THE BIG INTERVIEW: Webber on his new deal, targets at City and defying the ‘little old Norwich’ tag
Norwich City’s sporting director Stuart Webber spoke to David Freezer about his new contract and being ‘mildly offended’ at the national reaction to victory over Premier League champions Manchester City
Stuart Webber may have forewarned Norwich City fans that he intends to move on in 2022, but there is plenty more he wants to achieve before he even considers his Carrow Road goodbyes.
City's sporting director has committed to a new contract through until the end of the 2021-22 campaign and although he has signalled it's unlikely he will stay longer than that, the Welshman is well aware the Premier League project is still in its infancy.
"We've got to get more debuts, more players from the academy, to get a better culture, to get a better atmosphere, to get better with fan engagement, to get better at how our players interact with our supporters, how our staff interact," Webber said.
"Can we get better in terms of our recruitment? We've made too many recruitment mistakes in the last few years. Yeah we get lauded for the great things but it's the things that we didn't get right. Ben Marshall hurts me more than the success of someone really good, if I'm honest.
"So we've got so many things that we need to improve, the club has come a long way but I still feel we've got a long way to go and success will be if we continue down that road.
"Then it's about finding someone better than me to make it better again, and better than Daniel maybe, and better than the players - because we need this club to look back in 30 years and us be seen as people who did a good job for the club, not the best ever job for the club.
"My son's a Norwich fan now and I want to be able to come to football with him in 40 or 50 years and see a really successful, thriving club, not a club that's remembered for what happened in 2019, the day we beat Man City, it can't be remembered for that."
Webber was speaking at Colney ahead of today's trip to Burnley for Daniel Farke's team, with the ink on his new contract still drying and the pride of beating champions Manchester City still fresh in the mind.
The 35-year-old doesn't buy into the victory being a fairytale story though, saying: "I was, for sure, immensely proud, but without sounding arrogant, not overly surprised.
"Because I know we've got a top coach who will work in the Champions League. So I turned up at that game not nervous at all, people saying we were going to get battered 9-0 or whatever, that never once entered my head.
"We might lose the game, we probably will lose the game because of who they are, but when you see how much Daniel works and the detail, you know we'll have a plan of giving ourselves the best chance of getting something out of it. Then you look at the group of players and you think, we have actually got some really good players.
"Probably the aftermath of the game and the over-excitement about the result, probably more from the national media - because I appreciate the local media is for our fans - but the national media I've actually been mildly offended with the sort of shock, as if it was the biggest result ever.
"Wigan Athletic beat them two years ago (in the FA Cup), when they were in League One, that's a shock. We're in the same league as them!
"So I was mildly offended by it and I was speaking to a couple of the players after the game and saying 'that's how rubbish they think we are, that it's almost like the biggest miracle ever' and I don't think that's right, we've got good players.
"Whether that's enough to keep us up, we don't know because as Daniel says, we're climbing Everest without certain tools or whatever, but we're not hopeless are we. I think we not to savour that a little bit and use it and keep proving people wrong, and really enjoy the fact that we can prove people wrong."
Webber also warned anyone expecting City to be favourites for their upcoming games against less-heralded opposition that they are underestimating the strength of the Premier League.
"I know people will say on paper they're easier to win, but it's really hard to win a Premier League game - and three of the next four are away," he concluded.
"When you look at the two Burnley strikers, the two Palace wingers, Villa spending £140million - you'd want something back for that - and then you look at Bournemouth, who are a top 10 established side now, so they're really tough games.
"So if you're not at it 100 percent, you get hurt, whoever we're playing, so we need to make sure we are at it.
"Hopefully now we've proved to ourselves and the players have proved to themselves that we can win games at this level, we've won two already, two very different types of games. Hopefully that gives the confidence that we can give this a really good go and not just lie down and be laughed at as little old Norwich."