‘He’s amazing and I think he’s a genius’ – Delia and Michael thrilled with Webber’s work at City
PUBLISHED: 15:07 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:25 03 May 2019
Majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones have hailed Stuart Webber as ‘a genius’ after the sporting director’s rebuilding job at Norwich City resulted in a remarkable promotion to the Premier League.
The Canaries' board of directors decided to go down a new route following the dismissal of Alex Neil as manager in March 2017, bringing Webber in from Huddersfield as the club's first sporting director.
Daniel Farke's appointment followed ahead of the 2017-18 season and amid a total revamp of the club's strategies and finances, a 14th-placed finish last season has given way to promotion – with a point on Sunday at Aston Villa guaranteeing the Championship title on the final day of the season.
“I would just describe him with one word, 'genius'. I think he's amazing and I think he's a genius,” said Delia. “We're extremely lucky and when he was choosing the manager I can't tell you how thorough he was.
“I couldn't help saying to him at that time 'do you think we can get back in the Premier League?' and he said 'I do, but it will take at least 18 months'.”
Speaking to the media together during a series of press conference at Colney this afternoon, following promotion being sealed by Saturday's 2-1 home win over Blackburn, Michael was also full of praise for Webber.
“What possibly people don't see is the amount of hard work he puts into the job,” he continued. “You ask someone at Carrow Road where he is and he'll be in Portugal or Brazil or something!”
Asked if they thought the Welshman will go on to work for bigger clubs in the future, Mr Wynn Jones joked: “I think he's got his eyes on Barcelona!”
Before Mrs Smith continued: “Yes, so we've got to glean as much as we can from it. But his vision and our vision, of having this complete oneness between everybody, is the way forward.”
Now City's long-term majority shareholders, who took over in 1996 when the club they supported was in financial peril, are just hoping Daniel Farke's team get the title they deserve at Villa on Sunday.
“Well it's job done really but the players and Daniel have just worked and worked so they deserve that,” Delia added. “So we're going to be screaming or shouting – or I will anyway!”
Michael added: “It's something that we seriously want to do but in a sense, being promoted has been such a joy and a surprise that we can forgive them if they don't! We should do it though.”
• Check back to this website later today for much more from this afternoon's interviews, including with head coach Daniel Farke ahead of the Villa game.