Stuart Webber knows the pressure is on to unearth more gems
PUBLISHED: 14:09 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 28 March 2018
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Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber insists it is 'humbling' to see how supporters have backed the club's £5m Canaries bond - but the pressure is on now to deliver.
Webber knows he is responsible for ensuring a radical overhaul of dated academy facilities at Colney leads to more homegrown talent like Todd Cantwell and Jamal Lewis in the first team set-up.
“I am not going to say in five years we will see the fruits of this. That is not realistic,” he said. “We have done some really deep, internal reviews of the academy and we believe the results will be quick.
“You can see this year with Jamal and Todd. I think there will be others in the next 12 to 18 months who are not a million miles away.
“In the medium term, of two to three or four years, I think it allows us to keep our best players in the academy. We think we have some highly talented young players and we can develop them.
“In terms of other clubs, it will put us right up there.
“Take away Manchester City, who pretty much have 40 pitches, or Chelsea for that matter, but in terms of our competitors it puts us right in there.
“We have designed it so it’s right for us, what works for our model rather than trying to imitate others.
“That is why we have focused on the pitches and the gym, two key factors, rather than some swanky offices or a nice restaurant. We believe at the end we’ll have a fit for purpose training ground.”
Webber was a driving force behind the project, that hit the £5m ceiling in a matter of weeks.
“It is unbelievable,” he said.
“We were all pretty confident we would get to the minimum figure of £3.5m over the length of the bond, which I think was due to close at the end of May.
“To reach £5m is a testament to all the hard work that has gone on, the creativity shown by a lot of people and it is also pretty humbling that the supporters have really backed us - not just the ones who have been able to afford to invest but the positive feedback that we are trying to find a different way to do it.
“I was speaking to Daniel (Farke) about it and he agreed it was unbelievable - the feeling for this club from the supporters and the community.
“It is overwhelming.
“The speed of it has surprised me the most.”