Farke poised to join Canaries' 200 club
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke reaches his double century when Norwich City head to Arsenal this weekend, becoming the 11th Canaries manager to reach that milestone.
Game number 200 coming at the Emirates Stadium also provides a nice moment of reflection, to one of the early games of Farke’s reign, that gave City fans reason to believe that better times were ahead – even in defeat.
The charismatic German was the man Stuart Webber had identified to be the club’s first head coach, with belief in his preferred candidate’s potential enough to remain patient and see out 2016-17 with Alan Irvine in caretaker charge of the team.
Vast changes on and off the pitch were in the works and kicked off with the arrival of Farke and his backroom staff from Borussia Dortmund’s second team.
It proved a rocky start for the much-changed squad as a new emphasis on possession was introduced, with just one win in the opening four Championship games followed by a chaotic 4-0 defeat at Millwall.
However, after the September international break the Canaries embarked on a nine-game unbeaten run which featured a club record of five consecutive clean sheets in the league and had peaked with James Maddison scoring the derby winner at Portman Road.
Just three days later and almost 9,000 Canaries fans made their way to north London, for a League Cup fourth round tie against Arsenal, many wearing cardboard Farke masks as excitement about the new playing style and the fresh feel of a new era fanned the flames of optimism.
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- 4 STARTING XIs: Two changes for City at Everton
- 5 Robin Sainty: Not the reaction City boss hoped for...
- 6 Canaries keeper sent out on loan
- 7 Farke on Everton loss and key penalty call
- 8 Hanley will answer City critics
- 9 PRESSER: Everton v City - Rashica a doubt; Normann and Sargent fit
- 10 Godfrey had out-grown City's Championship quest
It would end in a 2-1 defeat after extra-time but that only tells part of the story.
The Norwich supporters in attendance that evening left knowing that the Gunners were feeling hugely relieved to still be in the competition.
Maddison had sent Josh Murphy clean through to open the scoring in the 34th minute as City showed an adventurous and attacking spirit against Premier League opposition.
Angus Gunn was in inspired form, Mohamed Elneny was very fortunate not to be sent off for hauling down Nelson Oliveira at 1-0 and Murphy, Oliveira and Mario Vrancic all went close to making sure of the win.
Set-pieces would prove the downfall though, with debutant Eddie Nketiah coming off the bench and equalising in the 85th minute then taking the lead just six minutes into extra-time.
Farke was fuming that a penalty wasn’t given as James Husband was dragged down in the box during extra-time but it proved to be a loss – greeted with pride by the travelling fans.
That draining few days gave way to a worrying run of just one win in 10 matches before a steadier second half of the campaign ended in 14th place and the big-money sales of Maddison and Murphy as financial stability was secured.
Those green shoots from the early days of the Farke era would flourish that summer though and the rollercoaster ride continued with two Championship title triumphs and one painful Premier League relegation.
The only other City boss to achieve two promotions to the top flight was Ken Brown in the 1980s and now full focus is on Farke joining the likes of Brown, Dave Stringer and John Bond in bringing top-tier longevity to Norfolk, after signing a four-year contract this summer.
If that should prove successful and the difficult start to the campaign can be shaken off, the Canaries’ first boss from outside of Great Britain and Ireland will move above Stringer later this season to become the seventh-longest serving manager in the club’s history.
Of the 10 currently ahead of Farke, just Norman Low (50pc) and Archie Macauley (46.9pc) from the 1950s and 60s have a better win percentage than the current 43.2 per cent – when the club was mostly in the third tier.
If there’s to be any chance of knocking the legendary Brown from top spot then seeing out that new contract could just get him to that magic number of 367 games in charge but for now it’s all about going back to Arsenal and getting a good result to get this season up and running.
NCFC 200 CLUB
Ken Brown (1980-87) - 367 games, 150 wins (40.9pc)
John Bond (1973-80) - 340 games, 105 wins (34.5pc)
Nigel Worthington (2001-06) - 280 games, 114 wins (40.7pc)
Tom Parker (1933-37 & 55-57) - 271 games, 104 wins (38.4pc)
Norman Low (1950-55) - 258 games, 129 wins (50pc)
Bob Stansfield (1910-15 & 1926) - 248 games, 78 wins (31.5pc)
Dave Stringer (1987-92) – 229 games, 89 wins (38.9pc)
Archie Macauley (1957-61) - 224 games, 105 wins (46.9pc)
Albert Gosnell (1921-26) - 223 games, 59 wins (26.5pc)
Ron Saunders (1969-73) - 221 games, 84 wins (38pc)
*Daniel Farke (2017-21) - 199 games, 86 wins (43.2pc)*
- Produced with thanks from Roger Smith’s book The Canary Companion