Across the Border: Off-field foundations have underpinned Norwich City’s revival
Recent success on the pitch has shone a spotlight on the massive strides Norwich City are taking behind the scenes to ensure it can move forward in an ever-changing football environment.
As a club who rely on its self-funding model, being creative and innovative is key – and that was certainly apparent when City appointed Stuart Webber as sporting director in April 2017.
Webber is not someone I often talk about in this column, but in the 18 months since his arrival from Huddersfield, the transformation owes a lot to his vision at meticulous planning.
In truth, City were in a mess following relegation from the Premier League in 2016 – with a core of ageing players on unsustainable wages.
One of Webber’s first moves was to appoint Daniel Farke, and the two have been responsible for a mammoth squad overhaul with the sales of the likes of James Maddison and the Murphy twins used to plug financial holes caused by consecutive seasons at this level.
Webber was also tasked with slashing the club’s astronomical wage bill and several high-profile players have fallen foul of that process.
Against these backdrops, it is perhaps remarkable Farke and Webber have been able to build a youthful, vibrant team which appears capable of challenging for promotion this season.
While the arrivals of City’s German contingent rely heavily on the contacts of Farke, success on the pitch is testament to the work of the club’s scouting department, unearthing gems such as Emi Buendia.
It is also a nod to the work put in to improve City’s academy – with the likes of Jamal Lewis, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell progressing to the first team.
The club is moving in the right direction once again.