Matt Howman: Bridging the gap now that if has become when for Norwich City
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Three more wins. That’s got to get us over the line. Nine more points on the board and Leeds have to win all six games to finish above us. We’re going to do it.
What a season it’s been. It’s actually been so good that none of us wants it to end. To a man the squad has been exceptional, both on and off the pitch, and it’s been an outstanding team effort throughout. It’s got to the point now where the fans have run out of superlatives to commend the team, and the overwhelming majority are now so happy they’ve even forgotten to moan about Tim Krul!
So what happens now?
We will have three months of nervously checking the transfer news to look forward to, in the hope Jim White doesn’t announce Emi Buendia’s been snapped up in a multi-million pound deal; and Delia will be taking her pliers round to cut Stuart Webber’s phone line to make sure no other club is tapping him up.
If, or a more confident, when, we get promoted, there will be a completely different season that awaits. I cannot foresee a season of dominating possession and outplaying the majority of teams in the division. Norwich are on the brink of joining a very expensive playground and both Daniel Farke and Webber are going to have their work cut out to make next season a success.
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However, from here on in it’s all positive. Over the past two seasons they have laid all the foundations to mount a serious challenge at becoming a surviving Premier League outfit. The snippets of information you get from Webber’s candid interview style continually instil confidence that we have a real winner running the football club; us fans should feel completely confident that this will be our most prepared attempt yet.
I would be more than happy to see us spend absolutely nothing in the transfer window and go with what we’ve got, hopefully alleviating some of the financial pressure that comes with competing at the top level. Look at Fulham, look at Huddersfield – there’s no guarantee that money equals success, and this season Farke has proven to us fans that a relatively paltry outlay for a football club can deliver outstanding results.
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In addition, every single player that has featured for Norwich this season has more than earned a crack at the Premier League, and if it doesn’t work out and we do come back down we are then well positioned to re-adjust to life in the Championship. Our young players are then a year on with more experience than another five years in this division will ever give them.
But if Webber does decide to add to the squad, the wheels are likely already in motion to bring in one or two that fit the same criteria as this season’s transfer targets.
If the club suddenly went on a spending spree they not only risk de-stabilising the great dressing room that’s been built, you put too much pressure on the delivery of success, and if the signings don’t work out the club fall back into the scenario where they then become desperate to off-load players to balance the books.
Transfer talk aside, the quality of football this season has hit the holy grail of the entertainment and results sweet spot. If Farke can transition that into next season and keep us up, he will not only write himself into Norwich City folklore but also prove himself as one of the top managers in the business.
With little spend and no big names, his hard work, preparation, astute tactics and composure have taken a disjointed Norwich team, on the brink of stagnating the club with an ageing squad and bloated wage bill and transforming us into a smart, well-drilled squad playing exciting progressive football.
No matter what next season holds, the right people are at the club to take us forward, so it’s onwards and upwards from here.