Connor Southwell: Norwich City's stability starts with Delia
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Away from Carrow Road, some eyebrows would have been raised when Norwich City awarded head coach Daniel Farke a fresh four-year deal.
After all, 'stability' isn't a word used in football often. Short term success is used as fuel for the managerial merry-go-round that spins like crazy throughout the year. The stakes are so high and that is an environment that creates emotional and ruthless decisions.
It is a rarity for a football club to show such faith in a coach. Often, contracts are handed out and then ripped up six months later after a few bad results. With Norwich, it feels like it will be up to Farke to dictate how long he stays in post.
There is a general feeling in football that results dictate how good a player, coach or club you are. Managers become clueless overnight. Players ridiculed during a poor run at form.
City try and exist on a more even keel.
Farke enters the fresh Premier League season knowing there is a high amount of uncertainty over whether his side will have the ability to remain there.
But, there is little to no doubt that irrespective of the outcome, he will be the man occupying the home dugout at Carrow Road in 2022/23. Few of his peers have such assurances, it's one of the reasons Farke decided to pen a new contract in Norfolk that could see him become the longest-serving manager in the history of the football club.
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Farke is just three games from entering an elite club of City coaches that have overseen over 200 games as manager of the club. The last to do so was Nigel Worthington.
Both worked under the current majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.
When Stuart Webber describes Farke's new contract as a move to construct stability, that is something that is created from the top.
The story of how City reached their current sporting model is well documented. After omnipotent managers and chief executives, Smith and Wynn Jones decided a different approach was needed.
"About four years ago, I realised quite forcibly that top down leadership doesn't work. It just doesn't.
"Therefore, my passion was to try and introduce collaborative leadership here," City's majority shareholder told Premier League World.
"I have enormous pride. If you get the right people all pulling together, then I think anyone can achieve anything. I really mean that. It's quite the statement, but I mean it."
Stability is only allowed to be created when those at the top are prepared to offer the time for it to flourish. Many would have pulled the plug after an underwhelming first campaign failed to yield the results many had hoped for.
Several more would have fired Farke after a disappointing Premier League campaign. Yet, there was never any prospect of or talk about the German being dismissed.
Throughout the years, many have found that to be the pair's greatest trait. At some points during their City reign, it has also been seen to be their greatest weakness.
But they offer those they employ the space and autonomy to get on with the job. Webber spoke about the carte blanche he was getting when he stepped through the door. That ability not to make knee jerk decisions or interfere is what has allowed the club to develop in the manner it has.
That approach is quite the opposite of some owners elsewhere, who want to have their fingerprints over everything that happens at the club. Some can't even step foot in their own club's stadium due to fan anger. The Glazers have taken to hiding in America whilst Old Trafford is left unloved and fans disconnected.
No matter whether in the Premier League or League One, City's owners have always been visible in the director's box. They have faced the mood music. They are accountable. They are visible. The same cannot be said of most owners in this country.
This is not about the depth of their pockets but the culture that creates. When people in senior ranking positions have the licence to grow and learn, then often the club is the benefactor of that.
That community element that binds Norwich so tightly to the local area has been constructed by Smith and Wynn Jones. Close friend of the pair Mick Dennis has recently recited an anecdote on social media that credits Wynn Jones with altering the club's stance on the controversial BK8 deal.
In an email, Wynn Jones reportedly wrote that 'Our shirts cannot wear their logo.' Soon after the deal was ripped up by the club at no additional cost.
There isn't a right or wrong way in football. Take Watford, who had adopted the reverse approach to their managers yet have just achieved promotion to the Premier League.
Likewise with foreign ownership, there are plenty of positive examples. Take Leicester City. There are a number of British based owners who have shattered football clubs in recent times.
There is no main objectives or attributes to own a football club. There is no manual or guide. Yet, Delia and Michael have overseen Norwich for over 20 years. They have remained a constant in a fast-moving, frenetic and unpredictable sector.
They are the reason that Norwich have stability. They are the reason Norwich look out to their community and are present.
You don't have to agree with how they have decided to run the football club and you may feel they don't possess the resources that Norwich need to allow them to take the next step, but that doesn't prevent the respect that the overwhelming amount of City fans feel towards their owners.
Some supporters are campaigning for the government to enforce that a seat on the board is awarded to fans. At Norwich City, that is already the case.
The depth of their pockets may not be as great as other owners across the land, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has a bigger heart.