Love is all you need for Farke and Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The easiest thing that Daniel Farke could have done after Norwich City's relegation from the Premier League was to depart for pastures new.
With the Canaries limping like a wounded animal in the top-flight, you could have forgiven the City boss for taking aim and putting it out of its misery. Instead, he decided to patch it up and get back on for another push at the grand national.
Beyond the extended metaphors, the simple fact is this, Farke would have walked into another job, be it in Germany or elsewhere. At that point, few would have been angered given the under-par performances post-lockdown.
Taking the temperature via social media, the goodwill he had in reserve was being eaten into. Supporters were beginning to question whether Farke would be the man who could revive them in the Championship, especially given the punches they'd received in the Premier League.
Quite frankly, Farke would have made his life easier. Without doubt, he would have walked into a job with more resource, a greater depth of talent and top-flight football had he opted to return home.
He would have been closer to his family knowing that he developed multi-million-pound footballers, won a Championship trophy and bonded with supporters when apathy had begun to sink in.
He had nothing to prove or no reason to stay beyond the love he feels for the club.
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That isn't to say he is beyond criticism, Farke himself knows and accepts that it was to follow after the way City's top-flight campaign went down the drain. As he exclaims on a regular basis, he is not naive.
There is also proof that City's boss has learned from some of City's shortcomings last season. Structurally, they are better defensively. There is a grit and a resolve about how they operate without a radical departure away from the fundamentals that adhered Canaries supporters to his style of play.
Set-pieces have been better. Substitutions have been better. Tactically, there has been flexibility and clever decisions. The choice to start Alex Tettey and Ollie Skipp at Blackburn was inspired. Introducing Bali Mumba against Swansea City was brave.
Above all, there is an authenticity to the way he operates. Unlike Norwich City managers from yesteryear, there is no ego or ambition. He isn't using City as a stepping stone or holding them to ransom based on his past achievements.
This is a coach genuinely wedded to a club he morally aligns with. Farke believes wholeheartedly in the direction of travel and has worked in conditions that others would refuse to. His sporting director background has given him the required foresight to see the bigger picture.
He has understood when his key players have been sold and his side weakened. He's understood that developing players is in the club's interest due to the self-sustaining model. He isn't a philanthropist, but he is genuinely devoted to the principles of this club.
Farke is a rarity. There is no ego. He does hold principles whilst remaining a romantic in footballing terms.
That is why City fans don't need to be concerned when seeing the Borussia Dortmund manager's position become vacant. Despite it expected to be filled by Borussia Mönchengladbach coach Marco Rose, Farke won't leave City in the lurch.
As he has stressed before, Farke hasn't broken a contract in his career. He left Lippstadt at the end of his deal, the same with Dortmund. His City contract has two years left to run.
Nothing has been achieved yet. City sit top of the table after 18 games but that bears no relevance to what happens come May. Farke will ensure his squad remain committed to the task at hand but, quite frankly, half the battle is overcoming the schedule.
That is why City's performances aren't as slick as maybe some would expect. The games are coming at a rate of knots that is testing their physical fitness to the maximum. Couple that with the fact that teams are preventing them space and sitting in a low block and it's clear to see why the Canaries aren't as free-scoring.
But the quality is there. The key will be on whether City can access it enough over the course of the second portion of the season.
This particular season is different from those which have come before it. It is more about small margins and managing the load than the quality of football on display. Those who cope with those demands the best and can access the talent of their players more regularly will have a bigger chance of success.
As it stands, both Farke and City have done that well.