Michael Bailey: Norwich City have got their sporting director – and it IS Stuart Webber. Here are the wheres and whys over his Huddersfield Town switch and what happens next
PUBLISHED: 08:54 24 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:29 06 April 2017
Some feared it might take longer. Most wanted it done as efficiently as possible. Everyone can be assured, Norwich City have their man.
Huddersfield Town’s head of football operations Stuart Webber is the Canaries’ new – indeed first – sporting director, I understand; something the Carrow Road club are set to announce over the coming day or two.
In fact it may well be that for the third successive Saturday, there will be key news coming out of the Canaries’ corridors of power that dominates the action on the pitch – although, that would be much easier on this occasion, given the international break.
Much as been written on pinkun.com this past week about Webber’s background, City’s new framework, their possible forthcoming continental slant – and it’s worth catching up on.
After all, this is going to be uncharted territory. City’s previous run at a director of football almost 20 years ago offers clues on how not to do it, but there will be something much more far-reaching about what Webber has been tasked with – as well as the much-revised head coach role below him.
So what brings Webber to Norfolk, many will wonder? Especially given Huddersfield Town appear so close to reaching the Premier League.
Well there is a family connection: I’m reliably informed Webber’s wife has previously worked for the club in some capacity, so the area won’t come as a complete surprise.
But arguably more important than that will be Webber’s own career prospects.
As someone still in his early 30s, Webber’s impressive early track record – and now results in Yorkshire – define those of a man with lofty ambitions and a drive to realise them. Quickly.
He may have been a significant cog in the John Smith’s Stadium revolution, but what has no doubt drawn him south is the fact that at Carrow Road he will be the biggest football cog. The one driving everyone else.
That promotion – and extra remuneration – no doubt represented a huge and tempting package Webber felt he had to accept.
It should also be duly noted by the Canaries’ board that going from part of a successful crew, to being the captain of a bigger ship you simply have to steer away from a summer full of financial icebergs, will need their support – and certainly not solely their reliance.
That all said, for City to identify and then deliver their man in such decent time – and from a club arguably closer to the top flight – bodes well for the challenges ahead; just like Webber’s past thoughts on football identity, recruitment and ultimately what success looks like.
Nothing is ever guaranteed in football – but City’s recruitment of Stuart Webber arguably delivers as much as they can possibly manage in a sporting director, without it.