'We're extremely fortunate to have him' - Webber hails Norwich's best in class
Proving people wrong and hailing the best coach in the Championship - Norwich City's promotion party was a standard night's work for Stuart Webber.
The Canaries enjoyed the most special of evenings at Carrow Road on Saturday, as victory over Blackburn confirmed their place in next season's Premier League – 59 years to the day since their only other promotion in the stadium.
It's been a truly remarkable turnaround in the two years since Webber was appointed City's first sporting director – and the arrival of Daniel Farke as the club's first foreign head coach that soon followed.
“He's done an incredible job,” said Webber, City having finished 14th last season and then made a sticky start to what evolved into the most memorable, unbreakable of Championship campaigns.
“I always believe in telling the truth and trying to be as transparent as possible. We didn't lie. On day one I said this club was in a mess and would take some sorting out.
“During last year there was a lot of pain, but we said that pain was going to come and when Daniel was getting a lot of stick, it was a case of give the guy a break – he had inherited a ridiculous wage bill, a ridiculously aged squad, a horrendous culture.
“I said when we appointed him we've got the best coach in the league and nothing has ever changed my mind on that. Even last season, the work he did every single day was incredible and we're extremely fortunate to have him.
“It's great we've got him tied down to a long contract because like the players, I'm sure he will be sought after and there will be people glancing over now, having a little look.
“But one thing is he's committed to the cause. He's been a breathe of fresh air for us and we are really fortunate to have him. Hopefully he'll be here for a long time.”
While the tension bubbled away at the weekend, Norwich now head into their final game needing a point at Aston Villa to guarantee the title – in the midst of a 13-game unbeaten run that includes nine wins.
That is the short term. The longer view includes earning automatic promotion with little in terms of transfer budget, big names or Championship experience – coming up against sides betting millions upon millions on achieving their Premier League dream.
“I believe anything's possible,” added Webber. “There's no point getting out of bed in the morning if you don't believe you can achieve something.
“If we're being realistic, did I expect to be stood here with automatic promotion at the end of the season? No, of course not. Did we expect to be a lot better than last season? Yes we did – because we backed the work we'd done over the last year as a group and over the summer.
“So we always knew something was possible and if you have an unbelievable spirit and generate a great culture, have good players, then anything is possible and I think we've shown that.
“Hopefully we've shown the people out there who believe you have to have money and experience and you have to do it a certain way, hopefully we've proved those people wrong.
“There are a lot of people who have been really critical of us in the last year. Daniel and I have taken a lot of stick personally, and this is a really pleasing night to remember those people.”
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