Norwich City’s incoming sporting director Stuart Webber has made plenty of contacts during an eventful career
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:55 04 April 2017
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As Norwich City move closer to confirming the appointment of Stuart Webber as sporting director DAVID FREEZER takes a look back at the varied career of an important new character at Carrow Road.
He’s from Aberystwyth, just 33 years old and has worked for clubs including QPR, Wolves and Liverpool – and now Stuart Webber is the man Norwich City fans are eager to know more about.
Currently enjoying some time in the proverbial garden of Football Limbo as Norwich City finalise negotiations to bring in Huddersfield Town’s head of football operations, Webber has squeezed plenty into his career already.
The Canaries’ prospective new sporting director was born and raised in Aberystwyth, on the West Wales coast, and started earning his coaching badges at 16 years old.
In 2007 he became assistant head of youth at Wrexham when the club was in League Two but just two years later, made the big step up to Liverpool.
It was with the Reds that Webber would first work with former Tottenham Hotspur director of football Damien Comolli – a man who has reportedly advised the Norwich directors in recent months.
“I got a call from Frank McParland, the academy director,” Webber has previously explained. “It was a recruitment role, a different job, and the chance to go there was amazing.
“Frank put a lot of faith in me, and I also got on well with Damien Comolli (director of football strategy as of November 2010).
“I became director of recruitment for the academy, and again I was fortunate in the people I worked with.
“Kenny Dalglish was academy ambassador, and a great man to count as a friend and colleague. It was mind blowing really, and I will always be grateful for that period of my career.”
Webber then made the move to London in 2012, joining Queens Park Rangers to get involved at first team level in the Premier League.
His stint at Loftus Road did not go well though, bringing in another of the key players at Norwich into his personal story, recently departed City chief executive Jez Moxey.
“Working at first team level was always an ambition,” Webber continued, speaking to the Huddersfield Daily Examiner a year ago.
“The head of scouting job was offered by Mike Rigg (who left his role as chief football officer at Fulham in December 2016). He had been head of recruitment at Manchester City, and again, he was a great man to learn from.
“So was Mark Hughes, the manager at the time, but things didn’t work out for any of us. It was a realisation of just how hard it is at the top level.
“Mark was sacked (in November 2012), another new experience for me, and Mike Rigg was put on gardening leave.
“I was thinking ‘this club isn’t for me’ when I received a call from Jez Moxey (then chief executive of Wolves). He invited me to drop in for a chat and the upshot was I became head of recruitment.
“I was there for three years and worked with as many managers (Stale Solbakken, Dean Saunders and Kenny Jackett).
“We were relegated in 2013, but the following season went well, and we won promotion at the first attempt as League One champions.
“There was a lot of hard work to change the ethos of the club, we got the fans back onside and had a decent first season back in the Championship (finishing seventh).”
Following that campaign Webber was recruited by Huddersfield, moving to the John Smith’s Stadium in June 2015, to work alongside manager Chris Powell.
The season started badly under the former Charlton boss though and chairman Dean Hoyle decided to sack Powell in November after the Terriers had won just three of their opening 15 games, leaving them 18th in the Championship.
Webber is then said to have played an integral part in the decision to bring in David Wagner as head coach, after the former USA international had resigned as Borussia Dortmund Under-23s boss.
Joined by another former Dortmund coach in Christoph Bühler, Wagner was Huddersfield’s first overseas appointment and first head coach.
After keeping the Tykes in the Championship with a 19th placed finish, Webber and Wagner set the wheels in motion for the current successful campaign – which could yet see the Yorkshire side reach the Premier League for the first time.
Webber will not be along for the ride though. Instead, he will be tasked with reinvigorating the Canaries, starting with the appointment of a good head coach.
That will be swiftly followed by plenty of work in the transfer market and making the most of his impressive contacts book.