Chris Goreham: Time for City to change their tune and make sweet music
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Timm Klose, Ben Godfrey and Jamal Lewis have gone while Tom Trybull and Moritz Leitner have been told they are no longer required by Norwich City. We are witnessing the beginning of the end of a classic Canaries team.
Nothing ever lasts forever. That sort of wisdom would have come in handy when I was 13 and all those girls were in tears on the bus on the way to Sprowston High School at the news that Take That had split up.
Instead of comforting our classmates my friends and I scoffed at the very thought of people getting so emotionally involved in the professional lives of a group of young men.
None of us had the self-awareness to realise we had been through the same grieving process over the previous few years as Norwich City sold Robert Fleck, Ruel Fox and Chris Sutton.
Their fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the subsequent 25 years but we’ve reached another crossroads.
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To be clear, I’m talking about City now and not Take That. The Norwich squad of 2018/19 achieved something that will always be fondly remembered at Carrow Road.
Not even the most ardent Norwich fan thought Daniel Farke’s team would win The Championship that season but they did.
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It is an achievement which now looks even more valuable. The financial consequences of the Covid crisis would have hit the Canaries even harder were it not for having a year of access to full Premier League funding and the parachute payments that are now following.
That incarnation of Norwich City had less in common with Gary Barlow and co. They were more like an up and coming, slightly quirky alternative band that we’d heard John Peel play late at night and fallen in love with.
We were sure they would take the Premier League by storm. But when we finally got the chance to play the mix tape, crudely recorded off the radio, to our mates it turned out they didn’t like them anywhere near as much as we’d hoped.
A lack of critical acclaim and chart success always leads to musical differences. There was huge talent in that Norwich City squad and some of them have now headed off to pursue solo careers.
Daniel Farke has already achieved exactly what he was appointed to do in 2017. His brief was to turn some of the club’s academy prospects into fully fledged first team regulars and saleable assets. He could hardly have done better on that front as this summer’s endless list of entries on the Now That’s What I Call A Transfer Rumour compilation underlined.
The Norwich City head coach’s job now is very different to the one Farke was given.
Having been in and out of the top 20 the expectation is no longer simply to be a father figure to a group of swashbuckling underdogs.
Players like Ben Gibson and Jordan Hugill have arrived as proven Championship performers. Anything less than a sustained promotion push would feel like a disappointment.
Farke faces the tricky balancing act of competing at the top of the division while also bringing through enough young talent to turn into the possible multi-million sales of the future.
It’s worth remembering that two and half years ago Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell had one brief substitute appearance for the club between them. Ben Godfrey had never started as a central defender and no-one in Norfolk could have picked Emi Buendia or Teemu Pukki out in an identity parade.
There is a lack of certainty about the direction of travel from here for Norwich City fans. Can the spirit of 2018/19 really be recaptured or are we in for a series of disappointing tribute bands?