Webber believes City will be better prepared for top flight if promotion can be secured
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images
Sporting director Stuart Webber has made it crystal clear that Premier League stability is the long term aim for everyone at Norwich City, as the chase of more Championship success begins to build.
Webber and head coach Daniel Farke were unable to prevent a desperate slide to relegation from the top flight, not helped by a defensive injury crisis derailing an encouraging start.
The Welshman was asked what was required for the Canaries to sustain top-flight status by a shareholder as the club held their annual general meeting via a video conference on Thursday evening.
“I think if we were to get promoted any time soon we would be in a much better starting position than when we were promoted last time,” said Webber.
“But it will certainly help that we won’t have the big facility to sort (improving training facilities at Colney), we’ll be a lot more experienced as staff and players – I think our starting point would naturally be a little bit better.
“However, the Premier League is extremely ruthless and I think it’s being proven again this year, you only have to look at the bottom three of the current table, two of three promoted sides struggling and a team who have spent over £150million in the last 18 months (Sheffield United) are bottom of the league at the moment.
“So if it was just down to money that would be great but I don’t think it is and for a club like ours to sustain ourselves in the Premier League is certainly possible – but also challenging and very much a longer term plan.
“That’s why some of the steps over the last number of years - I can only talk about my time and my colleagues’ time here - have been about building real solid foundations so that we can get there and each time get a better shot at trying to stay there.
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“If there was an easy answer then every club would do it but there isn’t an easy answer, there are just different strategies and different ways. We have to try and find a different way next time, if we’re fortunate enough to be there, to have a better crack at it.
“I truly believe that we can do it and I think everyone involved in the football club believes we can, at some point, do it. Until the day that we leave or are replaced, that belief will stay strong and we work every single day with that aim in mind.”
Webber was also asked whether he was hopeful that loan players Ben Gibson and Oliver Skipp could remain with the club beyond this season, with Farke’s team top of the table after 13 games thanks to an impressive nine-game unbeaten run.
Centre-back Gibson was signed from Burnley with a view to a permanent deal and highly-rated Tottenham midfielder Skipp, 20, is getting his first taste of loan action away from his parent club.
“Both have done okay so far,” Webber continued. “We’re really happy with the signings in general and how they’ve settled in so quickly during difficult circumstances, coming in on the back of relegation, Covid and a – let's be honest – bonkers schedule, with the international schedule etcetera.
“Both guys have done well and I think the most important thing for us is that they’re top characters – but also let’s not get too far ahead.
“They’re 13 games into their time at the club and as well as they’ve settled in, they’ve still got lots of improvement to do, as we have as a team and a collective.
“So let’s not look too far ahead but of course we’re delighted and it’s nice to think that also the supporters are delighted with the impact that those two have made so far and others.
“So long may it continue and let’s hope that we have a nice problem in the future and that we’re trying to keep hold of players of that calibre.”