with everyone and then gets kicked out for wearing trainers before somehow getting back in ten minutes later only to be swiftly ejected once again - but it's not.

Jordan Hugill and Todd Cantwell have been key to Norwich's successful season | Julian Finney/Getty Images

Any club that's got the character to keep bouncing back from the heartache of relegation and gives themself another shot at Premier League survival is worthy of a place in the league, and when Norwich return to the top flight next season they'll be far better equipped for the survival fight than they were in 2019/20.

Fans of elite Premier League clubs who've never ever heard of the word 'relegation' might be getting a bit fed up of Norwich City's attempts to make it in the big time, but we're not.

Hats off to Daniel Farke and in particular to the suits in the boardroom - you deserve every bit of success that's coming your way.

Source: 90min