‘I think that’s class, I need to be more like that’ – Canaries chief feels he still has much to learn
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Despite achieving a great deal in the football world at just 35 years old, Norwich City’s sporting director Stuart Webber believes he still has much to learn and improve upon.
After rising through the ranks to take charge of Wrexham's academy, Webber became head of academy recruitment at Liverpool in 2009, before going on to senior first-team recruitment roles at QPR and Wolves.
It was in 2015 when the Welshman rose to his biggest role yet, as head of football operations at Huddersfield Town, where his success led to being recruited by the Canaries in April 2017.
Having already garnered a huge array of experience, Webber's career moved up a gear as he masterminded City's promotion alongside head coach Daniel Farke, despite being restricted by tight finances.
Fresh from committing to the club until 2022, Webber admits he learned a great deal about himself during that first two seasons in Norfolk.
"I've probably learned to be that little bit less emotional, be a little bit more considered with what I say - I still say stupid things at times," City's chief reflected.
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"To show more humility, I have Delia and Michael to thank for that, they are unbelievable people. I've seen us get battered at places where I just want to go and punch everyone I can see or shout at someone or whatever.
"But the way they gracefully take defeats and the way they act, I think that's class, I need to be more like that. I definitely haven't cracked that yet, but certainly I need to be more like that.
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"Also I need to more resilient. I look back and the first year was incredibly hard, everyone was questioning us and I understand why, you question yourself: are we doing the right things, are we going to turn this around, are we going to give what our supporters, staff and owners deserve? They back us with so much passion and belief.
"So I would probably say resilience has been a key thing and then one of our mantras is to 'ignore the noise', you learn that a lot, that if you believe in what you do as a group of people, then you have got to ignore what other people say."
Webber added that the faith of majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, as well as the rest of the club's board of directors, had played a big part in Webber being able to bounce back from his more challenging moments.
"It's been great," he continued. "I've worked with amazing people, amazing owners who let you learn and let you make mistakes, because I always talk about how I've made so many - too many, to be honest - when I reflect.
"But this is a club and owners who understand that and let you make them. I know I'm really lucky to have that in my job because there are so many people who do my job who don't get that, they make one mistake and then they're sacked, or they get some work taken off them and have to do something else.
"So I'm thankful for that and never take that for granted, so hopefully I'll learn that bit more in the next three years but just make fewer mistakes."
On his first day in the job Webber had spoken about his intention to create a 'very clear identity' for the Canaries, a pledge which came to fruition during an epic 3-2 win over champions Manchester City at a rocking Carrow Road recently.
"I think we've achieved that but we've grown that," Webber concluded. "When I look back two-and-a-half years ago, I had probably thought about the pitch and what the paying supporter was going to come and watch and see their team play.
"Daniel has cracked that and then some, it's clear now and that's the way it is. Of course it can get better and develop but over time what has been great is how that's grown more into the identity of the club and how people have caught on from the football and taken it on.
"Whether it's fan groups, (chief operating officer) Ben Kensell, the commercial team, the media team, we've almost managed to make this big club identity now, not just about how the team plays on the pitch.
"That's been great and we've continued to grow. I think we can create something really special here and I think we can be the envy of a lot of clubs.
"Football fans want transparency, they want honesty from the people that run their club, they want to see the club are going a certain way but they want that to be communicated.
"We've still got a lot of work to do on that but we've grown so much that I'd like to think that as a Norwich fan at the moment, win lose or draw, you'd think you were getting quite a good deal because the club is doing the right things. What we need to do now is continue to grow that."