Chris Goreham: Daniel Farke’s future an interesting sub-plot for Norwich City fans
PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 October 2018
Daniel Farke recently described Norwich City as the Championship’s ‘Team of the moment’ and few would argue with that assessment after the impressive comeback to beat Nottingham Forest at the weekend.
Aston Villa’s new manager Dean Smith certainly couldn’t wait to come to Carrow Road to see what all the fuss is about. Until a couple of weeks ago he was Brentford’s boss, but they don’t come to play the Canaries until Saturday. So, by jumping ship after an approach from Villa, he took the chance to visit Norfolk to see the mighty Norwich City play four days earlier than originally planned. It will be his job to try and bring us all down a peg or two from the away dugout this evening.
Smith’s move from one set of Carrow Road-bound Championship promotion hopefuls to another underlines why it pays to not get too attached to a manager or head coach or whatever the man responsible for picking the team happens to be called at your chosen club.
It’s just 17 months since Farke walked into his office at Norwich City for the first time and the recent good run suggests a man who is only now really getting his feet under the table, and yet of the 24 teams currently in the Championship only six have managers who have been in place for longer than the affable German.
That sort of statistic is often used to illustrate how dreadfully ruthless clubs are in the modern game, but there is slightly more to it than meets the eye.
Last week’s nostalgia-fest to mark 25 years since Norwich City’s famous win over Bayern Munich was hugely enjoyable, particularly for those of us who are the right age to have been at our most impressionable when Jeremy Goss volleyed his way into yellow and green folklore, but without wishing to be a party pooper, that was really the beginning of the end of one the most celebrated periods in Canaries history.
Within three months the man who masterminded that Bavarian beating, Mike Walker, was gone. The silver fox was poached by Everton.
It didn’t work very well for him on Merseyside, but his departure underlined that for clubs like Norwich City the departure of a manager is inevitable, whether they are successful or not.
For every Bryan Hamilton, Peter Grant or Glenn Roeder who have been removed from their position with the Canaries heading in the wrong direction there is a Walker or a Paul Lambert who have departed for ‘bigger’ jobs after catching the eyes of more lucrative clubs by leading Norwich to their own relative glory days.
Farke’s future will be an interesting sub-plot as this season draws on. His two-year contract is up next summer and, when asked about it in August, both Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber played down the urgency of making a decision as we headed into the unknown post-James Maddison world of a campaign that felt like it could go in either direction.
It’s no wonder that positions like the one Webber holds at Carrow Road are being inserted into the structures at most clubs. Like it or not, we must accept now that managers often leave before they’ve even had time to put a picture of their family on their desk so having some sort of consistent presence and policy is vital to ensure chaos can be kept to a minimum each time the door revolves.
Football is fickle and by the end of the season you can guarantee that Norwich fans will be worrying about Daniel Farke’s future.
If City fall away from their current promising position, as they did last season, many supporters will be calling for his head but if Farke can build on this promising start the same fans will be worried about him being poached by a more illustrious club, perhaps even a German one. What if it’s Bayern Munich? That would serve us right for going on about Gossy and Co for all these years.
The relentlessness of the Championship means that attentions have already turned to Norwich City’s Carrow Road clash with Aston Villa this evening – but the possible significance of the win at Nottingham Forest at the weekend should not be lost.
It felt like a proper, big Championship game.
The City Ground was sold out for the first time in 17 months as two of the division’s form teams met in what felt like one of the games of the day.
We are used to seeing Carrow Road pretty much full, but those of us lucky enough to travel up and down the country watching City play away are often confronted with more empty plastic seats than actual people at grounds.
It’s not that I don’t have any faith in Daniel Farke and his team, but I will admit that I was very worried after the early skirmishes.
Scarred by some big away defeats in previous seasons, it was hard not to fear the worst when Lewis Grabban gave Forest an early lead and they then went on to hit the bar and dominate before Norwich had got anywhere near second gear.
Many teams would have collapsed in such circumstances, particularly ones that show such faith in inexperienced young players, but there is a certain spirit about this Norwich City squad which is hard to ignore.
The way Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Todd Cantwell grew into such a testing game was seriously impressive and the fact that Forest didn’t win a single corner in the entire 90 minutes tells a story of how Norwich were able to wrestle control of the game after a nervous start.
The happy knack of scoring from set-pieces is very useful too.
Those closer to the current Canaries than I am talk in glowing terms about the team spirit that exists within the dressing room. It’s still too early in the season to make any bold predictions about what might be possible, but there are certainly reasons for optimism at the moment and performances like the one we saw at Forest deserve to be applauded.