Big majority of voters so far fancy a foreign manager for Norwich City: What’s your view?
PUBLISHED: 12:29 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:29 15 March 2017
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Norwich City Football Club was formed 115 years ago.
But, despite the overseas revolution that has gripped the English game, the club has never been managed by a foreigner.
The club’s long history has seen 49 managers come and go - admittedly including some blink-and-you’ll-miss-him caretakers like Paul Franklin, Martin Hunter, John Faulkner and Jim Duffy.
Technically, the club has had one overseas manager. But I challenge anybody to argue that Forest Gate-born “Irishman” Chris Hughton is a foreigner.
Of the rest, there were 31 Englishmen, 11 from Scotland and three each from Northern Ireland and Wales.
We have had the players: from Drazen Muzinic and Age Hareide, through Steen Nedergaard and Matt Svensson to the current crop of Dijks, Pinto, Oliveira and Klose.
Yet when you look at the apparent challengers to replace Alex Neil, what do we have? Brits, Brits and Brits.
Gary Rowett (English) and Mark Warburton (English) were ruled out, but the current bookies’ odds list Alan Pardew (English), Roy Hodgson (English), Simon Grayson (English), Tim Sherwood (English) and Gary Holt (a relatively exotic Scot).
No appointment comes with a guarantee of success, whether from home or abroad. But there is a strong case for the Canaries looking beyond these isles for their next gaffer.
The Championship has six foreign managers. And the statistics are interesting.
Gianfranco Zola is struggling at Birmingham, who he has steered downhill to 17th. But the others are very different:
■ Rafa Benitez, Newcastle (1st)
■ David Wagner, Huddersfield (3rd)
■ Jaap Stam, Reading (5th)
■ Carlos Carvalhal, Sheffield Wednesday (6th)
■ Slavisa Jokanovic, Fulham (7th).
With the exception of Benitez, the others are arguably exceeding expectations - surely what we’d like to see at Carrow Road. Not that any would be likely to be available right now.
The point is they are successful, and the introduction of a foreign manager with new ideas might be just the breath of life needed to blow through the cobwebbed corridors of NCFC.
Who might be on any list is a mystery to me. But I’d never heard of Arsene Wenger, Aitor Karanka, Marco Silva, Claude Puel or Walter Mazzarri before they became bosses in England.
City surprised us with Alex Neil, who wasn’t even on the radar of the bookmakers or fans. Wouldn’t it be great if we got another surprise?