Paddy Davitt: How do you celebrate promotion? A league title win of course
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Premier League Norwich City has a nice ring to it. Champions would sound even sweeter.
Let’s get the housekeeping out of the way first. Barring an improbable chain of events now involving the Canaries and Leeds in the final two league games, City will be in the big time next season.
Norwich need a point. Leeds need six, with two high scoring wins coupled with two high scoring defeats for the Canaries. The Championship may be ridiculously unpredictable but that is stretching the bounds of believability to epic proportions.
City’s pending promotion is a remarkable tale of planning, precision and belief in a philosophy that took the club in a radical new direction.
The idea of a sporting director and a first overseas head coach, working in tandem, felt a radical departure. Now Norwich’s model is a template for other aspirational Championship clubs.
Nathan Jones was the latest to eulogise about the approach, after his Stoke City side held Norwich on Easter Monday. Graham Potter at Swansea hailed what Farke had fashioned before both league meetings this season.
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Even the vastly experienced Martin O’Neill was talking last week about emulating the Canaries’ search for a clear identity as he plots a revival at Nottingham Forest.
Farke, sporting director Stuart Webber and a group of unheralded players have achieved mission improbable. But a league title would add the gloss and leave an indelible stamp on this campaign for future generations of Norwich fans.
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Farke speaks regularly about greed; the greed for wins and points, the urge for self-improvement.
Now his players need to be greedier than ever.
It would only be human nature if that competitive edge, that single-minded focus dulls a touch after what has become a slog rather than a procession.
But how much better would any planned civic celebrations look and feel if Christoph Zimmermann, Grant Hanley and Alex Tettey are raising a gleaming trophy from the balcony of City Hall?
The equation is a simple one. Take four points from Blackburn and Aston Villa and the Canaries cannot be caught. That is not a given. Rovers arrive at Carrow Road this weekend on the back of four straight wins while Villa must go into the play-offs as favourites to go one better than they managed under Steve Bruce 12 months ago in losing at Wembley.
To label it an anti-climax if Norwich fall short in their title quest would be to downplay the monumental scale of the achievement. Farke will mix it with Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp next season. Emi Buendia will pit his wits against David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne.
The best of the best will arrive at Carrow Road. The club’s profile will never be higher.
The commercial possibilities from membership of the Premier League vast; the broadcast revenue transformational if those in charge can avoid the mistakes of the past. All that is secure. Now for the final act of this epic game show.
Twist rather than stick. Roll the dice once more and see where it lands.
Norwich have lost the fewest league games in the Championship, scored the most goals and entertained with a panache that has won them plenty of friends - well, outside pockets of Yorkshire perhaps.
A title would be a fitting final flourish.
The noises from inside the club in the coming days will stress base camp is yet to be reached. You would expect nothing less. But the flag is ready to be unfurled and planted in fertile soil.
Blackburn will emerge into a carnival atmosphere at Carrow Road on Saturday, after a see saw Easter. Rovers have enjoyed a solid season back in the Championship under Tony Mowbray. Fears of a relegation scrap proved unfounded.
A play-off push may have been a touch too ambitious. They demand respect.
But there has been a sense of destiny propelling Farke’s boys on this joyous journey of discovery.
Let the coming summer be the time to ‘put the feet up’ to quote Norwich’s impressive head coach. There is still work to do and silverware to chase.