Huddersfield confirm Norwich City target Stuart Webber placed on gardening leave
PUBLISHED: 15:53 30 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:39 30 March 2017
Norwich City’s prime target for the new sporting director role, Stuart Webber, has been placed on gardening leave after ‘expressing a desire’ to leave Huddersfield Town.
The promotion-chasing Championship club broke their public silence on Thursday morning in an official statement running to no more than three paragraphs on the Terriers’ site.
Webber has made it clear he wants to leave the West Yorkshire club after being strongly linked with the new set-up at Carrow Road, but Huddersfield confirmed no agreement has been reached with a prospective new employer.
The statement read: “In response to recent speculation in the media, Huddersfield Town can confirm that Head of Football Operations Stuart Webber has expressed a desire to leave the football club.
“As a result, Stuart has been placed on garden leave until the matter is resolved.
“Huddersfield Town will make no further comment on this situation until its conclusion.”
Terriers’ impressive head coach, David Wagner, who has been touted with a similar position at Carrow Road should Webber’s move go through, made it clear the latest development would have no bearing on his side’s promotion push.
Webber held his normal pre-match press call on Thursday afternoon ahead of Huddersfield’s home game on Saturday against Burton.
“I am not disappointed about this. It is football business. He made his decision,” he told Town’s Youtube channel. “The club have made their position clear. Now it is up to the lawyers. It is important to show we are independent of what is going on around us. This will not affect us against Burton Albion on Saturday or in any of the last nine games. Our focus is on something much more important that Stuart Webber.
“If this is the time you want to see your club play in the Premier League next season this is the time to support your club. The fans have to come and create a special atmosphere to play our high intensity, energetic football. We have great momentum. We are really enjoying this situation and what is in front of us. It is an exciting game with both teams fighting for something. They are fighting to avoid relegation so we are prepared for a physical opponent where we have to find solutions.”
City head to Huddersfield next week in the Championship.
Mark Shields, Archant Norfolk business editor
Gardening leave is most often used when an employee has resigned from their post, or it is suspected that they may do so imminently.
In practical terms, it means an employer removing their duties and asking them to stay away from the workplace, but keeping them officially employed and on the payroll.
Employers often use gardening leave as a way of protecting themselves against an worker who may be about to leave, perhaps for a rival company, by ensuring they are not able to obtain sensitive information, or contact suppliers or other staff with a view to poaching them.
But the term’s origins are disputed.
According to some, it derives from the English aristocracy’s practice of restricting certain serving staff to outdoor areas so that they did not overhear personal matters discussed in the house.
Others say it comes from returning soldiers in the First World War who were recovering from shell-shock being given therapeutic duties in the hospital garden while still on the full military payroll.
The most common modern interpretation, however, is that gardening leave gets its name because, freed from work, that is how you can spend your time – gardening.