Paddy Davitt: Canaries right to plan for the Premier League
PUBLISHED: 11:59 22 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 22 March 2019
Daniel Farke may have declared Norwich City's season a success, after beating Rotherham United, but it is clear he has loftier ambitions in mind.
Sealing promotion to the Premier League is the bold objective when the Canaries’ resume their quest, beyond the international break, away to Middlesbrough.
But staying there beyond a brief flirtation is why Farke agreed to a longer tour of duty, when he pledged his future to the club last week until 2022.
In the euphoria and perhaps the anxiety of that tense 3-2 home league win over Hull City, which followed the contract announcement for Farke and his key backroom staff, it may have got lost there was also a willingness from the German to discuss his grand plan.
One, you can be sure, fully endorsed and shaped by sporting director Stuart Webber.
Despite the genuine concerns expressed by some the longer Farke’s contractual status remained unresolved, Webber revealed there was never any fear a parting of the ways was likely this summer.
The duo have forged a formidable alliance since Webber identified Farke to become the club’s first overseas coach.
The brief was simple but challenging. Deal with the financial reality of existing in a post-Premier League parachute payment world while trying to construct a squad capable of competing at the right end of the Championship.
To achieve both in less than the two years of Farke’s initial contract is remarkable. Irrespective of how this season ends over these final eight games, the City head coach is right to declare it a roaring success.
Moritz Leitner was the latest player in recent days to underline an unheralded group is performing way beyond even the wildest expectations from those outside the bubble.
But a new deal for Farke and his coaching brains heralds the start of the next phase.
Ideally that crack at the Premier League will come next season.
Should it not there is enough compelling evidence to suggest it would be a case of when, not if.
Getting to the big time constitutes an astonishing achievement. Staying there beyond the abbreviated spells that marked the club’s recent forays under Nigel Worthington, Chris Hughton or Alex Neil is a far greater task.
Perhaps it’s worth revisiting again how Farke is framing this challenge in his own mind.
“Maybe it is too early to speak about the bigger picture but our target is to help make this club a permanent member of the best 25 teams in the whole country,” he said, sat in his office at Colney the day before his contract announcement.
“That is my big aim. By that I mean we either hopefully one day play every season in the Premier League and if there is a relegation then we are immediately back in the promotion ranks and we are immediately promoted again.
“That is not easy. You see clubs who get up and can stay one year or to stay longer must spend so much money. Our task is to bring the club to the Premier League and then without spending huge amounts of money to stay there.
“That is about creating a philosophy and an atmosphere that gets us to the Premier League but keeps us there.
Of course you can get injuries or bad luck that mean you could be relegated in any given season, but if the base is solid then you can come back quickly. “We felt it would take a few years to attack the Premier League so it is a surprise we have a chance to be there now maybe two or three or four years ahead of schedule.”
For Farke to speak so openly and candidly about a Premier League vision is not to take for granted the job is complete. Leeds and Sheffield United will continue their ferocious pursuit the other side of this international break.
But City fans should welcome the reassurance and the clear sense both Farke and Webber are looking beyond the horizon.
The process to adapt and refine a philosophy which has carried them to the brink of promotion - ensuring Norwich as a club is set up from top to bottom to remain in the front rank of English football for years to come - is already underway.