Exclusive: Norwich City legend believed to be among key Colney departures
- Credit: Ian Burt
Club legend Darren Huckerby is among a quintet of Norwich City departures amid sweeping changes at Colney, we understand.
Fans’ favourite and under-23 coach Huckerby plus first-team head physio Stuart Wardle are believed to have left the club, alongside the academy’s head of recruitment Greg Broughton and head of coaching Phil Church.
The exits are yet to be confirmed by the club, with Huckerby’s the one likely to attract the most attention from City supporters.
The Canaries’ hall of fame member and Division One title-winner in 2004 had rejoined the club as a youth coach, following a somewhat acrimonious departure as a player under Glenn Roeder back in 2008.
He worked his way through coaching the under-16 and under-18 squads at Colney, before taking on the role of assisting Matt Gill’s under-23 development squad in the summer.
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Huckerby’s departure appears the real surprise, although his exit plus those of Church and Broughton are all pertinent given the changes sporting director Stuart Webber has openly earmarked since arriving in April.
Speaking to us just last week about the academy review being undertaken at Colney, Webber admitted things had not been good enough.
“When we reviewed it, it was obvious to me there was an issue with the discipline of players,” he said.
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“A lot of these lads maybe don’t come from fantastic backgrounds, so we have to give them manners, where they might not have had a role model or a parent to look up to. We have to make them rounded individuals and from that the football builds.
“Players generally fail because, mentally, they are not in the right place. They all have the same physical and tactical capabilities. I believe we can teach players to be good professionals.
“You look at how the academy is measured and audited nationally and in terms of producing players we are not good enough. The facts are there. There are reasons for that. When you are in the Premier League it is not easy to blood young players, because the priority is to stay up. The same applies when you are in the Championship and going for promotion.
“It is a bit of vicious circle, hence perhaps why I am here now and able to look beyond Saturday to Saturday.”
Broughton had been promoted to academy manager in 2014 after running Luton Town’s youth set-up, but returned to his recruitment role at Colney two years later.
It is understood that up to 20 jobs have been reviewed by the club, a process which started before new academy head Steve Weaver’s arrival, with five departures expected to be confirmed once settlements have been agreed. It is believed there are plans to replace them.
The club is very keen to retain its category one EPPP status and are taking steps to try and improve the output of its academy.