Chris Goreham: Daniel Farke knows how to lose and that’s why I’ve got so much confidence in him
Football’s relationship with the English language can be fast and loose.
There are no end of clichés and other assorted bits of nonsense that have carved out a regular place for themselves in animated post-match conversations that happen everywhere from the Red Lion to the Match of the Day sofa – and I say this as someone who has indulged many of them on the radio over the years.
A ‘stonewall’ penalty, for example, is often used for a decision that a referee has missed yet it’s not a term that gets used in the same way in any other walk of life.
No-one has ever been stopped by the police and been accused of a ‘stonewall’ speeding offence and no-one in my class at school ever got sent to the headmaster for a ‘stonewall’ throwing a screwed up ball of paper at the teacher.
You’ll have your own bugbears when it comes to these mangled football phrases. There are two that I really try not to use.
One of them is calling a goalkeeper ‘a good shot-stopper’ because as far as I’m concerned that’s just a goalkeeper’s job description.
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If your team has someone in goal who struggles to stop shots then it’s probably time to have a look at how they are recruiting players.
I understand that the expectations placed on a modern goalkeeper are more demanding than in previous years. Most teams need a number one that knows how to use his feet as well as his hands and careers as illustrious as Joe Hart’s have been undermined by not being able to consistently play accurate passes to his team-mates but the ability to stop shots is still at the top of the list of requirements.
The other example of footballese that I struggle to comprehend is when managers get described as being ‘a real winner’.
It’s funny when you consider the alternatives. No club has ever unveiled a manager and said he’s the right man for the job because he’s ‘a real draw-er’ and ‘real losers’ tend not to last very long in the dugout.
Perversely, should Norwich City make it into the Premier League next season, one of the reasons that I have confidence in Daniel Farke’s ability to cope with being a top-flight head coach is that he knows exactly how to lose.
Let’s face it, the Canaries in the Premier League will almost certainly lose more matches than they have this season. That’s not being negative, it’s just a fact borne out by looking at the multi-million pounds worth of talent that make up the current top six and bitter experience of Premier League campaigns gone by.
One of the most impressive aspects of Farke’s reign to date is that his style, demeanour and approach have rarely changed. He’s the same now with the team top of the Championship as he was last season when they were limping to a 14th-placed finish. Such consistency is a rare trait in football management and we’ve seen enough of them at Carrow Road over the years to know that for a fact.
Previous managers have been put off by heavy defeats against glamorous opponents and gone back to the drawing board several times in a season to come up with a tactical masterplan.
Farke strikes me as someone who will treat triumph and disaster just the same and have a clear way of approaching the task at hand in the Premier League.
I know promotion isn’t guaranteed yet, but this international break has given us the chance to stop, take stock and dream about what might be on the horizon if City keep on this upward trajectory.
Promotion isn’t ‘stonewall’ for Norwich City yet but it’s been a joy watching them get to this point.