Webber reveals City to step up talent spotting in South America

PUBLISHED: 14:09 27 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:10 27 March 2020

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber is having to react to an unprecedented situation with the football shutdown due to coronavirus Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber is having to react to an unprecedented situation with the football shutdown due to coronavirus Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Stuart Webber is using Norwich City’s enforced break to step up the club’s planning – including a recruitment strategy to source South American talent.

City’s sporting director wants the club to be ready for the short and longer term whenever football does return following the global pandemic.

Webber, along with the club’s directors, players and staff, have made it their mission to try and connect with older fans who are deemed to be one of the most vulnerable parts of society at present.

But behind the scenes the break has allowed a rare opportunity to accelerate work in key areas of the football operation.

“We wanted the staff, the physios, the sports science guys to get some rest because we might end up playing right through the summer, June, July, August and into next season,” said Webber, speaking on Guillem Balague’s latest Pure Football podcast, in partnership with GentingBet. “They need recovery time.

“After that. Maybe a week or so, it is about working on projects for the type of things you might have been doing in the summer. The planning for next season.

“What is our recruitment plan, we are working on a strategy at the moment in South America. So this gives us loads of opportunity to work on that, via video, obviously. But also reviewing this season, what we have learned this season.

“The good thing with technology is we can have conference calls with all the department heads discussing things. There is no excuse, there is not a game or a training session they have to get to.

“They are sat in their homes and we have tried to find ways to maximise this situation. That means connecting a bit with our fans but to get stuck into some projects. That is very hard to do when the season is in full flow.”

Webber insisted trying to offer reassurance to the club’s older fan base during this lockdown period is massively important to the club.

“We have 6,000 season ticket holders who are older than the age of 60. We want to ring every single one of them, between the players, the staff, directors,” he said. “I have done about 56. It keeps people occupied, brings that sense of community.

“We have spent a lot of time trying to find things for the players to do because boredom can be a problem.

“We have to make sure we protect their mental health, keep them active, keep them involved as best we can.”

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